Baby oil is a versatile product that can be used for a variety of purposes ranging from treating gentle baby skin and massage to removing makeup!
I remember using it to massage my daughter’s tummy gently to help her relax and fall asleep when I was teaching her, as a 1-year-old baby to sleep in the crib.
Because you don’t need an extensive amount of oil to reap the benefits, they can stand pretty long on your bathroom shelf.
So, one day, I just started to wonder: Does baby oil expire?
Let’s find out more about the oil expiration date and baby oil contents that might affect its use!
- Is Baby Oil Safe? The Ingredients in Baby Oil Explained
- Does Baby Oil Come With An Expiration Date?
- How to Know if Baby Oil Has Expired?
- Can I Use Expired Baby Oil?
- How to Make Use of Baby Oil That Has Gone Bad?
- How Long Do Organic Brands Last?
- How to Extend The Shelf Life of Baby Oil?
- What Are Some Alternatives to Using Baby Oil?
Most products on the market contain similar ingredients – mineral oils and fragrance. The primary function of baby oil is to hydrate sensitive baby skin, and serve as a barrier on the skin against moisture loss. 
One of the benefits of standard baby oil is vitamin E, which serves as a gentle skin conditioner. When used on wet skin, baby oil with vitamin E locks moisture effectively.
Massaging a baby with baby oil has also been shown to improve the parent-child bond and helps the baby relax.
Certain large manufacturers of baby oil, for instance Johnson’s, have high claims for their products. Some of the features they promise include skin softening, promoting glow, relieving dry patches, and soothing irritated skin.
Even though baby oil is generally dermatologist-tested as safe to use, it can still cause mild allergic reactions.
In most cases, infant oil is free of phthalates, parabens and dyes. But, people with hypersensitivity to fragrances or mineral oils might experience short-term itchiness or mild discomfort after use.
Here’s a well-explained and demonstrated tutorial on how to massage a baby with baby oil:
Does baby oil go bad? In short, yes.
The expiry date is three years from the date of manufacture. However, that period is more of a recommended time in which you should use the products rather than the actual date of expiration.
The manufacture date or the expiry date should be clearly labeled on the bottom or side of the bottle, embossed on the lid, or printed on the ingredients list.
Three years is the average period, but it only applies to products that have been stored at room temperature. If you live in a hot climate, for example, the period might be significantly shorter.
Nevertheless, even if three years have passed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is bad and harmful.
To understand why and how baby oil products are attached to an expiration date, let’s first retrace our steps and discuss the other popular question: does mineral oil expire? – because they make the basic structure of baby oils.
Mineral oils are extracted from petroleum and come as liquid paraffin and petrolatum (vaseline) combo with a high content of hydrocarbons.  During the manufacturing process, hydrocarbons become oxidation-resistant, which results in longer shelf life.
After 3 years, the mineral oil content might not be stable anymore – which means that the content breaks and the specific ingredients may separate.
It is similar to other cosmetic products. For example, some people may wonder does aftershave expire or do baby wipes have an expiry date. If you wonder about similar things about products on your cosmetic shelves losing their effectiveness, you can check the period after opening (PAO). 
Aforementioned, three years is the estimated amount of time in which the product stays in good condition after it has been unsealed or opened. Some products can last for several years if they haven’t been opened previously, but have a PAO of only six to eight months.
Most parents are very careful when it comes to baby gear and expiration dates as most are aware that they can go bad. For example, if you have ever wondered if slow-flow baby bottles expire, the answer is no, but similar to that of baby oils, you need to replace them occasionally.
The rest only requires replacement after wear and tear.
If you don’t find the expiration/manufacture date on the container, you should check for a couple of things to find out if your baby oil has gone bad.
In general, mineral oils in cosmetics have an expiration period of one to three years,  but the exact expiration time of a baby oil depends on a list of other factors such as ingredients, storage conditions, etc.
To make it easier for my fellow parents, here are the signs that your baby oil has expired:
Baby oil is liquid and ensures a soft feeling on the skin. If the structure changes, and the consistency becomes thicker, it is safe to conclude that baby oil has expired.
