Not only does deodorant expire, but it loses its scent, crumbles, yellows, congests your pits, and more. But lots of guys are still using years old sticks of antiperspirant!
Stop getting attached to the deodorant that’s been sitting in your dresser drawer for God knows how long, and start wondering whether it’s time to switch it out for something new.
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Does Deodorant Expire?
Deodorants and antiperspirants both expire, but the timeline varies.
If the stick in your closet has an expiration date on it, then it’s most likely an antiperspirant. The FDA considers antiperspirants over-the-counter drugs because they have an added, sweat-blocking aluminum salt component. That added ingredient is the key odor-fighter in deodorant, but it’s not fabulous for your skin, and it can and will go bad eventually. So you should get rid of it before the expiration date.
Deodorants (not antiperspirants) do not need to carry an expiration date, but they do lose potency over time. Essential oil scents evaporate; natural ingredients perish. It might not smell fresh once you’ve had it for a while.
Whether you’re using an antiperspirant or a deodorant, the rule of thumb is that you should huck it after six months to a year. I like to stay closer to the six month mark – that’s when you’ll start to notice loss of scent. And really, what’s the point in using a deodorant if it doesn’t help you smell good?
Technically you can use antiperspirant and deodorant after it has expired. It might still help block sweat. You just run a higher risk of itchy, uncomfy pits, and you’ll need to pair it with a cologne if you want some sort of manly musk. Otherwise, your answer to “does deodorant expire” is as about as clearcut as it gets.
If you want to look into this even more, check out our article on how long a stick deodorant lasts.
How To Tell When Your Deodorant Expires
Step one is the sniff test. If it doesn’t have those manly, spicy, romcom vibes, (or at least smell clean), there’s no point in keeping it.
You can also tell if a deodorant or antiperspirant is expiring by its texture and color. Crumbling, evaporating, yellowing, and molding are all bad signs. But beyond those indicators, it’s good to just go with your gut. If your deodorant doesn’t work as well as it used to, it’s time to buy a fresh stick or spray.
If you tend to forget how old your deodorant is (I’m 100% guilty of that), you can always try writing the date of purchase on the bottle. That’ll let you keep an eye on how close it’s getting to end-of-lifespan. Watch out for the 8 – 9 month mark, that’s where you’ll really start losing scent and sweat-protection. If you don’t, you’ll quickly experience the, “does deodorant expire” question when it’s way too late.
How Often Should You Replace Deodorant
I know, you’ve grown attached to it. That little divot in the cap from where you dropped the stick on the tile. The familiar shape of it in your hand.
If you’ve gotten to the point where you know your deodorant bottle like the back of your hand, it’s probably time to replace it. Most experts advise a 6 month to 1 year lifespan for deodorants and antiperspirants, depending on the brand and ingredients (again, confirming the “does deodorant expire” question).
An all-natural deodorant is great for your skin, but you’ll have to toss it out closer to the 6 month mark because of its perishable ingredients. Commercial deodorants are reliably anti-smelly, but they do come with harsher ingredients. Those added chemicals extend one stick’s lifespan to about a year (but they do sometimes cause armpit breakouts).
The real question to ask yourself is whether your deodorant is still working as effectively as you want it to. A great deodorant should smell good, last all day, feel fine and dandy against your pits, and help wick away sweat. If your current stick isn’t quite hitting all of those to-dos, do you really want to keep it around?
Is It Safe To Use Expired Deodorant?
For the most part, technically yes. But for some guys, using expired deodorant can lead to bacterial infections.
In commercial deodorants, aluminum and alcohol -based ingredients kill odor-causing bacteria and prevent sweat. As those ingredients age, they become less effective, giving your pit bacteria room to host a party in the man cave.
As for natural deodorants, they often contain perishable ingredients. Even though those natural additives smell good and are more skin-friendly…they won’t be doing your pits any favors once they expire.
Keep an eye on how your stick looks and smells. If it has an expiration date, aim to finish it by that date.
For those of you who are like me and hate the idea of “wasted product,” think of it this way. It’s not wasted product if it’s no longer safe and usable. That’s junk. Never feel guilty throwing away a deodorant (or any hygiene item) if you can’t trust that it won’t cause breakouts, allergic reactions, or infections.
When Should You Throw Away Deodorant?
When it goes bad, when you get bored with it, or when you’ve dropped it on the dirty bathroom floor one too many times. All those are great times to get rid of your deodorant or antiperspirant.
The better question is how to throw away deodorant, because lots of people do it wrong. If you have a twist-up stick, throw away the innards and check whether the outer plastic bottle is recyclable – in lots of cases, you’ll find that it can go in your recycling instead of your trash.
If you’re using some sort of aerosol spray deodorant, use all the product in the bottle first. Then check whether the can itself is aluminum or steel. If it is, you can recycle it too.
Your city might have its own recycling policies, so the advice here isn’t uniform. Though, saving bottles and plastic from the landfill is always a good idea, where possible.
Can Deodorant Get Moldy?
Most deodorant won’t get moldy…but you might stumble across a few exceptions.
The parabens in commercial deodorant (a controversial ingredient that might be linked to health issues), keep store-bought sticks mold-free, even after the expiration date. The lack of moisture in most deodorant products also stops mold growth.
Natural deodorants, for the most part, also won’t grow mold. If you do find one that seems moldy, it could be a few things. You might not be used to the texture of a natural deodorant. So, if it’s fresh out of the package and you’re seeing “mold,” that “mold” is probably a chunky natural ingredient that you’ve just never interacted with before, especially in an armpit context.
Moldy deodorant is really a once-in-a-blue-moon kind of situation. What you need to worry about more is moldy armpits. If you have hairy pits, don’t dry off well enough after showering, and/or wear synthetic fabrics, all those conditions make your armpits an attractive place for bacterial growth.
Also be aware that if you’re deciding whether to switch to a natural deodorant, it’s going to be a smelly process. Your pits will need a “detox” period, so you’re going to smell bad for a week or two.