The problem with jars and why the beauty industry insists on using them
Take a look in your bathroom cabinet. How many of your beauty products come in a jar? And how many in a pump bottle or tube? I am guessing that at least half of your creams are packaged in a jar. And that is bad news, because it means that about half of the products you are using are worthless. Many skincare products nowadays contain a powerful blend of active ingredients that can really help maintain and improve the condition of your skin – ingredients like retinol, hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E and more. The problem is that all these active components are very unstable. Exposure to air and light causes them to break down, lowering their effectiveness and eventually destroying them altogether. And the worst part? The breakdown process starts the moment you first open the jar. Paula Begoun, founder of Paula’s Choice skincare and cosmetics, says: ‟The ingredients most beneficial for your skin are not stable, which means they won’t be effective if exposed to light and air, which is exactly what happens when you take the lid off a jar. No matter how great the formula, it all begins to break down when you first open it!” So even the slightest exposure to air and light will cause the active ingredients in your brand new skin cream to start losing their power and will eventually leave you with not much more than some emulsifying agents, thickeners and emollients.
So why does the beauty industry insist on using jar packaging? Countless research has been done on the subject, and there are numerous publications proving that air and light destabilize the active ingredients in skincare products. And yet some of the biggest cosmetics brands still refuse to move away from jars. How can they justify this, knowing that their choice of packaging will render the products useless? When asked for an explanation, most cosmetics companies skirt around the subject. Some might say jars are aesthetically more pleasing and that they are simply giving customers what they want. Others might try to justify the use of jar packaging by saying that they add special components to the formula to prevent the active ingredients from breaking down.
The fact remains that any exposure to light and air will inevitably break down the active ingredients in skin care. The solution? Using air-tight and lightproof containers such as opaque pump bottles and squeeze tubes. Not only will they keep the active substances in your face cream stable for much longer but they are also a lot more practical and sanitary to use. So next time you go beauty shopping, please steer clear of products in jars and instead opt for those in a tube or a pump bottle. If you are going to spend tens and maybe even hundreds of francs on skin care, the least you can do is make sure you are getting your money’s worth by choosing a product that will actually work. A pump bottle or tube may not look as pretty on your dressing table as a luxurious little jar, but it is certainly the best choice for your skin.
Melissa Van Roosbroeck is a style and fashion writer.