The same applies to stickiness. Baby oil should be rich and moisturizing, but it shouldn’t be soggy. If the oil leaves a sticky feeling on your hands even after washing them, you might need to dispose of it or start using it another way.
For example, if you’ve had a bottle of J&J creamy baby oil with shea and cocoa butter for a long time, and it suddenly feels greasy and dissolves when in contact with skin, discontinue using it on baby’s skin.
In normal cases, we would use our human senses eg. smell, taste and eyesight to determine and judge if something has gone bad. It isn’t the exact case when it comes to baby oil.
Therefore, it might be slightly more challenging to identify whether mineral oil has gone bad based solely on our senses.
A lack of fragrance or change of smell might be the tell-tale sign that the baby oil has expired, but in most cases, fragrance won’t suffer obvious changes after the expiration date. It is especially true for synthetic fragrances that are commonly found in baby products with mineral oils.
Baby oil can be packed in translucent containers so you can check if the color has changed. Sometimes, the expired oil may appear to be slightly darkened due to ingredient breakage. If that happens, you should replace it.
If you aren’t sure whether the baby oil is still safe for use, you can test it on your skin.
Rub a tiny amount on the back of your hand and wait a couple of hours to see if any irritation occurs. If you experience itching, redness, or discomfort on the application spot, stop using the oil.
People who are or might be allergic to baby oil should be cautious when testing out any product for baby use. Always check the list of ingredients on the manual for any materials that might develop or cause a reaction to your body.
Ultimately, if you don’t have a clue about how long baby oil has been sitting on your shelf, toss it away. Otherwise, you can get a new bottle of baby oil for the baby’s skin, and keep the expired one for some other uses.
If the container has: changed its shape, became bulged or you notice sediment on the bottom of the bottle, it means that the ingredients broke down and the oil isn’t good anymore. But, for that to happen, it usually requires several years’ time.
Here’s how you can make your own baby oil at home and keep track of its freshness:
Can I Use Expired Baby Oil?
What happens if my baby oil expires? Can I continue using it? Is it proven to be safe to use? A general rule to always remember is that you should never use expired baby oil on your baby’s skin, just like how you should not give your baby expired gripe water to soothe tummy issues or colic.
Expired oil can be harmful to baby skin. To prevent that from happening, you should always check for the expiration date or signs that it has gone bad before you apply it on the baby.
Also, keep in mind that oil products can lose their good features. Applying an expired product doesn’t only expose your baby to potential harmful reactions but also won’t aid the diapers rash and redness – which are issues that a fresh baby oil is supposed to solve or alleviate.
Similar to other cosmetic products, if some of the ingredients in the oil have gone bad, there is a higher risk of bacteria and skin infections after application. 
But, in most cases among adults’ use of infant oil, using an expired product won’t cause any severe issues, because it all comes down to the individual skin type. This means that oils that have gone bad are totally safe to use, in the cases of adults!
People with sensitive skin types are at higher risk of experiencing discomfort after the use of expired cosmetic products, including baby oil.
If you are one of those people, you will find the following section useful, as I will cover some alternatives and non-harmful uses for expired infant oil!
If you just so happen to have a bottle of baby oil that has been sitting around for a long time, check the following section before you toss it away. Here are some alternatives and safe ways to use products that have gone bad:
Is mineral oil a good moisturizer? Yes, it is! In fact, it is one of the best products for hydrating normal to dry skin, so instead of a body lotion, you can use infant oil!
Some sources online even suggest that baby oil can be used on the face because it is non-comedogenic and won’t clog pores or cause acne.  But, to be safe, I only recommend it for the body.
If you have dry to normal skin, you may benefit from incorporating baby oil as one of your new bathing products. You don’t have to spend a fortune on premium bath oil – just put a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil in the old baby oil and enjoy your shower!
If you are up to remove ear wax, drop a tiny amount of oil into each ear and let it sit for five minutes. Then, simply tilt your head so the wax can get out!
As I’ve already mentioned, oils for babies work as a barrier to the skin. When you rub it during the cold season, it works as an insulation layer, and prevents you from getting too cold on a chilly day.
