We already know that “nothing lasts forever”, and of course, shaving cream is no exception! But do you know how long your shaving cream will actually last before it goes bad? If you store the shaving cream in a dry place like a bathroom cabinet and at the right room temperature, will it last longer?
I have heard many theories about shaving creams never going bad, and I have seen some shaving creams without a printed expiry date. Why don’t they have an expiry date? Does that mean those shaving creams won’t go bad?
Shaving creams can actually go bad, especially if they are past their expiry date. In most cases, the signs of spoilage are not noticeable, but in some cases, there might be visible changes to the shaving cream, such as a bad smell or a change in texture to the point where it becomes unusable.
I guess an expired shaving cream is not a threatening topic that most men would spend much time pondering. Maybe they should! What if your shaving cream expires? What happens if you use a shaving cream that is beyond the expiry date? Read on to find out the answers.
What Is Shaving Cream Used For?
I won’t be giving you a basic classroom definition of what a shaving cream is. That’s because I believe you already know what a shaving cream is. The question I want to answer for you is “why do you always apply shaving cream and lather up all the areas you plan to shave every time before you start shaving?”
Just like the old me, you might have followed this routine for years without even knowing what the shaving cream actually does for your body. Your beard hair and your skin holds the answer.
Your facial skin is soft and tender, while your facial hair, on the other hand, is hard and tough. Your beard hair could also be sharp and wiry, which makes it difficult to cut. There are tens of thousands of hairs you may need to cut each time you shave – up to 30,000 facial hairs! Your shaving cream comes in handy when shaving off the many wire-like hairs. Let me explain…
Your shaving cream performs several functions before, during, and after you shave. Some of those functions are:
- It Hydrates: Your shaving cream provides moisture before and during the process of shaving your beard hairs. It helps make your hair softer and less strenuous to cut. Hence, you will require less force to cut your beard hair, and in turn, have a comfortable shaving experience.
- It Lubricates: Your shaving cream protects your skin by creating a thin layer between the blade and your skin, making sure there is little friction, and reducing the risk of irritation, rash, or redness, as-well-as minimizing cuts and nicks to the barest minimum.
- It Helps You Track Progress: Your shaving cream creates a lot of lather on your face, and when you instinctively remove the lather, all you are left with is a clean shave. But more than that, each time you move your blade, you know precisely where to continue from, and you don’t miss any spots. The shaving cream helps you keep track of where you have shaved, and allows you to continue shaving in an organized fashion.
- Refreshing Feel: After shaving with your shaving cream, your skin usually feels relaxed and refreshed. Usually, shaving creams are formulated to make your shaving experience as comfortable as it can be. They also often have appealing cologne-like scents, leaving you smelling fresh and clean. Check my post here to learn how often you should shave.
Using An Expired Shaving Cream
Honestly, a lot of people use shaving creams that are past their expiry dates. This is firsthand knowledge from my years of interactions with many people who use shaving creams; and as someone who started growing a beard as soon as I could grow one, I SHOULD KNOW.
Using shaving cream after it is past its expiry date should not cause a national issue. It won’t bring you harm, and you can probably use it for a long period without noticing anything odd about it. However, after a while, you may notice it no longer performs the way it used to. Maybe it doesn’t lather properly, or your skin becomes irritated, breaking out in acne or a rash. For these reasons alone, I will suggest you don’t use expired products.
If you are looking for a recommendation for shaving creams, Cremo Barber Grade Original Shave Cream is one to try out. It is pocket-sized and one of the best on the market. Another option is The Art of Shaving Shaving Cream.
Shaving creams usually last about 2 to 3 years before they expire if they are unopened. On the other hand, after it is opened, the product traditionally expires after 6 months.
Why Does A Shaving Cream Go Bad?
There are many reasons why your shaving cream goes bad, but they can all mostly be categorized into two main groups. Let’s focus on these two major reasons why your shaving cream could go bad.
