Bottle or Jar?

You may have asked yourself why companies use a bottle or a jar for a particular skincare product. Does it really matter? The truth is that not all containers are created equal when it comes to particular formulations. Factors that affect the type of container used are:

  • Oil vs water based formula
  • Ingredients that go rancid quickly (e.g. argan, hemp oils)
  • Ingredients that degrade easily (e.g. botanical extracts, vitamins)
  • Exposure to light, heat and/or humidity
  • TSA package requirements
  • Shipping requirements

The best container for the job

When ingredients aren’t taken into consideration when choosing a bottle or jar, the result is often a less effective product. Many ingredients are expensive to source, so it makes sense for companies to choose the right container for skincare products. Here are a few quidelines:

  • For liquid formulations like soaps, gels, oils and lotions, a pump bottle works well. Opening sizes vary according to the viscosity of the liquid. It is a hygienic choice because hands don’t touch the product directly. This includes airless pumps, which introduce less air into the container, minimizing degradation. An example of this is our Vitamin C Face Creme with Niacinamide.
  • Plastic is preferable to glass if the product is used in the bath or kitchen in order to avoid having a product slip out of one’s hand and break. Check the bottom of the container to see which plastic is being used. Some are more recyclable than others. If a product is going to be heated (e.g. oil treatments), then glass is preferable, as it is inert and not likely to melt.
  • As a rule, if ingredients degrade or become rancid easily, a dark or opaque container is preferable to a clear one. Exposure to light will degrade many oils, vitamins and botanicals. As an alternative, keep the product either in the refrigerator or in a cool, dark place.
  • For thick creams, body butters and scrubs, a tube works best. That’s because it minimizes the likelihood of touching the product directly. Jars are less preferable because of what’s known as “head space”, which sometimes necessitates the use of additional preservatives to minimize contamination. Possible exceptions are products that are oil-based with low rancidity like our body balms.  Another alternative is an airless jar, a recent innovation that reduces the chance of contamination.

If you are trying a product for the first time or if you’re using it infrequently, it’s best to buy the smallest possible size. Once opened, a product’s shelf life is limited to between 3 and 12 months. If, on the other hand, you’re buying a product that you use frequently, get the largest possible size to save money.

Travel Requirements and Skincare Products

The Transportation Safety Authority (TSA) has developed strict rules regarding what to pack when traveling. As a rule, any type of liquid must be 3.4 ounces or less and sealed in a quart-size airtight bag for carry-on luggage. Anything larger must be in a checked bag. Many companies sell sample-size products that will serve this purpose. As an extra precaution, it’s a good idea to cover the area between a bottle or jar and its dispenser with duct tape to prevent its opening. It’s also safer to carry products in plastic containers than in glass ones.

Should I Re-Bottle or Re-Jar a Skincare Product?

It’s not recommended that you re-bottle or re-jar a product once you receive it. Even if you are careful to sterilize everything, you’re exposing all of the product to the elements, which introduces airborne particles and other contaminants. Exceptions might be made for household products that don’t come in regular contact with skin, like dishwashing liquid or detergents. When it comes to skincare, however, it’s best to leave it to the pros.

Allure article on skincare containers
Transportation Safety Authority liquids rules

Your bathroom medicine cabinet, expired medications

Do you know what is in your medicine cabinet?

A clean and orderly home is something that most of us want for ourselves and our family. This is no less true for the smallest room in the house – our bathrooms. The average time spent in the bathroom daily is about 30 minutes. Usually the smallest room in the house, it is sometimes neglected when it comes to style and décor. After all, bathrooms serve a utilitarian purpose, don’t they?

Our Medicine Cabinets

The same thing can be said for our medicine cabinets. We may maintain an immaculate home, but our medicine cabinets often become cluttered by items that have long since expired. When it comes to prescription and over the counter medications, it can mean that those medications won’t work as effectively as they should. The same can be said for more natural products like essential oils or saline nasal sprays. While the U.S. Food & Drug Administration does not require that non-drug products use expiration dates, many include them. Once past an expiration date, a product’s volatile oils and/or active ingredients may not be as effective. If you can’t remember when you purchased a product or if it smells or looks “off”, the safest thing to do is to toss it.

The same principal applies to personal care products like creams, lotions, balms, cosmetics, etc. Most products lose their potency after 36 months, but there are other considerations, especially if products are marketed as “natural”. These generally don’t stay potent for more than 24 months. Most cosmetics should be tossed after 6 months due to the danger of contamination. If you like to recycle containers, it’s best to stick with glass or aluminum jars. Plastic containers are difficult to sterilize. Otherwise, most can be taken to your local recycling center. For more information, visit the Natural Society’s Guide to Plastic Recycling

Expired Drugs and Proper Disposal

When it comes to prescription and over the counter drugs, proper disposal is important. Drugs should not merely be flushed down the toilet or put in the trash, for environmental and safety reasons. The Drug Enforcement Administration, in an effort to help reduce the danger of illegal use of prescription drugs, began National Drug Take Back Day. Held in October, information is provided to local law enforcement agencies that can help residents dispose of their medications safely. There are also MedReturn Drug collection locations across the country where you can take your expired drugs for safe disposal. You can find more information at

Create a Clean-out Schedule

Cleaning out your medicine cabinet should be performed twice a year. You can attach this task to specific times of the year like Daylight Savings, July 4th or New Year’s Day can make it easier to remember. Remembering to do it when you check the batteries in your smoke detectors is another option. People who are ready to take control of all that they can by developing systems that make tasks easier can be difficult for some. However, if you are able to do so, you’ll find that you have more time to enjoy friends and family, and that small tasks will not turn into big ones later on.

Reference: Bathroom habits survey

Credit: Deidre Dolan Nesline, Founder of DeClutter by Deidre
DeClutter By Deirdre is committed to assisting people and their families who struggle with de-cluttering their homes so that they can enjoy a more stress-free life. To learn more visit their website at