Any oil, including mineral oils and baby oils, breaks makeup effectively. So, if you are out of your oil face cleanser, use baby oil to remove makeup. After that, clean the face with your standard cleanser.
Infant oill is known to soothe skin. Therefore, you can also use it as a simple, inexpensive home remedy for discomfort after shaving.
If you couldn’t get an appointment at the pedicure, rubbing baby oil on cracked heels might help them look healthier. It will provide moisture, soften them and get you ready for sandals in no time.
Here is my favorite alternate use of baby oil. Because it plumps the skin up, using it can allow you to reduce the scars and stretch marks around your belly caused by pregnancy.
Do you have old wooden furniture that is desperate for a makeover? Drop a small amount of expired baby oil on a microfiber cloth and rub it on the old shelf or desk to make them shiny again.
There aren’t proven baby oil benefits on hair, but if you apply a tiny amount of it on your hair, it can make it look shinier and healthier.
Learn all about how baby oil can be used for various beauty tricks:
If none of the alternatives seem appealing to you, here is how to dispose of baby oil – simply toss it in the trash with your other waste. It is safe to do so because expired baby oil isn’t considered hazardous waste.
Natural brands of baby oil consist of jojoba oil, coconut oil, argan oil and other nurturing oils. They are free from petroleum, parabens, phthalates, artificial dyes and preservatives.
Their life span depends on the type of oil. For example, if you wonder if jojoba oil goes bad, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. If you store your baby oil in a cold and dark place, it can be good for up to five years!
But, does argan oil expire? Unfortunately, it may get rancid after two or three years, similar to standard baby oils. The life span of natural brands ultimately depends on the type of oils in the composition.
Editor’s note: Calendula oil is one of the most common natural baby oils. Found in the Earth Mama Calendula Baby Oil, it is a great product as a skin and scalp massage oil, plus it doesn’t have any fragrance or nut oils.
Organic brands, on the other hand, use essential oils from ingredients grown and raised without the use of chemicals.
People with sensitivity to synthetic fragrances might have a better experience with natural or organic products. Their durability is shorter than the standard baby oil on the market because they are not petroleum-based products.
Conveniently, natural and organic baby oil brands pack their products in smaller packages. That way, consumers like us will run out of baby oil before it goes bad.
Editor’s note: Our reviewed top pick of organic baby oil is Nature’s Baby Organics Oil with coconut and mandarin, in a 4-ounce bottle.
Here’s a table for a quick overview of the most important natural and organic baby oil features:
How to Extend The Shelf Life of Baby Oil?
There are a few things you can do to prolong the shelf life of your baby oil. Here are some of the best hacks related to storing baby oil. Treat them as a checklist for extending and maximizing the use of your purchased products!
- Never expose baby oil bottles to direct sun or heat
- Keep it in a cold and dark place
- Don’t open the bottle until you’re ready to use it
- Keep the lid on when you are done with baby oil
Keep the skin of your baby soft and moist with the following baby oil alternatives. They include moisturizing lotion and baby balm.
Moisturizing lotion is safe to be used for everyday post-bath care. They absorb quicker than oils but aren’t as good for massage as oils are. You can use lotion instead of baby oil, but only if it has been formulated with baby-safe ingredients.
The CeraVe moisturizing lotion for babies is my top pick because of its mild and nurturing texture and convenient pump packaging.
Baby balm is richer in texture and may have more nurturing ingredients than lotion. Often, baby balms are recommended by pediatricians to treat some skin conditions, such as eczema or diaper rash.
The Badger Baby Balm is highly effective in treating irritations on sensitive baby skin. It is also a USDA-certified organic product without gluten, so it is excellent for allergies-prone babies.
Baby oil is a safe and great product to use for baby massage, moisturizing the skin, and soothing irritation. If you don’t finish the bottle in two to three years, the prolonged use of an expired product may potentially cause harm towards baby’s gentle skin.
But hey, you don’t have to throw it away! There are plenty of ways you can use a bottle of expired baby oil – from polishing the furniture to after shave balm!
Do you use baby oil? Which one is your favorite? I hope you find the article useful! Let me know what you think in the comment section below!
Last update on 2021-09-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API