Do you know that your shaving cream could be far from the expiry date yet still go bad? Why is that? It is due to poor handling. Poor handling of your product is one of the major reasons your shaving cream could go bad even before the expiry date elapses. If your product is meant to be stored at a particular temperature and you store it way above or below that temperature, it won’t be as effective and may, in fact, go bad.
Another reason your shaving cream might go bad is leaving it in wet places. Most product labels will advise to keep the product in a dry place, but if your cream is always wet, it could make it go bad and become ineffective.
Also, once you open a shaving cream container, the possibility of contamination increases. The cream becomes exposed to the outer air and interacts with germs and bacteria as well as coming in contact with your hands, which may not be clean. The human body plays host to billions of bacteria and germs that could transfer into the cream, causing it to deteriorate over time.
Therefore, always replace the cover of your product after use, avoid digging your hands too deeply into the container, and, if possible, use a spatula to avoid the transfer of dirt and germs which could contaminate your shaving cream.
To know more about how your product could go bad due to expiration, we need to first understand what the expiry date means.
What Is The Expiry Date?
A product’s expiry date tells you how long you have to open the product and use it. The expiry date can also come with the text: “Before Opening the Product” or “After Opening the Product”. It may also be listed as a “Best Before Date”. For example, some products could last 3 years if they are not opened before they expire, but that same product might only last 3 weeks after it is opened.
Your shaving cream could go bad due to you misunderstanding these expiry dates. Like I mentioned above, some shaving creams don’t come with a date of expiry, but they tell you how long you can use the product after opening it. Don’t mix up these dates, thinking you could use the product for 3 years after opening it!
Some of the symbols for manufacturing dates and expiration dates are explained below to help you identify them the next time you come across them.
- 6M, 12M, 24M – The symbols mean that the product can be used for either six months, twelve months, or twenty-four months respectively, after opening the product.
- BBE, BB – These symbols suggest that the product would be most effective or best before the specific date written.
- MFE, MFG, and M – These symbols represent the manufacturing date of the product.
- Exp. and E – These symbols represent the date of expiry of a product.
I know it’s not easy to keep tabs and remember all the expiry dates of your products. Thus, I suggest that you write the date of the expiration on your product cover. That way, you can easily see it every time you use it.
What Are the Signs That My Shaving Cream Has Gone Bad?
As I mentioned earlier, nothing lasts forever, and the same goes with your shaving cream. Despite being made with strong chemicals and being produced to last a long time, shaving cream can go bad. You can detect this and discontinue usage before it causes havoc with your face and facial hair.
But how do you know if your shaving cream has gone bad even before the expiration date. Let’s look at some of the signs that will help you determine if your shaving cream has gone bad:
- One of the earliest signs you might get when your shaving cream expires is a change in color. It may become darker than the original color, like a change from white to light brown or yellow.
- Another sign that your shaving cream is going bad is a reduction in its fragrance strength. Once you notice that the initial strong fragrance is beginning to fade, your shaving cream has probably expired and will continue to decline in quality.
- Low foam production in your shaving cream could also mean that it is already going bad. Shaving creams are usually made to produce a lot of lather, which helps prevent the skin from easily getting razor cuts. Expiration can lead to low lather production, and low lather is a good sign that your cream is already going bad.
Now you know that shaving cream CAN actually go bad, and there are two major reasons for that. It might be due to the expiration date, the usage period, or the way you handle or store your shaving cream. Mostly, you should know that your shaving cream will expire about 6 months after opening it, and may keep up to 2 or 3 years before expiring if it is unopened and properly stored.
You can detect that your cream is going bad when its fragrance starts fading, when it changes color, or when the lather produced becomes weak.
I would advise you not to use an expired shaving cream, and also to discontinue use once you suspect it has or is going bad. That way, you can avoid allergies, irritation, infection, and breakouts. Shaving creams are a basic product in any man’s grooming routine. Use only quality products that are properly handled, stored, and not expired.