How Long is Face Moisturizer Good For?

Published Categorized as Beauty Tips

Almost all skin care products sold today contain some form of preservative to help them have a shelf life of longer periods. Even products with natural ingredients still contain some form of preservative, and some of these preservatives may be naturally sourced too.

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You may be wondering how long is face moisturizer good for. If you are a beauty product addict, chances are you may have a bunch of beauty products on your counter and your bag. You may notice that many of them do not have a stamped expiry date. This is because, unlike drugs or food, they are not under the supervision of any regulating body like the Food Drug Administration.

Calming Face Moisturizer by Olay Sensitive, Fragrance-Free, 2 oz.

How to determine the expiry of your face moisturizer

Count the years

If unopened and sealed properly, a bottle of moisturizer may be good for up to three years.

A moisturizer opened and used with minimal contact to the outside environment, such as for pump and squeeze bottles, may be used for two years or so.

If after two years you still have not consumed it fully, it would be a good idea to toss it.

However, if you use it regularly on a daily basis, you may not hit the two-year mark after all.


You can usually tell how long your face moisturizer is good for by its smell.

Usually, when you first open the bottle, it has a fresh or a new scent to it, doesn’t it?

The fragrance will smell singular, although it is not generally recommended to put a fragrance on your face for the risk of allergies and irritation, and the fragrance-free variety will smell free of any fragrances. Usually, they have a clean and sometimes silicone-y scent to them, which you may classify as smelling new.

The scents mixed into the formulation are supposed to retain and remain constant for as long as your face moisturizer is still good. Once you notice a change, maybe an unpleasant or unusual odor coming from your facial moisturizer, that is a clear sign that you have to toss and restock.

Perfumed moisturizers will have an accompanying spoiled smell to them. Fragrance-free items will simply smell spoiled.

If you are not sure, simply err on the side of caution and toss that bottle out as soon as you sniff something off.


A freshly opened bottle of moisturizer will appear creamy or congealed in structure. Unless you break it down against your skin or expose it to heat, it will remain in this creamy or congealed state. You can immediately tell if a jar of moisturizing cream is spoiled because it will begin to deconstruct.

The fat and water content will be visibly separated, whereas the jelly-like substance of a clear compound will become more watery.

At first glance, or at fist touch, it will be quite obvious that a jar or bottle of moisturizer is spoiled.

Calming Face Moisturizer by Olay Sensitive, Fragrance-Free, 2 oz.

Factors which affect moisturizer longevity

Bottle design and exposure

The design of the container plays a major role in maintaining the freshness of a face moisturizer. You might notice that facial moisturizers these days very rarely or no longer come in those classic screw-cap jars that allow you to dip your fingers in to get the product out.

Usually, facial moisturizers these days come in a squeeze or a pump bottle, and for a very good reason. This dispenser design allows the product to remain protected and unexposed to bacteria that may be present on your fingers that may cause the product to spoil much faster than desired.

Also, pump or squeeze bottles allow you to dispense just the right amount of product onto your hand, especially pump bottles, since the amount needed is pre-determined and pre-measured.

This means that there is less of a tendency to want to return excess product to the bottle because of accidentally getting more than the desired amount.


The ideal temperature to store beauty care products such as moisturizers is at about ten degrees cooler than room temperature, or preferably below 30°C.

If you live in hotter areas, or frequently leave your moisturizer in hot places, like in your parked car on a sunny day, try to check its consistency and its odor to see if it has spoiled due to the exposure to heat.

Check out related posts about moisturizer on our blog!

What are your thoughts on how long is moisturizer good for? When do you usually toss your moisturizer?

By Ellis James

We design luxuriously glamorous bags, organizers and life essentials for you. At Ellis James Designs, it’s all about YOU. Your bag, Your way. Our exclusive designs are timeless, indulgent and most importantly inspired by you. What will be your first Ellis James Design?