Does Body Wash Expire?

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Now chances are if you were to empty out your bathroom cabinets, you’d find some products in there, pushed to the back, that you’d forgotten about and have been in there for a while. If you happen to have come across an ancient bottle of shower gel, can you still use it?

You don’t want to be throwing away a bottle that is still perfectly good. On the other hand, you also don’t want to be using a product that might have gone rancid.

In this article, we are going to answer the question – “does body wash expire?”, and if so, is it safe to use after the expiry date? – as well our picks for the best shower gels.


Does Body Wash Expire?

Seaweed Co Shower Gel

All body washes, also called shower gels, do expire at some point. The exact point of expiration depends on whether the wash is a commercial body wash or a homemade body wash, and what’s inside.

How Long Does Shower Gel Last Unopened?

Most manufactured brands of shower gel can last up to two to three years as long as it is unopened.

Homemade or natural shower gels, on the other hand, will expire much sooner, after as little as one year. This is due to the lack of preservatives and the added fragrances and essential oils that can get rancid or moldy much more quickly.

In the US, most body products are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which requires things like pre-packaged foods, drugs, cosmetics, and yes, your shower gel, to have an expiration date or POA printed or stamped somewhere on the packaging.

You may (or may not) find two date stamps on your shower gel. One is an expiration date (EXP) and a Period After Opening date (POA).

Whether you find one or both or none will depend on the product’s shelf life and the regulations of the country in which you purchased the product.

How To Tell When Your Shower Gel Has Expired

Different products may have different expiry dates because of the different ingredients.

As we mentioned, your product may have an expiration date and/or a POA date stamped on the product. If you want to know if that bottle of shower gel you found while you were spring cleaning in the back of your bathroom cabinet you didn’t even know you had has expired, the first thing you should do is to look for those stamps.


A product’s expiration date refers to the shelf life of a product, which is the amount of time it takes a product to essentially stop working as it’s been advertised.


The ‘period after opening’, or PAO, refers to the amount of time a product will remain stable and safe for use after it has been opened. You will usually find a PAO on products with a shelf life of fewer than 30 months.

The POA may be labelled “POA” followed by a number, or it may be a tiny image of an opened jar with a number on it. The numbers 6, 12, 24, or 36 refer to the number of months you can use a product after you’ve opened it.

If there is no expiration date or period after opening, most body washes and shower gels will last up to two years and about 12 months after being opened.

However that having been said, don’t forget – if it’s a bottle of “all-natural, handmade” shower gel you bought at the craft market that someone made in their basement, you are probably looking at more like a year max on the expiry date, and 3 months after opening.

Can You Use a Body Wash After Its Expiration Date?

As long as it hasn’t gone rancid, grown mold, or no longer lathers properly, you should still be able to use shower gel after its expiration date. If it smells off, or looks like it has separated, just toss it.

If the gel you’ve got is past its expiration date, or just smells funkier than it should, here’s a list of some of our favorite shower gels so you can pick a replacement.

Which Is the Best Shower Gel?

With so many products on the market, it’s hard to narrow it down. Different people like different things and different skin types require different considerations, not to mention some might want a scented shower gel and others may not.

So we’ve compiled a list of the best shower gels according to user ratings and recommendations, in different categories.

Best Shower Gel For Dry Skin: CeraVe Body Wash for Dry Skin 

CeraVe Body Wash for Dry Skin | Moisturizing Body Wash with Hyaluronic Acid and Ceramides | Paraben, Sulfate & Fragrance Free | 10 Ounce
  • [ CLEANSE & REFRESH ] Formula forms a...
  • [ HYDRATING BODY WASH ] Formulated with...
  • [ SKIN CARE FOR DRY SKIN ] Massage...
  • [ 3 ESSENTIAL CERAMIDES ] Ceramides are...

Formulated with three essential ceramides and free of parabens and sulfates, CeraVe Body wash for dry skin cleanses and moisturizes while helping to restore and maintain the skin’s natural protective barrier.

Best Shower Gel for Sensitive Skin: Eucerin Skin Calming Body Wash 

Eucerin Skin Calming Body Wash - Cleanses and Calms to Help Prevent Dry, Itchy Skin - 16.9 fl. oz. Bottle
  • Eucerin Skin Calming Body Wash offers a...
  • Omega Oils and other Natural Lipids...
  • Mild lather rinses clean without leaving...
  • Fragrance, Soap and Dye-free
  • Dermatologist recommended brand

Eucerin Skin Calming Body Wash body uses nourishing plant oils like soybean and castor seed rather than soap, which can dehydrate and irritate the skin, this formula is also free of fragrance and cleanses well, without leaving skin feeling dry, tight, and itchy.

