Does Shaving Cream Expire?

You have just opened your new batch of shaving cream. It looks and smells great, but you wonder if the shaving cream will go bad.

How long does this stuff last, and when do you know if your shaving cream has gone off? Is it okay to still use it if it has become funky?

In this guide, we will run you through how long shaving cream lasts. What ingredients are used to preserve the shelf life of the cream, and what tips help you extend that life? 

Want to know if shaving cream goes bad? Read on and find out. 

Does shaving cream have preservatives?

Does shaving cream have preservatives?

Yes, shaving creams do contain preservatives. These act to extend the life of the product and could be any of the following : 


Since its discovery in the 1950s, phenoxyethanol has grown in popularity as a preservative. Though naturally occurring, the phenoxyethanol used in cosmetics, such as shaving cream, is synthetic.

DMDM Hydantoin

DMDM Hydantoin is a compound that provides small amounts of formaldehyde to your shaving cream. Formaldehydes act as a preservative to extend the life of your shaving cream. 

Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate

A compound that is safe in small doses. As a preservative, iodopropynyl butylcarbamate keeps mold at bay and helps maintain the white color of shaving foam. 

Sodium Benzoate

When used in cosmetics and grooming products, sodium benzoate slows down the product’s deterioration. It also provides a fragrance to your shaving cream. 

Another benefit of this chemical is that it is a preservative, stopping fungi and bacteria from growing. 

Methylisothiazolinone (MI)

MI is a colorless liquid that dissolves in water. Like other preservatives, MI works to prevent the growth of bacteria in your shaving foam.

Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI)

You can think of MCI as MI’s cousin (or close brother). MCI (and MI) are used in hair care products, shaving creams, and cosmetics to stop them from going bad. 

MCI has properties that are antibacterial and antifungal.

Why does shaving cream need preservatives?

The main purpose of preservatives in your shaving cream is to stop bacteria and mold from growing in shaving cream. Also, they maintain the fresh, white color of the cream. 

Yet, the preservatives don’t last forever. Each one has a distinct shelf life. Once the effectiveness of the preservative is reduced, then you will find that your shaving foam is in trouble.

Does shaving cream go bad?

Yes, shaving cream can go off. Typically an unopened can of shaving cream can happily sit on your shelf for 2 to 3 years. 

However, once you open it, start counting down the days. The cream will start to go bad after six months from opening it. 

If you use the pump variety of shaving foam, it can take anywhere between 3 to 6 months before it begins to turn funky. 

Products made from natural ingredients are prone to go bad quicker than creams containing synthetic elements. This is because natural ingredients don’t contain preservatives. 

Any skincare or cosmetic product that is purely natural or organic (that is, it doesn’t contain synthetic preservatives) only has a shelf life of 3 months. 

What are shaving cream alternatives?

In your bathroom, you have at least a couple of alternatives to shaving cream. These are soap and your hair conditioner. 

There is a range of other options you can consider as substitutes for shaving cream. 

Baby oil

With this, you get a moisturizer.  It creates a layer that stops water from escaping your skin. This layer also aids in giving you lubrication for a smooth shave.

Hair Conditioner 

You use this on your head to keep your hair soft and beautiful. Take advantage of this property when shaving. 

Using hair conditioner instead of shaving cream will cause your facial hair to soften. That makes your shave easier as the blade glides through the follicles. 


Lotions are created to moisturize your skin. Yeah, that’s the same as baby oil. 

The lotion can provide lubrication as you shave, which reduces irritation. An option worth considering if you have sensitive skin.


What bathroom doesn’t have soap? You can use it as an alternative to shaving cream. It creates a layer on your skin that your razor can slide over. 

The main issue with using soap is that it can dry out your skin. 

Shave Butter as a Shave Cream Alternative

Shave butter is thicker and less foamy than traditional shaving cream. It helps moisturize your skin and hair follicles as you shave. Shave butter is a preferred shave cream alternative when you have it on hand.

With more natural ingredients, often shave butter can have a shorter shelf life. Do you want to know our favorite shave butter recipes you can make at home? Our detailed article about shave butter will help you decide if it’s right for you.

