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How Long Does Deodorant Last?

February 25, 2022 3 min read

unscented deodorant under arms

We know your post-shower routine is likely the same: towel off, get dressed and swipe a stick of deodorant under your armpits before you forget. Indeed, deodorant is so deeply embedded into our culture that even the lucky two percent of people who carry a gene for stink-free pits say they still use it.

Because we wear deodorant every day, we tend to finish it long before we need to worry about expiration dates. But maybe your favorite company is having a sale and you want to save money by stocking up on vegan aluminum-free deodorant. In that case, you may be wondering: how long does deodorant last? Read on to find out more.

Shop Vegan Aluminum-Free Deodorant

Why Doesn’t My Deodorant Have an Expiration Date?

Some deodorants have expiration dates, while others do not. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t require deodorant manufacturers to label a product with an expiration date, so many choose not to include one. (Note: This does not apply to antiperspirants and antiperspirant-deodorant hybrids, which are considered drugs under U.S. law and therefore are required to have an expiration date.) If your deodorant has an expiration date, it will likely be located on or near the bottom of the tube.

comparing two deodorants store aisle

Source: Sergey Ryzhov/Shutterstock.com

Does Deodorant Expire?

Using expired deodorant won’t necessarily cause you any harm, but it can still “expire” in the sense that it stops working or acting the way it should. The primary benefit of deodorant is to mask unpleasant body odor by reducing odor-causing bacteria on the skin. When the ingredients in your deodorant break down or expire, they can lose their potency over time and become less effective at fighting stink. For this reason, many deodorant manufacturers recommend using their products within a certain length of time.

So, How Long Does Deodorant Last?

The short answer is that it all depends on the formula. Traditional deodorants typically last around the three-year mark because they contain parabens, a group of synthetic ingredients that are used primarily as preservatives. Parabens are effective at extending the shelf life of deodorant, but many people prefer to avoid these potentially dangerous ingredients because they are readily absorbed into the skin and may have some unsettling effects on the body.

In contrast, natural deodorants — like our odor-fighting, zero waste deodorant — avoid harmful ingredients in favor of naturally derived ingredients that are good for your skin and offer long-lasting protection. These all-natural stink-fighters typically contain nourishing oils and butters (think coconut oil and shea butter) to help keep your pits hydrated and irritation-free. However, because the ingredients are natural, they break down faster than synthetic ingredients. As a result, natural deodorants tend to have shorter shelf lives than their preservative-laced counterparts.

the earthling co unscented deodorant

How to Tell If Your Deodorant Has Gone Bad

Again, there is little harm in using an old stick of deodorant. Most deodorants are anti-bacterial, which means they contain ingredients that prevent the growth of bacteria. 

That said, you may want to play it safe and toss your old deodorant in the trash. Expired ingredients in cosmetic products can cause adverse reactions, and deodorant is no exception.

So, how can you tell if your deodorant has reached the end of its shelf life? Here are a few things to look for:

  • Changes in smell. The easiest way to tell if your deodorant is expired is to give it a quick sniff. Does it smell unpleasant or different than when you first brought it home? If the answer is yes, it’s probably time to toss it. 
  • Changes in texture. Another obvious sign that your deodorant has gone bad is a change in texture. Over time, the hydrating ingredients in deodorant will evaporate, causing it to dry out and crumble. 
  • Changes in efficiency. This one can be tricky because it can be hard to detect your own body odor. If you suspect that your deodorant is no longer winning the war against body odor, it may be time for a new stick.

The Bottom Line

Like bar soap, deodorant doesn’t really have a hard-and-fast expiration date. Most deodorants will work long after their purchase date. Still, you may want to play it safe and toss your old deodorant — especially if you’ve noticed any changes in its appearance or smell.

On the hunt for a new deodorant? The Earthling Co. has you covered! Our new unscented deodorant is free from potentially harmful ingredients, including aluminum salts, parabens and artificial fragrances. The cherry on top is that it’s plastic-free! Our aluminum-free deodorant comes in a paper tube that can be composted at the end of its life so you can stay fresh all day without adding to the growing pile of plastic in the world. 

What are you waiting for? Try our plastic-free deodorant today!

Try Our Plastic-Free Deodorant

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