Why Jar Packaging Is A Waste Of Money

Most skincare products come in a jar packaging. Chances are your favourite moisturizer does too. You probably don’t see anything wrong with this either. Although tubes and bottles are becoming more and more used, a jar is still the type of packaging we mostly associate with skincare products. Haven’t creams always come in a jar, after all?

Yes, but in recent years, skincare research has progressed a lot. We now have lots of beneficial ingredients such as antioxidants , sunscreen actives and retinoids that can help us fight the signs of puremature aging and keep wrinkles at bay for longer, and we know that these ingredients should never be packaged in a jar. Here’s why:

Beneficial ingredients oxidize when exposed to light and air

The ingredients that are most beneficial for your skin (sunscreen actives, antioxidants and retinoids) aren’t stable. This means that they break down when exposed to light and air, which happens every time you take the lid off a jar. This degradation begins from the very first time you open the jar, and will continue with every use, until the ingredients will become completely ineffective. And that’s gonna happen before you’ve finished the product. In just a month, your expensive retinoid treatment or anti-aging moisturizer will just become a basic but overpriced moisturizer that will only hydrate skin. What a waste of money!

Jar packaging isn’t hygienic

Even if your moisturizer or lotion doesn’t contain any unstable ingredients, the jar packaging could still be problematic. Picking up the cream with your fingers, in fact, is just not hygienic. Should you have bacteria on your hands, these will transfer into the product, and from there, on your face the next time you use it. In addition, when bacteria start growing in your product, they will cause it to go bad, and you’ll have to throw it away even if there’s still a lot of it left. Now if your moisturizer contains a good preservative system (and is not expired), the risk of any infection is minimal as any bacteria that finds its way inside a jar will be killed. But you may still want to be careful, especially if you’re using organic or preservative-free products.

The Bottom Line

Jars may look pretty, but they won’t protect your products from degradation and bacteria. If you’re gonna buy a skincare product, and especially one with retinoids, antioxidants, or sunscreen actives, make sure it comes packaged in an opaque, air-tight packaging that will prevent all those beneficial ingredients from losing their effectiveness too soon. Otherwise, you’re just throwing money away!

Do you avoid jar packaging?

20 Comment

    • Ana, I do see your point. I guess with tubes there is the risk that the small amount of product that’s directly below the opening will be exposed to light and slowly oxidize, but the rest of the product will remain intact and good. With jars instead, the entire upper layer will be rendered useless and thus the product will go bad a lot sooner.

  1. I don’t understand why “high end” skin care is still, to this day, sold in jars. Such a waste of money. You would think that big cosmetics companies don’t know about this. I guess it’s easier to make an interesting jar desigh than a tube or pump. Many do buy products partly for the presentation, because they look good on their vanity shelves. I only own one jar packaged moisturizer that contains no actives & use a little spatula to keep it as clean as possible. It’s a Nuxe moisturizer that I just love & use a few times a week. :D
    Icaria´s last blog post ..The Clarisonic Skin Cleansing System / ReviewMy Profile

    • Icaria, I agree with you that skincare products, especially high end ones, shouldn’t be packaged in jars. It’s a waste of money indeed. Unfortunately a lot of women love jars as they are pretty and cute, and aren’t aware of the problems associated with this type of packaging. And I guess cosmetic companies find it more convenient to keep things as they are rather than educate consumers and change the packaging.

      • Cathy, if the bottle/tube is opaque then yes, I believe the antioxidants would last a lot longer.

  2. I don’t even reach for my H20 Face Oasis moisturizer just because it’s in a jar! I have several day-time face moisturizers and I only sometimes use the jar products when I’ve washed my hands and I’m not rushing anywhere. It’s so unsanitary. Nails harvest dirt and bacteria so easily.
    I agree with Icaria that HE brands should know better than to package so many of their products in jars. But everything is about $$. :o Luckily there’s so many options out there so we can all get what we want.

    • Janessa, I agree. Luckily preservatives can kill some of the bacteria that may enter the jars, but it’s always best not to risk it or pick the product up with a spatula instead.

      And that’s so true too. As long as consumers will keep buying moisturizers in jars, HE brands won’t change the packaging. It’s a good thing that are many other options available.

  3. “Say NO to Jar Packaging!”
    That reminds me of “Say NO to Drugs!” as we have drug-free weeks at school (yeah right… at least they try :P) and that is such a makeup geeky slogan.

    • Janessa, I’m glad you like the slogan. :)

      And let’s hope those drug-free weeks will be helpful for some people at least. Drugs are so bad for you, we should all stay away from them.

        • No point in trying something that will lose its effectiveness soon, right? And that’s good, there are lots of drugstore sunscreens that do a good job so you don’t need to splurge on one. :)

  4. Pingback: Cleansers and Cold Creams « Project Beauty Diary

  5. The high end companies know, but they don’t care. What matters to them is the bottom line. Customers equate glass jars with quality, so the high end companies supply glass jars. It’s just a bonus that the products ‘go off’ quicker, meaning you will just need to buy more sooner.

    • Michelle, that is so true. It’s a shame that more consumers don’t know about what a poor packaging choice jars are. Some brands won’t change their packaging until they realize it is more convenient financially for them to do so.

  6. Pingback: Beauty Products to Throw Away Before Your Holiday Shopping Spree

  7. The minute I get my moisturizer home I get a craft stick and a dark PET bottle and transfer my cream into the bottle.It’s irritating that companies still use jar moisturizers but unfortunately some of the best formulas are in a jar.

    • Kelley, what a great idea! And I agree. There’s not much point in creating a good formula if you’re gonna put it in a jar, where it’ll become ineffective within weeks, and yet a lot of companies do it. *sighs*

  8. Hello,

    This is such a useful article I have been wondering about this. Quick question, will ingredients be degraded very much after a one off brief exposure to air? I bought a product that came with an air tight pump but the pump broke so i had to unscrew it to sort it out. It was brand new and more expensive than normal for me so I was wondering how much damage this would do? Hopefully most of the ingredients are ok!

    • Emma, hi, and thank you. I’m glad you’ve found this post informative. Usually, degradation happens slowly. Every time you open the jar, a little bit of the effectiveness of its ingredients disappear. Open it one too many times, and it is all gone.

      If you unscrewed your bottle only once and did a quick job, then it’s unlikely that much damage was done. Probably a bit of the product at the top may have lost some effectiveness, but most of it will still be good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge