Do Aftershave Expire? How Can You Recognize Expired Aftershave?

It is easy to know when you need to stop using an aftershave product if it comes with an expiration date. But because aftershave products are not legally required to specify this, most do not come with one, and users can be left confused. 

You might assume that it cannot expire if it does not have an expiration date. But really, do aftershave expire? To make sure you do not experience any negative consequences, it is important to have a clear answer to this. Keep reading this article to get it! 

Do Aftershaves Expire?

Technically, aftershaves do not have an expiration date because they are not required to have one as a cosmetic product that is good for more than 30 months. However, like other products, they can go bad and lose their strength or smell after a while. 

So, yes. Aftershaves do expire. 

Most aftershaves last between 1 and 5 years. Where a specific product falls in this range depends on its ingredients and how it is stored. 

If an aftershave is unopened, it is generally alright to use it up to 5 years. But if it has been opened, it is best to use it within a year. Remember to store it in a cool, dry place without direct sunlight exposure. 

2 Factors That Affect Aftershave Expiration 

The Ingredients 

Aftershaves that are alcohol-based or have a high alcohol content, tend to have a longer shelf life because the alcohol helps prevent bacteria, mold, and fungi from growing.

On the other hand, water-based aftershaves or those containing a high water content tend to not last as long because water breeds bacteria. 

Aftershaves that are formulated with natural ingredients and contain natural fragrances can go bad more quickly than those without natural ingredients, such as coconut oil and tea tree oil, and fragrances. By the same token, aftershaves with added preservatives will not expire as fast. 

Volatile aftershave can lose fragrance, regardless of their expiry date, when they are left open. This is because the chemical compounds of the fragrances break down over time due to oxygenation. They can cause the scent to lose potency or turn sour. 

Here is a list of the typical ingredients in an aftershave that can decrease its life in terms of scent potency and functionality to between 12 and 24 months:

  • Alcohol 
  • Water 
  • Preservatives 
  • Flycolic Acid 
  • Vitamin C 
  • Benzoyl Peroxide 
  • Fats 
Aftershaves with natural ingredients or fragrances tend to have short shelf lives 
Aftershaves with natural ingredients or fragrances tend to have short shelf lives

Aftershaves that possess a base scent that is heavier, like woodsy or spicy ones, typically last longer than those with a light base fragrance, such as citrus or no-odor at all. 

The Storage 

If you store aftershaves in a place with extreme temperatures and excessive humidity as well as heat (i.e, next to a radiator, fireplace, etc) and direct sunlight exposure, you can shorten their shelf lives. Their fragrance may be diminished, and they can be discolored.  

As such, you need to keep your aftershaves in a dry, cool place and away from any light, like a drawer. 

Moreover, if you are not using the aftershave and leaving it uncapped, you will certainly invite bacteria and germs into it. The water and alcohol content in it can also evaporate more quickly. 

Aftershaves that are packaged in tubs or jars also tend to spoil more quickly because the user would have to pick up product with their fingers. Bacteria and germs on their skin can get into the aftershave and continue to breed more. 

Aftershave in tubs or jars tend to spoil more quickly 
Aftershave in tubs or jars tend to spoil more quickly

Can I Use Expired Aftershave? 

We do not recommend using expired aftershave. Some of the ingredients in the expired aftershave may have spoiled and prompted bacterial, mold, or fungi growth, all of which are a no-no for the skin.

Usually, spoiling occurs because the ingredients react with oxygen or break down. If you have sensitive skin, you can suffer from severe irritation and itchiness. Other than that, bacterial growth can give you infections, inflammation, and/or acne.  

On post-shaving skin with redness, nicks, and cut, expired aftershaves can leave a warm instead of cool sensation, which leads to nasty burning feelings and painful blisters you obviously do not want. 

Hence, you should not use expired aftershave. It is best to throw it away and purchase a new one. 

How Can I Recognize Expired Aftershave? 

Knowing if your aftershave has expired is important to avoid using it 
Knowing if your aftershave has expired is important to avoid using it

The signs of expiration vary from aftershave to aftershave. Still, there are s few common ones that you can use as a reference. In general, there are three ways to check whether an aftershave is spoiled:

Check the Color 

Usually, the color will be darker, or it will have changed from a transparent to opaque or murky color. 

Check the Smell 

If the aftershave smells unpleasant or off-putting, then there is a high chance that it has spoiled and is no longer good to use. 

Check Your Skin Reactions 

If, when applying, you notice strange signs on your face, such as redness or a rash, then you can consider the product as expired and note that it should not be used anymore.

The Common Signs Of Expired Aftershaves

With perfume aftershaves, signs of expiration include: 

  • Little to no effect upon application 
  • Weird or nasty smell, resembling vinegar 
  • Darkened color compared to its original color 

With lotion aftershaves, signs of expiration include: 

  • Little to no effect upon application 
  • Unusual and putrid smell 
  • Changed color 
  • Separated liquid and solid consistency 

With balm aftershaves, signs of expiration include: 

  • Sour or unpleasant smell 
  • Visible mold or fungi growth 
  • Bad or liquidy consistency 

How Can I Extend My Aftershave’s Shelf Life? 

Here are the tips that you should keep in mind to extend the life of your aftershave: 

  • Store it somewhere with low temperatures and little exposure to heat and light. 
  • Keep it factory-sealed until you are ready to use it. 
  • Do not leave it uncapped for a long time. 
  • Note that aftershaves with natural ingredients and fragrances expire sooner. 
  • Always apply it with clean and dry hands. 


As you have read in this article, the answer to “Do aftershave expire?” is YES.

Although a few aftershaves do not come with an expiration date, they can spoil. Some go bad more quickly than others. The time that an aftershave has before it expires varies depending on its ingredients and how it is stored.

Hopefully, this has been helpful. Leave any thoughts or questions that you have below in the comments. Please help us share this content with other readers as well. Thank you! 

Max Young

Hello, my name is Max Young - the founder of, a website dedicated to the shaving community.

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