Shaving Gel as a Shaving Cream Alternative

You can use shaving gel as a shaving cream alternative. Many men like the gel as opposed to the shaving foam. It’s also another easy-to-make-at-home option for a shaving cream alternative if you so choose.

Why Use Shaving Creams That Contain Natural Ingredients?

Why use shaving creams that contain natural ingredients?

Shaving creams made from natural ingredients are better for your skin. Sure, they might not have the shelf life of a cream that contains chemical preservatives. 

Products that consist of natural materials contain vitamins such as A, D, E, and K. On top of that, you are getting antioxidants that keep your skin healthy and young.

The shaving advantage of naturally derived shaving creams is the deep of lubrication they offer. 

Creams that are chemically created provide a barrier of lubrication on top of the skin. Natural creams provide this and more. That is, they penetrate below the skin’s surface. That makes your shave much more smooth. 

If you want shaving creams comprised of only natural ingredients, then we recommend you try any of the following products: 

Dr. Bronner’s Organic Shaving Soap

Manufactured by a US company that is certified as cruelty-free and vegan. A soap that hydrates and soothes as you shave. 

Pacific Shaving Company Natural Shave Cream

If you are after a product that is great for your skin and also not tested on animals, then grab yourself a tube of this shave cream. It contains aloe, shea butter, and a hint of orange fragrance. 

Burt’s Bees Natural Shave Cream

 If you loathe lather, then this shave cream is worth a try. It is non-lather yet still provides a smooth and comfortable shave thanks to calendula, chamomile, and linden. 

Want to give shaving cream a complete miss? Swap it out with these natural alternatives:

Aloe Gel: Aloe Vera is well-known for its soothing and moisturizing properties. If you have sensitive skin, this is a worthy contender to replace your shaving cream. 

Coconut Oil: Are constantly getting razor burn from shaving, then give coconut oil a try.  It provides great lubrication and is anti-microbial as well as anti-inflammatory. 

Olive Oil: This contains plenty of vitamins (A, D, E, and K) as well as antioxidants to keep your face feeling fresh. The lubricating property of olive oil will ensure you have an amazing shave. 

Does Shaving Cream Have An Expiration Date?

The answer to that is yes and no. Some companies do put an expiration date on their shaving cream. Others, such as Aveeno Positively Smooth Moisturizing Shave Gel, don’t have a date stamped on the product. 

For those shaving creams that do have an expiration date, it will be listed as one of the following descriptions:

6M, 12M, etc.: The M stands for months. The number is how many months the shaving cream will last once opened. 

EXP or E: The date that follows these letters is the expiration date. 

BB or BBE: These mean the Best Before date. 

MFE, MFG, M: If your shaving cream has any of these letters, it refers to the manufacturing date.

You may also find that the shaving cream has a “Before Opening the Product” or “After Opening the Product” date stamp. 

The “before opening the product date” indicates how long your cream can stay fresh. After this date has expired, you will find that your shaving cream starts to go downhill in quality.

The “after opening date” tells you when to use the cream before it turns bad. (Write the date you opened the can to keep track of this time frame). 

How Much Shaving Cream Should You Use?

How much shaving cream should you use?

When shaving, you should only use an almond-sized amount of shaving cream. That is the equivalent of about 3 grams of cream. 

Once you open your shaving foam, the countdown has started. You may feel an urgency to use the product quickly before the dreaded expiry date. 

Avoid the tendency to squirt (or scoop) out more cream than necessary. It’s not going to give you any greater shaving advantage. Going overboard with the amount of cream you use can have you using up your product sooner than necessary.

Can I Use Too Much Shaving Cream?

Applying more shaving cream than needed can push your facial hair flat against the skin. That can make shaving a bigger hassle as your razor has to push through the excess amount of hair. 

Additionally, too much cream on your face can result in your blocking up your razor. 

There is also the cost to think about. How much do you spend on shaving cream because you go through it so quickly? Consider using less every time you shave. 

How do I know if my shaving cream has gone bad? 

A sign that your shaving cream has gone off is a change in the product’s color. Other indicators are the fragrance has gone and the cream clots.

Preservatives are the main ingredient that keeps your shaving foam fresh. However, preservatives also have a shelf life. For example, phenoxyethanol lasts for 18 months before it loses its potency. 

