Do shaving creams have a sell-by-date or expire?

Some shaving products might not have an expiry date, but they do expire, become unusable or lose their potency after a few months, depending on their formulation.

It’s true that some shaving products are packaged without an expiry date, but that does not mean that they don’t expire. What it does signify is that the ingredients used to make the shaving cream, for example, can be of use indefinitely. However, depending on the time and how the product is stored, the efficiency of the actual shaving cream, or any other shaving product, will be affected.

Shaving products are grouped into two specific formulation groups. The grouping of the two spectrums of formulation is to highlight how products from the spectrums begin to show that they have reached their sell-by-date, and not through the demarcated sell-by-date. Rather, through the product indicating that it will not work the same way as it did before. The two formulation groups include anhydrous and emulsified formulations.

Anhydrous Formulations

The general distinction of an anhydrous formula is the fact that products with this formula only contain oil-based products. In a more nuanced distinction, some anhydrous formulas contain plant oils which, for example, include avocado seed oil, coconut oil and grapeseed oil. Therefore, in light of the aforementioned rule of thumb, after the product has passed its sell-by-date, products with plant oils are commonly seen to oxidise and give off a bad odour. This indicates that the product should not be used anymore.

On the other hand, some anhydrous formulas contain essential oils like lavender, lemon, lemongrass, tea tree and eucalyptus oils. Due to their base products, essential oils do not produce an odour or oxidize when they have passed their projected sell-by-date, as they contain antioxidants . However, products with these oils will begin to lose their aromatic properties and will most likely lose their potency too.

Emulsified Formulations

Emulsified formulas, on the other hand, might take longer to lose their scent. However, emulsified formulation-based products have more clear signs when it is time to throw them away. This is as emulsified formulas in shaving products not only have oil-based ingredients, but water too. Examples of shaving products which probably are emulsion-based include moisturisers like aftershave and shaving creams. Due to the water content in the product, following the product passing the rule of thumb on expiry, they will evaporate the water content which results in the drying of the product.

The result of continuous use of a shaving product with an emulsified product could also be life threatening. This is as applying such a product could create irritation on the applied area. The result is you either having a rash or insistent itching of the sensitive area. However, irritation could easily turn to a life-threatening bacterial infection due to the application of the product on open skin, eyes or mouth. Although rare, a bacterial infection is another risk of using shaving products past the product showing signs of being expired.

Hacks and tricks to remember expiry dates

The general rule of thumb should be that everything, including shaving products, have an expiry date. Even products which do not seem to have a clearly stipulated expiry date. Some products usually do so by imprinting 6M or 12M. The imprint is meant to explain that the product will be usable for the next six or 12 months after it has been purchased and opened.

Although, for products that do not have either of the projected expiry dates, a hack you can take note of to help identify how long you have had the product for is marking it yourself. After you have bought the product, write the date of purchase somewhere on the product and count six to 12 months from there.

Alternatively, for unopened products, you still write the purchase date. Thereafter, the second date will be written when the product is opened. Thereafter, the date of opening will mark the countdown to the six-month mark until it is time to get rid of the product. Following six months of the product being opened, it will need to be discarded.