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How Long Does Hand Lotion Last? (EXPLAINED)

Like all great skin care products, your hand lotion might feel short lived, especially if you’re using it frequently throughout the day. “How long does hand lotion last” depends on a lot of factors.

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How Long Does Hand Lotion Last Once Opened?

Generally, you don’t want to keep any skin care product around for longer than a year once you’ve opened it – the same goes for hand lotions.

It’s not that all lotions have a hard expiration date after a year, but more so that they start to become less effective and more gross. The oils might separate from the other ingredients, making it feel greasier. 

And when you think about it, why would you want to keep a skin care product around for longer than a year? Most of my products that have been sitting on my shelf for longer than a year are going unused. 

How Long Does Hand Lotion Last On Your Skin?

On your skin, hand lotion will last anywhere from 4-6 hours to a full day. It depends on the type of lotion you use, and what your day demands from your skin.

Higher-quality lotions are going to last longer than what you get from the dollar store. You might only need to apply those once in the morning. If you opt for cheaper brands, you’ll want to choose a travel-sized bottle that you can keep with you and reapply as needed.

The best hand lotions for men are hydrating, long-lasting, and good for sensitive skin. And if you want to make your money go further, you can pair them with a wax- or oil-based product to act as a sealant, so that moisturize doesn’t escape your skin.

Believe it or not, you can rub chapstick or lip balm on your hands after applying lotion to keep your hands hydrated all day. They’re some of the best sealants out there.

How Long Does Hand Lotion Last After Expiration Date?

If your lotion carries an expiration date, and you’re past that date, you should throw it out.

Expired lotion still “works,” just not as well as non-expired lotion. You run the risk that it will cause an allergic reaction or dry out your skin. It’ll probably feel and smell wrong while you’re applying it.

The longer you let it run past that expiration date, the less effective it grows over time. If you find yourself running into this problem frequently, it’s probably time to start buying smaller bottles (as tempting as those huge jugs of lotion are).

How Do You Know If Lotion Is Expired?

Aside from any indication on the bottle (“best by” or “use in _ months after opening”), you can check the color, scent, and consistency of the lotion for indications that it has expired.

Consistency is probably the best indicator. Products with that much oil can clump over time, or get thin and greasy. If the texture isn’t the same as when you first opened the bottle, it’s starting to expire.

Smell and color can be harder to detect, especially if it’s slowly getting worse over time. You might not notice that your lotion is off-white instead of white, or that the rosy smell has gotten more putrid or flowery.

Can We Use Expired Hand Lotion?

Expired hand lotion won’t kill you, but it also won’t do the job that it’s supposed to do. 

The skin on your hands is thick, so you might not notice at first that your expired hand lotion has stopped working. If you use hand lotion on your face, you’ll notice much more quickly that it’s gotten irritating or uncomfortable with age. (That’s partially why you shouldn’t use hand lotion on your face.)

Using expired hand lotion is a lot like eating an expired can of veggies. It’s canned, so it’s not really supposed to go bad…and you can push it when it comes to the expiration date…but you know in your heart that you really shouldn’t’ risk it.

Should I Throw Away Old Lotion?

Do yourself a favor and throw away lotion if it’s starting to get old. It’s either expired, or you’re not using it enough to justify having it around.

We’re all guilty of having that little bottle sitting in the far back corner of the bathroom cabinet. It’s starting to turn into a bathroom landmark. (“Hey, I need you to grab me the Windex. It’s sitting in front of that old bottle of lotion in the bathroom.”)

Why keep a skin care product around if you don’t actually enjoy it, and it’s no longer good for your skin? Invest in a new bottle that you’re going to love and use up far before its expiration date.

Frank Edwards is a men's grooming & style expert who is "internet famous" for being able to simplify complicated grooming routines into easy, yet effective rituals any man can do. As a professional analyst, he has spent years researching the biggest brands, products, experts, best practices, and breaking news in the space. He takes this analysis, tests it out on himself, and then documents everything in his writing. As a result, his experience-based articles are considered by some to be the gold standard in men's grooming and men's style.