Best Unscented Shower Gel: The Seaweed Bath Co. Body Wash, Unscented 

Seaweed Bath Co. Hydrate Body Wash, Unscented, 12 Ounce, Sustainably Harvested Seaweed, Blue Green Algae, Kukui and Coconut Oils
  • Contains: 1- 12 Ounce Bottle of Seaweed...
  • Consciously created, we use a bounty of...
  • Let a wave of nourishing hydration wash...
  • All Seaweed Bath Co. products are made...
  • We embrace the nourishing magic of the...

Chock full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to hydrate and replenish skin, this shower gel is a ‘must have’ for anyone who wants all the benefits of a nourishing shower gel without the fragrance.

Best Shower Gel For Eczema: CLn BodyWash 

CLn® BodyWash - Moisturizing Body Wash, For Skin Prone to Eczema, Dermatitis, Acne, Infection, and Folliculitis (3 Fl Oz (Pack of 1))
  • STRONG YET GENTLE: This innovative...
  • $3 OFF PER BOTTLE: Take an additional $3...
  • HOW TO USE: Wet the affected area and,...
  • CLn Skin Care is the manufacturer of CLn...

CLn BodyWash is dermatologist-tested and proven to reduce the appearance of skin redness, drying, and flakiness seen with eczema to promote healthy skin.

Best-Smelling Shower Gel:

This category deserves a few mentions. When it comes to fragrances, it’s Just like food – people have different tastes! We’ve included the best shower gels with citrus floral, fruity and spicy fragrances.

Citrus Floral: Oribe Cote d'Azur Replenishing Body Wash 

Oribe Cote d'Azur Replenishing Body Wash, 8.4 Fl Oz - Discontinued
  • Gently cleanses skin
  • Replenishes lost moisture
  • Leaves skin silky and soft
  • Envelops skin in our signature Côte...
  • Color- and keratin-treatment safe....

This luxurious body wash, which is packed with antioxidant-rich soybean oil and hydrating shea butter, works up into a lush lather to deeply clean and soften skin while lavishing you in a citrus-floral fragrance with notes of Calabrian bergamot, white butterfly jasmine, and sandalwood.

Fruity: Aveeno Positively Nourishing Antioxidant Infused Body Wash with White Peach & Ginger 

Aveeno Positively Nourishing Antioxidant Infused Body Wash with White Peach & Ginger, Lightly Scented Daily Nourishing Body Wash, 16 fl. oz
  • 16-fluid ounce bottle of Aveeno...
  • The unique formula of this daily body...
  • Lightly scented, it features a...
  • This creamy antioxidant-infused body...
  • From the dermatologist-recommended...

Gentle enough for daily use, This shower gel is infused with antioxidants and nourishes skin while uplifting your senses and leaves you smelling like peaches for hours.

Spice: Outlaw Calamity Jane Spicy Natural Body Wash 

Natural Body Wash - Clove, Orange, Cinnamon, & Whiskey - Outlaw Calamity Jane - Spicy & Sweet, Like a Legend - 8 Fluid Ounces
  • ENVELOP YOUR SENSES in the warm,...
  • NOT MUCH FOR A BATH, we can't imagine...
  • CRUELTY-FREE (except for all those...

This intoxicating cleanser with scents of vanilla beans, cinnamon, clove, orange, spicy ginger, and whiskey will awaken your senses. It lathers up richly to add a tinge of spiciness and sassiness to your day.

If you are not so keen on fruity and floral fragrances, Outlaw Calamity Jane Spicy Natural Body wash is the perfect alternative.

Take Away

Does shower gel expire? Yes it does.

Check the labels for an expiry or ‘period after opening’ (POA) stamp.

If there are no stamps on your product, body washes and shower gels will last up to two years and about 12 months after being opened. All-natural shower gels will expire sooner.

As long as it hasn’t gone rancid, grown mold, or no longer lathers properly, you should still be able to use shower gel after its expiration date. But with the list of best shower gels we’ve provided above, maybe that’s a good excuse to treat yourself to a new bottle!

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Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).