The Shelf Life of Skincare Explained

The majority of skincare ingredients that are most beneficial for your skin are not stable when exposed to air.

image of three oxidised skincare products - Liberty Belle Rx Airless Technology Blog Post

This is why Liberty Belle Rx does not use screw-top jars or pipettes. Instead, we use high-quality airless pump technology for all our bottles. To be frank, we can’t understand why skincare is still sold in jars at all!

Liberty Belle Rx Airless Pump Eye Do botte dispensing a small quantity on a hand

Have you ever wondered what turns that jar of Vitamin C moisturiser orange? Air!

Ever wondered why that miracle face oil in the cute pipette bottle goes cloudy after a few weeks and starts to smell like seaweed (or worse)? Air!

Most of the ingredients in skincare – active and non-active – will degrade due to a process called oxidation.

Oxygen is a highly reactive element. It causes change on a molecular level, altering the chemical composition of both organic and inorganic substances. It’s what causes iron to rust, bread to turn stale, and oils to become rancid.


1. Red wine versus skincare

Think of your skincare as a bottle of wine. When you uncork that beautiful red there’s only a small window of time before oxidation causes it to degrade and taste like vinegar. Even the finest wine will be ruined if left exposed.

Similarly, as soon as the lid comes off your skincare, those miracle ingredients and expensive actives start to lose their efficacy.

For your skincare to do what it says on the bottle, it should be optimally protected from air.


2. Vulnerable ingredients

Vitamin C and Retinol are commonly found in skincare. Yet, due to their chemical composition they are among the ingredients most vulnerable to oxidation. Even mild exposure to air will cause the actives to start losing their powers.

So why do we continue to see companies packaging their ‘miracle’ retinol eye creams in jars that leave them completely exposed to oxidation upon opening? If skincare comes packaged in a jar, a pipette bottle, or even a traditional toothpaste-style tube, oxidation begins as soon as you pop the lid.

Basically, any product you can screw the lid off, even products with dip tubes, are vulnerable to air. 

Antioxidant actives, peptides, even oils like Rosehip Oil – all those precious ingredients and more, ruined!

This process might take weeks or days, depending on the formula. Either way, you’ll likely go on using your cream for months, measuring out every dose to make it last longer, blissfully unaware that your actives stopped working a long time ago.

Image of oxidised bottle - Airless Blog Post by Liberty Belle Rx

Inspect your skincare carefully. Is the product significantly darker than it was when you opened it? Does the cream smell funny? Has the texture changed? Is it crusty or hard? Expired ingredients don’t just lack potency. They can also cause adverse skin reactions as the chemicals separate and degrade.

Face oils spoil too, and no-one wants rancid oil on their skin – especially when rancid oils can increase free radical damage to your cells!


3. The pitfalls of poor packaging don’t end there

Heat and sunlight are also bad for skincare as they speed up degradation.

While most of us can control the temperature at which we store our products, the packaging can let us down when it comes to avoiding UV radiation in sunlight.

A clear glass bottle might look lovely on the shelf, but that cream is being directly exposed to light. That means – you guessed it – it will lose effectiveness.


4. Keeping bacteria out of your skincare

Think about how you dispense the product. Do you dip your finger into that jar of eye cream? If so, you are introducing large numbers of bacteria directly into the bulk of the product. Those bugs can stay there and multiply, making a cosy home in your favourite cream. And any micro-organisms in the air can join too. Yuck!

By contrast, our Liberty Belle Rx moisturisers, serums, face treatments, cleansers and eye products are packaged with optimum stability and sterility in mind.*

We think of our bottles as bodyguards for our products, keeping air, light and bacteria out. This technology means our formulations can contain milder or fewer preservatives too. No product can resist oxidation and degradation forever, but with our airless pumps the bulk of your product is sure to be effective for the duration of its shelf life after opening.


5. How do our airless bottles work and what are they made of?

Unlike traditional packaging that offers little or no effective protection against oxidation after opening, airless pump technology safeguards the formula with a small internal lifting system.

With each pump the airless system rises and pushes the product upwards, creating a vacuum as it is dispensed. 


The lack of air flowing back into the bottle protects against contamination and dreaded oxidation. Fragile and precious actives like Retinol, Hyaluronic Acid, and Vitamin C will stay effective for longer.

Our bottles and tubes are purposefully made from food-grade plastic (certified as food contact safe) to shield them from chemicals leaking in.

UV protection is delivered in the form of double-walled lining to prevent degradation associated with sunlight.

When we first launched the Liberty Belle Rx range we fell into the trap of using pipette bottles for our serums since this was – and still is! – the industry standard. Upon realising that pipette bottles offered inadequate protection against oxidation we discontinued use at great expense, but it was the only thing for us to do. Now all of our serums come in airless pump bottles.


6. You get what you pay for

There are other practical advantages to our packaging. Each pump dispenses the same amount, meaning you’ll apply the same dose every time. Accurate delivery of the correct dosage means no product wasted.

The airless pump remains functional in any position. You can throw your Eye Do in your handbag knowing there won’t be a struggle to dispense it later on. And if you happen to drop it, our bottles won’t shatter when they hit the bathroom floor!

Some people prefer jars because they can see how much they have left and scrape out every last speck. But by the time you’re down to the dregs the actives stopped working a long time ago.

By contrast, airless pump technology means the entire formula has been optimally protected to stay active from the first to the last drop. 

For those concerned about making their products last, one full pump should be your go-to dosage per application, except in the cases of our eye products where a half-pump should be sufficient.

Good to the last pump, skincare dispensed using airless technology is safer, better for your skin, and better for your wallet too.

Would you like to say something? Leave your comments below! 

* Superstar SPF 50+ does not require airless pump technology as the active ingredient zinc oxide has already oxidised and therefore does not need protection against oxidation. 


Love this about liberty Belle! My vitamin C from other brands is orange with in weeks! I’m a bit paranoid and obsessive about my skin care so when I discovered this about my Liberty Belle products I was hooked and so reassured that they are doing what they’re meant to the whole time! Iv since switched all my serums to Liberty Belle as it feels like better value for money and safer!

Prue January 11, 2022

The packaging of the product range is very well engineered. Great information in the blog about the packaging but its the ingredients in the actual products that are world class… Take the time to read the ingredients which are sourced globally and the high potency compared to other products. A lot of research and development has clearly gone into this product line and its fantastic everything is manufactured in Australia with no animal testing. I’ve been using all the products for 6 months now and my skin is looking better than ever.

Ross October 21, 2020

Hi Natasha, thanks so much for taking the time to read our blog post. We are so glad you found the information helpful. We will definitely be sharing more posts like this. To answer your question: “Is an oil dropper not ideal either?” The answer is: No, it is not ideal either. An oil dropper functions the same as a pipette bottle – the formula is exposed to air each time you open the bottle which means your product is vulnerable to oxidation. The function of the dropper also releases air into the product when you squeeze the tip. An airless pump bottle would optimally protect the face oil ingredients and the efficacy of the formula.

Liberty Belle October 09, 2020

Very informative, great stuff. Thanks for this information, very helpful….keep the infor coming. One question: an oil dropper not an ideal way of packaging either??

Natasha K. October 09, 2020

I would only ever in invest in airless technology! Great blog!

Lauren October 09, 2020

Not only does the packaging look amazing it’s form and function makes sure i’m getting the optimal actives!

Kirsty October 09, 2020

This is why i love the LBRX airless bottles, not only do they look good but are effective! good read thanks for keeping me informed x

Brianna October 08, 2020

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