Does Baby Oil Expire? Let’s Find Out

Face of baby and mother

Does baby oil expire? This is a question many parents ask when buying baby oil. Baby oil is a staple when discussing essential baby products. It’s known for its exceptional moisturizing abilities by locking in moisture leaving your baby’s skin feeling soft and supple. It’s no wonder why the product’s target market isn’t only limited to babies. You’ll find a sizable number of adults using it as part of their skincare routine. Because who doesn’t want smooth skin?

Back to the question about baby oil expiring. The answer is yes, baby oil can go bad and expire. I’m here to unpack the reasons why it expires, how to tell when it has expired, and whether it’s safe to use after expiry. I’ll outline alternative uses when your baby oil does expire if chucking it down the drain seems a bit drastic. Let’s get started!

Does Baby Oil Expire? How to Find Out the Expiration Date (if there is one!)

Yes, baby oil can expire if not used up in its allocated time. Much like baby wipes, baby oil will lose its effectiveness over time. How will you know when it’s expired? Take your cue from the product’s manufacturers. In most cases, they’ll either state the expiry date on the packaging or on the bottle itself. Either that or they’ll recommend a use-by date. And this date is usually between one and three years from the date of manufacture. 

So if you’re trying to gauge your baby’s oil expiry date, either look for the expiry or best before the date stated by the manufacturer. Other manufacturers recommend you discard the oils after a year just to be on the safe side. This is especially true if your little one has extremely sensitive skin.

If you don’t see any mention of expiry dates, there are other ways of telling if the product has expired which I’ll highlight a little later in the article.

What Do I Need to Know About Mineral Oils and Vegetable Oils in My Baby Oil?

Products containing any form of additives, preservatives and skin protectants can only last for so long. Lotions, sunscreens, and other cosmetic products fall under this bracket. And baby oil is no exception.

Over time, certain ingredients found in the oil tend to break down. When this happens, the product is less effective. In some cases, you may have mold growing in the product (this is quite common in skin-care products).

Baby oil manufacturers understand the oil is specifically formulated for our little one’s skin which is exceptionally sensitive and delicate. So they try by all means to use safe ingredients which are usually free from harmful chemicals such as parabens, dyes and phthalates.

But what ingredients can you expect to find in baby oil? Most brands will either contain mineral or vegetable oils. Does either have a bearing on the expiry date? Maybe. Mineral-based baby oil is formulated to last longer. This is because it contains paraffin which are generally odorless and less rancid. In other words, mineral oils are less likely to spoil. Mineral oils don’t need preservatives.

On the other hand, vegetable oils are derived from plants. Though much safer and healthier, substances found in vegetable oils encourage rancidity. As a result, preservatives, antioxidants, and other additives need to be added to prevent spoilage. In essence, the vegetable oils’ increased rancidity can, unfortunately, encourage fast expiry of the product in question.

What Ingredients Can Be Found in Baby Oils by Different Manufacturers?

Check out the table below. I’ve picked some baby oil products and listed their ingredients. I’ve also highlighted what isn’t included. Plus, I’ve researched the expected lifespan of some ingredients. In other words, how long they last once opened.

Product NameIngredientsWhat’s Not in the Baby OilExpiry Date of Some of the Ingredients
Bees Baby Nourishing BabyVegetable oils such as Kernel oil, grape seed oil, sunflower seed oil, natural fragrance, canola oilPetroleum, parabens, phthalatesCanola oil lasts between 6 and 1 months after opening
The Honest Company Organic Baby OilVegetable oils such as Sunflower seed oil, coconut oil, olive fruit oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, grapefruit peel oilMineral oil, parabens, dyes, synthetic fragrancesSunflower seed oil last for about a year after opening
Mustela Baby OilVegetable oils such as sunflower seed oil, avocado oil, Punica granatum seed oil, tocopherolParaben, phthalateAvocado oil expires after 4-6 months
Baby Magic Creamy Baby OilVegetable oils such as sunflower seed oil, aloe leaf juice, glycolDyes, sulfates,parabensGlycol expires after 2 years
Johnson’s Baby OilMineral oils, shea butter, cocoa seed butter, fragranceParabens, dyes, phthalatesMineral oil doesn't expire.

What Happens to Baby Oil When It Expires?

Usually, when baby oil expires, the product doesn’t suddenly produce a pungent smell or change into a horrible color. I guess that’s exactly why we’re having this discussion. And why most parents wonder if they really should discard the product since in some cases it may still look “normal”.

But while you may not visibly see the difference, using expired baby oil may have negative health repercussions for your baby. Not enough evidence proves what would happen to your baby’s skin if you applied expired baby oil to it. But I would imagine you can expect some skin irritation or allergic reaction in worse case scenarios.

So aside from considering the manufacturer’s best-by-date, let’s discuss signs to look out for indicating your baby oil has expired, whether it’s still okay to use, and what else you can use expired baby oil for.

How Do I Know If My Baby Oil Has Expired?

So how will you know if your baby oil has expired especially if there’s no expiry date in sight? You can’t afford to take your chances with your baby’s health.