Once the preservative starts to go off, your shaving cream also begins to turn. The white color of the cream fades, can turn yellowish, or has a brown tinge. 

Bacteria, fungus, and mold spread through your cream. This can lead to the cream smelling off.

Because shaving cream is an emulsion, it consists of two liquids. One of the liquids is dispersed in the other liquid. In the case of shaving products, these two liquids are water and oil (in some cases, the oil is swapped out for wax). This is what gives the product a smooth, creamy feel. 

Exposure to air, bacteria, or light (artificial or sunlight) can affect the emulsive properties of your shaving cream. The result is your shaving cream feels clumpy. Another hint is that it has gone bad.

Can I Still Use Shaving Cream After It Has Gone Bad?

Can I still use shaving cream after it has gone bad?

Yes, it is possible to continue using your shaving cream after you notice it has gone off. 

The only issue is that it won’t lubricate or moisten your skin to the same degree. There are drawbacks to using expired shaving cream.

Increased razor burn

Shaving cream provides a barrier between your skin and the razor. This allows you to have a comfortable and smooth shave. Cream that has gone bad loses its ability to provide this lubrication. That can lead to you suffering from razor burn.


Here is a fact…

Your face is home to hundreds of different types of bacteria. That’s nothing to be scared about. It’s just a part of life. 

Yet, you don’t want to add to the number of bacteria that call your face home. You are doing that by using a shaving cream that has turned bad.

Remember, one of the tasks of preservatives in shaving cream is to stop the growth of bacteria and fungi. Now that your cream has passed its expiration date, these nasties have a party as they can multiply within the product.

Applying old shaving cream to your face only transfers the bacteria from the can to your skin.

Skin irritation

According to the National Centre of Biotechnology Information, 50-60% of men have sensitive skin

Expired shaving cream no longer provides you with the same level of protection as it once did. So, if you have sensitive skin and want to use old cream, beware of the consequences. Mainly your skin can become irritated, and you risk developing a rash

We mentioned in the previous section about bacteria growing in cream that has gone off. Your skin will react (not in a good way) to these microorganisms.

How Can I Extend The Life of my Shaving Cream? 

You can prolong the shelf life of your cream by having it stored in a dark location. Keep it in an environment that is dry, and don’t use your hands to scoop out the cream. 

Once you open your shaving cream, mark off the days before it turns bad. But you can help extend the shelf life of your cream by taking some simple steps.

Hide it away from light.

Just like vampires, shaving cream doesn’t like light. That’s due to the emulsive property of the cream. Sunlight or artificial light affects this aspect of the product. This means that unless you store your cream somewhere dark, it can start to turn clumpy.

Keep the cream dry.

Bacteria, mold, and fungi love moist environments. It’s like heaven to them and they grow and thrive. That’s not so great for your shaving cream or you. You can slow down the process by storing your cream in a dry location.

Don’t use your hands.

Again we are talking about bacteria. Pfizer claims that our hands contain 3,200 germs. Using your hands to scoop out your shaving cream, these can be transferred into the product. With that, you are reducing the life of the cream.

That’s because you are adding to the bacteria population within it. To prevent that from happening, use a spatula or something similar to extract the cream.

Make it airtight.

Air can be an enemy of your shaving cream. If you don’t keep the lid of your can screwed tight, the air can dry out the cream. Why? Once more, it’s because of the bacteria and mold which react to the air. 

Shaving cream won’t last forever.

Taking the above practical steps can enhance the shelf life of your shaving cream. But that doesn’t mean that the cream will last indefinitely. There will be a time when the cream turns bad, and you need to contemplate whether to use it or not. 

Does Shaving Cream Go Bad? A Wrap-Up.

Shaving cream, like any other consumable product, has a shelf life. Once you open the can, you have around six months of use before the cream turns bad. 

If you are the daring type who enjoys using products after they have expired, then go for it with your shaving cream. You will find that it doesn’t feel as smooth, nor will you get the same level of lubrication and moisturizing from it once it starts to go off. 

It is possible to extend the life of the cream by keeping it away from light, moisture, and your hands.

Can you use the cream once it has gone bad? Yes. The next question is: Why would you want to?

If you have sensitive skin, you will feel and see the results of using bad shaving cream.