Does Body Lotion Expire

person pouring plastic tube bottle

I get it. Bath and Body Works had a semi-annual sale, so why not buy at least 20 lotions for only $3 each? That’s precisely what I did. I assumed with the way I was using lotion at least twice daily, the lotion would last for a year or so. It would be a significant investment. However, I did not stop in the middle of the shopping spree to check on the shelf life of the lotion. Then, my youngest daughter opened them all to smell them, meaning their shelf life was instantly reduced. I set out to learn about the shelf life of lotion to determine how long my personal haul would last and to ensure that my skincare products would be safe. Here’s what you need to know about does body lotion expire? 

I participate in affiliate programs, including Amazon Affiliates, and may earn a small commission if items are purchased through links on the site

How Long Is Lotion Good For

Before determining how long lotion is good, checking the bottle for a manufacturer date is essential. Lotion bottles do not have expiration dates. However, they do have the manufacturer’s date. The shelf life for your bottle starts on the date it was created, not the date you purchased it. 

After that, the consensus tends to differ on how long lotion will last. Some say that active ingredients will break down in skin care products, resulting in a shelf life of two years. However, others swear that lotion can last for up to five years. 

Instead of going by expiration dates, assume that you need to look for signs that your lotion is expired once you hit the two-year mark. It can be helpful to learn the signs that your lotion has gone bad so that you can spot them if it expires before the two-year mark. 

That’s because, unfortunately, quite a few things can determine whether your lotion has gone bad. For example, opened lotion will likely experience bacterial growth long before a lotion that is still properly sealed. The improperly stored lotion will also expire sooner. 

How To Tell Lotion Is Expired

plastic bottle with cream for moisturizing skin
Photo by Angela Roma on

There are several indicators that your lotion is bad. While lotion doesn’t technically expire, it can become less effective, grow mold, and there are other signs that it’s time to toss it. Knowing how to tell if the lotion is expired can ensure that you’re always enjoying the benefits of your lotion. 

Natural Lotions Expire Faster

When you have a skin care product that is comprised of natural ingredients, expect it to go bad sooner than other bottles of lotion. Other lotions are packed with chemicals and preservatives to help them last longer. 

Sniff It

If you have expired lotion, it will start to smell rank. The more expired your lotion is, the worst it will smell. When your lotion is starting to lose its scent but has no other signs that it’s expired, it’s starting to go bad. Hurry up and use it before it expires to avoid being wasteful. 

Check The Color

If your lotion doesn’t have a pump, use a beauty spatula to get a little bit of lotion out of the bottle. Then, check the color. Does it look like it did when you first squeezed lotion out of the bottle? If not, it’s a sign that your lotion is expired. 

How To Store Lotion 

Storing lotion properly is key to helping it last as long as possible. Things like heat and light can make the ingredients in your lotion break down sooner, resulting in your lotion expiring. 

Store Lotion In A Dry Place

Most of your house is dry, making storing lotion safe. However, there are a few exceptions. Your bathroom gets humid when you shower, making this a bad place to store lotion. Skincare fridges are another option, but it’s essential to ensure that they do not retain moisture and humidity to ensure your skincare products last as long as possible. 

Avoid Heat

Heat can also make lotion expire long before you expect it to. Avoid storing lotion near heater vents that get hot during winter months, and keep it out of the hot, humid environment of the bathroom. Exposure to sunlight is also a no-no. That means don’t store your lotion near windows where sunlight gets in because this exposes your lotion to higher heat levels. 

Don’t Open It

Most lotions, including Bath and Body Work lotions, last three years after the manufacturer’s date. However, this is the date for unopened bottles. If you splurge because there’s a sale, store your lotion in a cool, dry place, and don’t open the lotion until you’re ready to use it to help it last as long as possible. 

Oil-Based Lotions Last Longer

Oil-based lotions have less water, which means that there is less room in the lotion for bacteria to grow inside the lotion. Don’t use your hands or fingers to remove the lotion from the jar to prevent further bacteria growth. Instead, use a beauty spatula or cotton swab. In a pinch, a clean spoon is better than your hands. 

Liquid-Free Lotions Also Last Longer

Liquid-free lotions are often advertised as travel-friendly options because they are not subject to the liquids rule while traveling. However, that’s far from their only benefit. Liquid-free lotions take longer to break down, and it’s harder for bacteria to thrive in them. If you can, stocking up on liquid-free lotion is a great idea. 

Consider Lotions With A Pump

Stocking up on your favorite lotion is an excellent idea if it can save you money. However, if you can’t seem to get out of the habit of sticking your fingers in lotion containers on a regular basis, it’s a good idea to consider a different lotion. Using your hands to remove the lotion from a lotion container will not keep your lotion fresh. Lotion containers with a pump are a great idea. You can also pick up some Bath and Body Work lotions that you can squeeze the lotion out. 

Can I Use Expired Lotion?

No, it’s not a good idea to use expired lotion. Lotion that has gone bad can be full of bacteria, especially if you dip wet fingers in the jar. It can also cause skin irritation. Lotions designed for certain things, such as maximum hydration, will be less effective. Instead, pick up some new lotion. 

Final Thoughts

Finding an exact answer can be hard when wondering if body lotion expires. Most lotions have a three-year shelf life and should be used within 1-2 years after opening. However, there are always exceptions. How you store your lotion depends on how long it will take for your lotion to go bad. For more need-to-know info, check out the rest of the site. 

Related Articles

How To Know If Lipstick Is Expired

How To Get Soft Skin

How Long Do Makeup Wipes Last

Leave a Reply

The author does not in any way guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any message and will not be held responsible for the content of any message. Always consult your personal physician for specific medical advice. Information on this blog is for informational/entertainment use only. Please be advised that I do participate in affiliate programs, and may earn a commission if you purchase products by clicking on links on this website.