If you’re concerned about the quality of your baby oil, then ask yourself if you notice any of the following:

  • A change in scent: As I said, things would be much easier if your baby oil started producing a horrible smell. No-one would have to tell you twice to discard it! But with baby oil the scent change leans to the other end of the spectrum. Instead of producing funny odors, that tantalizing distinct smell associated with most baby oils simply starts to fade. In some cases, it literally becomes non-existent. When this happens, it may be a sign your oil is losing its “power”. Unfortunately, this tip won’t work if your oil contains mineral oils as they’re odorless.
  • A change in color: The same applies to the oil’s color. It also starts to fade when it’s expired. Depending on the brand you buy, the oil can either have a clear or yellowish hue. If you notice the yellow color is now transparent, it’s a sign your oil is expired. This tip won’t work if your oil is already clear. You’ll need to look out for other signs.
  • A change in texture: Baby oil is exactly that, oil. It leaves a slippery feel on your hands and baby’s skin. The moment it turns sticky, it means something is amiss.
  • A change in thickness: Baby oil has a fairly dense consistency. If it becomes runny, chances are it’s expired. Check the consistency when you pour it on the palm of your hand. Is it intact or runny?

Can I Still Use Baby Oil That Has Gone Bad?

I personally wouldn’t advise you to use baby oil on your little one when it’s gone bad or after the expiration date. Every parent knows how sensitive a baby’s skin is.

If you’re not prone to skin irritations or allergies you could try using the baby oil as a general moisturizer on your body. Make sure to do a patch test on a small area of your skin to rule out negative reactions.

How Else Can I Use Expired Baby Oil?

You’ll be surprised as to the countless uses baby oil can serve you or for around the house. Use it for the following:

  • Lubricant: Remember those times you used regular oil for those stiff locks or squeaky hinges? Baby oil is an excellent, not to mention a posh alternative.
  • Massage oils: Baby oil can be the perfect and cheaper addition to your massage routine if you’re not keen on splurging on expensive massage oils.
  • Make-up remover: The missus will appreciate how effective baby oil is at removing make-up gently.
  • Shaving: It can be an excellent shaving cream, or in this case, oil. You can also use it after shaving or waxing to soothe your skin and leave it soft.
  • Shining: The mineral component makes it excellent for shining your wooden or leather furniture, shoes and bags. A few drops go a long way.
  • Soothe cracked heels: If you suffer from cracked heels, try applying baby oil to relieve itchiness and dryness.
  • Moisturize scalp: Suffering from dry and itchy scalp? Baby oil is the perfect moisturizer since it isn’t harsh.

What About Natural or Organic Products? Do They Expire?

Ask any parent and they’ll tell you organic foods and products are the way to go. They’re considered to be much safer and healthier than their non-organic counterparts. A good example is Burt Bees Baby Nourishing Baby Oil which is 100% natural. It’s free from parabens and phthalates and is clinically proven to be safer to use on your baby’s skin as it doesn’t contain skin irritants.

But while organic products are safer, they, unfortunately, tend to expire sooner. This is because they’re usually free of preservatives and parabens. The latter is designed to extend a product’s life. And products free of these additives can even expire after a few months.

How Can I Store Baby Oil to Make it Last Longer?

To store your baby oil, take into account the manufacturer’s storage guidelines. You’re likely to find them written on the pamphlet inside the packaging or on the bottle. But generally, you must store your oil in a dry place, at room temperature, and away from direct sunlight.

And of course, keep it out of reach of children. Aside from the risk of ingestion, you might find the contents spewed all over the floor!

My Baby Oil Recommendations

I’ll round off the article with a few recommendations of baby oil brands to pick and why I recommend them.

The Honest Company Organic Baby Oil

This product is made using plant-based ingredients so it’s safer for babies Plus, it’s designed for all skin types, whether dry, sensitive, or allergy-prone. I also like the spray bottle which makes it easy to apply.

Mustela Baby Oil

This oil also comes in a spray bottle for easy application. Over and above that, you’ll like that it’s also made of 99% plant-based ingredients and lightly fragranced to stimulate your baby’s senses. You can use it to massage your little one – see this how-to video below.

Baby Magic Creamy Baby Oil

You’ll like this baby oil that comprises a gentle and hypoallergenic formula which is perfect if your little one has sensitive skin. And it’s also paraben and phthalates free making it safe to use on babies.

Johnson’s Baby Oil

Of course, no baby oil list is complete without mentioning Johnson & Johnson. The hypoallergenic oil is perfect for babies with sensitive skin. The oil contains mineral oils and preservatives so it may last longer. And while it’s formulated for babies, people of all ages can use the product.

According to the brand, it’s formulated to expire after 3 years from the date of manufacture provided you store it at room temperature.

Final Thoughts

Does baby oil expire? Yes, it does. Like most cosmetic products, it’ll have a 3-year shelf life from the date of manufacture. But this timeframe will differ from one brand to the next and also based on what kind of oil is used. Mineral-based baby oil will last longer than that made of plant-based ingredients. Though the latter is safer.

Whichever oil you pick, most baby oils are considered safe as long as you use it before it expires. Reactions can occur whether you use baby oil with mineral or vegetable oils. It really depends on your baby’s skin. The moment you notice any negative reactions, stop using the product right away. If the side effects are severe such as swollen eyes or breathing difficulties, seek medical attention immediately.

Once you’ve used your favorite baby oil, other related items will come in handy, too, such as a diaper or baby wipes. Did you know they have expirations, too?

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