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Why Beauty Product Expiration Dates Matter in Inventory

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Last Modified: May 15, 2024
The cosmetic industry is fast-paced and fresh looks call for fresh products. It's important to make sure your warehouse isn’t piling up expired beauty products that pose a danger to customers.
Natalie Kienzle
October 15, 2019
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Ever wondered why beauty product expiration dates matter? Think about what could happen if you eat food that’s past its prime. It’s no longer appetizing and you should think about your beauty products in the same way. Using that tube of lipstick, mascara, or sunscreen no longer seems exciting, does it? Make sure your customers are getting products they can be excited about.

Using expired beauty products can cause multiple issues. Customers rely on companies to make beauty product expiration dates a priority when fulfilling orders. Health problems due to expired products could result in financially damaging lawsuits. Keeping inventory up to date is important to ensure your customer’s health.

In making sure to ship before a beauty care product expires, the company is maximizing the use so the customer gets what they paid for.

Why Are Beauty Product Expiration Dates Important?Importance of Beauty Product Expiration Dates

The list of reasons expiration dates matter is numerous. However, let’s start with eye infections and skin rashes. That’s enough to stop anyone in their tracks, especially when talking about a product for use in a sensitive area like the eyes. 

Makeup products, like mascara, can be a breeding ground for bacteria and should be thrown out by the recommended period after opening. In addition, if a tube of mascara or other skincare product reaches its expiration date while on the shelf in a cosmetic warehouse or beauty counter, it needs to be disposed of.

The active ingredients in cosmetic products tend to break down over time. It’s easy to tell if a beauty product expiration date is in question. If the product has changed colors, appears dry or extra oily, or smells bad, that’s a good indicator it has expired. The date also serves as a guide to the effectiveness of the product for the intended use.

Other products this applies to include:

  • Shampoo
  • Soap
  • Moisturizer
  • Organic beauty products

While things like shampoo and soap may seem like they can last forever, don’t be so sure about that. These products may have a long shelf life, however, they too hit an expiration date and the time comes to toss them out. As a general rule, take a good whiff of any products you might have been hanging on to for a while. Over time, preservative systems in these, especially in liquid items, will break down and can cause serious skin irritations.  

When it comes to organic beauty products, many have even more strict guidelines regarding expiration dates because they are void of preservatives. The shorter shelf life of these products means that managing your inventory is crucial.  

In most cases, organic beauty products are labeled as a high priority for shipping to avoid expiration.

Looking for a solution to store and ship your products seamlessly? Let R+L Global Logistics be your fulfillment and distribution partner.

Is There a Warehouse Protocol for Beauty Products?

It is important to understand that all beauty products have expiration dates. Some may be for two or three months, while others may be good for 12 to 30 months. Having a Warehouse Management System (WMS) set up to keep the expiration dates of products will be important to the successful fulfillment of cosmetic products. 

While there is no industry specific warehouse protocol for beauty products, there are certain common practices

There are two WMS practices that are best suited for tracking and minimizing expired products.

  • FIFO – first in, first out inventory
  • FEFO – first expired, first out inventory

A WMS using first in, first out organization ensures products are not being left behind on the shelves. It updates warehouse staff and the manufacturer on what is left on the shelf and what needs to be restocked.

If you can get a WMS to run on the first expired, first out program, you can also mostly guarantee safe and effective products for your clients. Keep in mind that means you need to be able to easily find and record expiration date information.  

Tracking beauty products in this fashion ensures that they are shipped with maximum effectiveness for consumer use. Companies shipping cosmetic subscription boxes or fulfilling skincare orders keep a close check on beauty product expiration dates.

As another example, sunscreen is required by the FDA to have an expiration date printed on the packaging. Therefore, the product cannot be sold after that date. It is inventory such as this that businesses will want to keep a close eye on in the warehouse.

