Many such products carry expiration dates, but thrifty shoppers often wonder if they really must toss dated items that still "seem" perfectly fine. After all, how can headache medicine stop working from one month to the next? And why should you believe the expiration date on one lotion when another doesn't carry one at all?
Expiration doesn't necessarily mean the product turns putrid or ineffective once the date passes. Manufacturers set expiration by choosing a date and conducting stability tests to ensure the product will still be good at that time.
Expiration dates tend to be conservative to account for a wide range of storage conditions and consumer handling, said Dr. John Bailey, chief scientist with the Personal Care Products Council, an industry trade group. But for some products there can be a cushion. Here's a guide to products that commonly carry expiration dates.
Click this photo gallery to find out when these nonfood items expire.