How Long Does Deodorant Last on Your Shelf?
We all use deodorant, but from time to time, you might run out of your current stick and desperately look beneath your bathroom counter or in your bathroom cabinet for a spare one. After all, you don’t want to go to work smelling like BO! If you find an old deodorant stick, you could be tempted to rub it on your armpits and call it good, at least until you can make a trip to the grocery store. But how long does deodorant last on your shelf? More importantly, does deodorant expire? If it does, should you still use it on your skin?
These are all very important questions, so let’s answer them.
Does Deodorant “Expire”?
Yes, like any perishable product, deodorant does expire eventually. However, there are different rules and regulations regarding expiration for different types of deodorant.
Antiperspirant vs. “Regular” Deodorant
For example, antiperspirant products physically block the pores of your skin. This prevents your skin from sweating as much or at all. Without sweat, bacteria on your skin can’t reproduce as much, preventing body odor buildup. Regular deodorant doesn’t do this. Instead, it seeks to cover up body odor using different fragrances. Regular deodorant is better for your skin since it doesn’t clog up your pores and it doesn’t prevent you from sweating: a completely natural and overall healthy process.
The FDA does not have specific expiration dates or rules for cosmetic products like regular deodorant. However, antiperspirant products are considered to be over-the-counter drugs. Therefore, the FDA does require antiperspirant products to have an expiration date. Bottom line: non-antiperspirant deodorant products usually have expiration dates, but they don’t have to since they are classified as cosmetic products. Antiperspirant deodorants do have expiration dates by law.
What Does Expiration Mean?
Expiration for deodorant products generally means that they stop working as effectively or their composition changes. For example, if you try to use an expired regular deodorant stick, you might find that the deodorant is crumbly, doesn’t stick to your skin, or that the natural oils used in the product aren’t as fragrant as they were before. In other words, an expired deodorant product can’t be relied on to work as well as a deodorant product within its expiration date. That’s why it’s always a good idea to purchase new deodorant sticks or lotions when you run out!
What Are Signs of Deodorant Expiration?
There are many signs that your deodorant has expired or is about to expire. These signs depend on the ingredient composition of the product in question, but they usually include:
- A crumbling or dried texture. For example, if you have a regular deodorant stick, the deodorant product on the top could crumble or become impossible to smear on your skin.
- Color change. Many different products, especially natural ones, experience color changes when they expire since the plant oils or other ingredients no longer work.
- Gel drying, if you use a gel deodorant instead of a typical stick deodorant.
- Loss of fragrance. You might notice that your expired deodorant product doesn’t smell like anything, which is a problem if you rely on that fragrance to cover up your body odor!
Of course, you can always check the back of a deodorant product and look for the expiration date to see whether it expired.
When Does Deodorant Expire?
That depends on the ingredients used for your deodorant product. Deodorant usually expires between one and three years after opening it or after creation. Generally, deodorant products with natural ingredients like plant oils, essential oils, and herbs expire more quickly than deodorant products made with synthetic chemicals. However, natural deodorants are still usually better. Their ingredients are superior for your skin, less likely to cause side effects, and often produce more natural, healthy fragrances to cover up your BO. Natural deodorants are often better for the environment since harsh chemicals don’t wash away in your shower or sink.
Natural deodorants usually expire more quickly since their ingredients are not designed to last very long. Therefore, it’s a good idea to pick up small packages of natural deodorants, use them until they are spent, then pick up a new package, so you aren’t forced to use an expired deodorant.
How Should I Store Deodorant for a Longer Lifespan?
Like other perishable products, you can store your deodorant products to extend their lifespan. This can be a good idea if you want to keep a deodorant stick or other product in a camping box or an emergency kit. To extend the shelf life of your deodorant:
- Store your deodorant away from the hot sun, preferably in a cool and dry place like inside your cabinet or beneath the kitchen sink. Many stick deodorants melt when their temperatures reach 77°F or higher. Keep this in mind if you store your deodorant in a gym bag and take it with you and your car.
- Store unopened deodorants together and only open one stick or other product of deodorant at a time. Don’t remove any packaging until you are ready to use the deodorant in question.
- Use your deodorant after your body has cooled off if you’re trying to mask BO after a workout. That way, you don’t sweat on your deodorant, which can affect the expiration date of some of its ingredients.
Again, remember that natural, healthier deodorants expire more quickly than deodorants with many chemicals or synthetic ingredients. So you may wish to avoid buying natural deodorant products in bulk.
Is It Wise To Replace Deodorant?
Yes! Even if you have a given synthetic deodorant product with a fragrance, and you smell it and think it’ll work, it’s probably not the best thing to use on your skin, especially for an extended period. Instead, replace your deodorant with a fresh product as soon as it expires. Fresh deodorant is better for your skin, smells better, and does a better job of covering up body odor regardless of the ingredients. In addition, fresh deodorant simply feels a lot better. When you apply expired deodorant to your skin, you increase the chances of your skin feeling dry, irritated, or slimy. Who wants that when trying to get rid of body odor?
Is Expired Deodorant Harmful?
It can be, but it depends on the ingredients and how the deodorant works. For example, antiperspirant deodorant products are usually more harmful than standard deodorants. That’s because antiperspirant components and ingredients plug up your skin’s pores and prevent them from releasing sweat. Furthermore, expired deodorants can irritate your skin and do a worse job of covering up BO. There’s no guarantee that expired deodorant will harm your skin. But given that it’s never too hard to find a good stick of fresh deo, why would you risk it?
As you can see, deodorant lasts for between one and three years on your shelf on average. However, individual deodorant stick expiration dates can vary heavily depending on their ingredient compositions, where they are stored, and other factors. Plus, even if your deodorant hasn’t expired yet, it might be wise to pick up a new stick at the earliest opportunity. Of course, it’s also important to pick up deodorant products made with the right ingredients. For example, you should avoid deodorant or antiperspirant products with aluminum, which can clog your pores and lead to skin side effects. Instead, you should target deodorants with natural ingredients.
Not sure where to start? 1AND1 can help you determine the best ingredients to lead a healthy life for your deodorant, skincare products, and even your meals! More than that, we can help you start on the path to becoming 1% better and healthier each and every day.
CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 | FDA.gov
Shelf Life and Expiration Dating of Cosmetics | FDA