Beauty Products On the ShelfBeauty Products On The Shelf

Beauty products are designed for use in whatever capacity is needed – from anti-aging and personal hygiene to beauty enhancement. Regardless of the intended use, the consumer wants the product to be the freshest and best when it arrives. So warehouse staff must be diligent about rotating products to keep up with expiration dates. The sooner it is shipped to fulfill an order, the less likely the product will expire before use.

Remember this tip: just because it looks good in the bottle or other container, does not mean everything is good. By working with a warehouse partner like R+L Global Logistics, the focus will be on the details like expiration dates to make sure your freight makes the best impression.

If you manufacture beauty products that all have different expiration dates, we have the latest technology in place in our network of warehouses to help companies like yours manage it all. By utilizing a WMS to track inventory you can keep track of all your products. We work closely with clients to make sure beauty product expiration is not an issue.

Common Expiration Dates Per Product Type*

Beauty ProductStandard Shelf Life
Mascara3 months
Acne Treatments6 months
Toners 12 months
Scrubs24 months
*According to Face The Future

Holding onto old products just isn’t worth it because a good skincare routine can still be ruined with bad products. 

However, reverse logistics for beauty products also come into play when dealing with expiration dates. If packages are returned intact, there may still be a chance to re-sell them. Unfortunately, if you don’t have a way to track expiration dates, proper disposal is the safest choice.

R+L Global Logistics can also provide a reverse logistics solution for manufacturers or retailers who want to have expired beauty products transported to a centralized location for disposal. Handling reverse logistics for beauty products is one of the many services R+L Global Logistics can offer for a seamless process in the overall supply chain.

Looking for a solution to store and ship your products seamlessly? Let R+L Global Logistics be your fulfillment and distribution partner.

Can Product Packaging Include Expiration Dates?

Many cosmetic companies and skincare product manufacturers have started to add an expiration date to all forms of packaging. A tube of foundation will often have a date stamped on the actual tube and that same date will be reflected on the exterior packaging. It helps the manufacturer keep track of products and also makes the consumer aware of how long the item will be effective.

When you’re planning on distributing cosmetics, these can help you with product organization.

The batch code or lot code may also be stamped on the packaging. This code identifies many aspects of a product:

  • When it was produced (time and date)
  • Specific identification IDs 
  • Expiration Date assigned

If there is a problem, it can be isolated per this code. A close look at the fine print on the packaging of beauty products may reveal an expiration date along with a lot number.

Again this is one more step in making sure beauty product expiration dates don’t lapse while in the warehouse and the company has to write it off as a loss. Customers have come to rely on all their creams, blushes, lotions, and other products used in skincare routines. Make sure that as soon as the merchandise arrives at their door or nearby retailer, it’s ready to get maximum use before the expiration date rolls around.

Looking for a solution to store and ship your products seamlessly? Let R+L Global Logistics be your fulfillment and distribution partner.

Ensure Proper Inventory Management With R+L Global Logistics

R+L Global Logistics offers warehousing service solutions for a variety of product fulfillment needs. We are capable of handling a variety of fulfillment and distribution needs including shipping to avoid beauty product expiration.

R+L Global Logistics allows fulfillment and distribution services that includes:

  • Order Fulfillment
  • E-Commerce/Marketplace
  • Pack/Repack/ Crating Services
  • Reverse Logistics
  • Expiring product fulfillment
  • Cross docking
  • Transloading

Our goal is to be a one-stop source for warehousing services. We are fully equipped to handle the load or provide beauty product order fulfillment. When you are ready to ship beauty products to the market or direct to consumers, our team will ensure the process is seamless.

R+L Global Logistics relies on a vast network of secure sites around the country able to assist in a quick turnaround process from when an order comes in, to when it’s shipped to the customer.

The professional team at R+L Global Logistics is ready to assist in finding the right fulfillment service to avoid beauty product expiration. We realize your customers rely on you to get orders fulfilled and to their door; we are ready to help get the job done. Beauty product expiration matters. Give us a call at 866-989-3082 to talk to an agent on the R+L Global Logistics team about warehouse fulfillment options to suit your needs. You can also request a services quote online now.

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