Do essential oils expire? A lot of people are not aware that essential oils expire, the truth is that they do. Essential oils are natural and can lose their scent or potency over time. How quickly this happens depends on where and how it is stored, quality of the oil, and other ingredients used in the oil.

What Shortens the Shelf Life of an Essential Oil?

Essential oils do not expire the same way as other types of products. A “shelf life” for essential oils is a much more complicated subject because many factors can lead to them losing their effectiveness before they reach an expiration date on a traditional product.

Essential oil shelf life is affected by many different factors. Two main reasons essential oils expire are light and heat, which can cause oxidation of the original compounds in the oil.

This includes exposure from the air and sunlight when out in direct contact with the bottle contents during use. Oxidation causes molecules, and other molecules present within the compound to react differently from what was originally intended by nature’s design, leading to degradation of the oil.

The natural preservatives in your oil will eventually lose their effectiveness due to heat exposure or by oxidizing with air from sunlight. 

do essential oils expire

Type of Oil

The quality of the product can affect its lifespan too, so make sure to buy from trusted brands that use ethically sourced ingredients; they should be pure rather than synthetic ingredients like fragrance oil. This may cost more, but it means a longer-lasting product.

Some of the ingredients, such as citrus oils, do not have a long shelf life because they are sensitive to light and heat. Others may be more stable in nature, but it is still recommended that you keep them stored away from direct sunlight or even potential for having their containers scratched up by sand or other particles found outside.

Essential Oil Packaging

The type of container that holds your oil can also affect its lifespan, so it is important to select one made from food-grade materials and glass rather than plastic or metal for the best protection from light and heat as well as slow evaporation over time.

If you are making the essential oil yourself, you want to consider these 2 essential oil packaging rules:

Dropper bottles are great if you only use small amounts at once but are not efficient for diffusing in an aromatherapy diffuser

Dark amber glass bottles with pumps for ease of use when applying directly on skin or hair. Thia type of container will keep out the light that will cause oxidation.

How can I tell if my essential oils are expired or oxidized?

An expired or oxidized essential oil will no longer contain the same scent, fragrance, and natural properties as when it was first made.

Some of the common signs of oxidation include an unpleasant odor, a yellow color to the liquid or oil itself, and changes in viscosity if it was initially clear.

Though carrier oils are sometimes necessary to dilute essential oils, so they do not irritate your skin. It is always recommended that you do not use these oils because they are no longer at their best quality and will do more harm than good for your skin or hair.

The healing properties such as anti-inflammatory become less effective over time and may cause skin irritation when applied.

What do I store the essential oils to extend the shelf life?

Here are some helpful tips for storing your favorite scents so you can enjoy them longer!

  • Store the oil container away from direct sunlight to prevent oxidation and exposure to heat by keeping it in a cool, dry area.
  • Do not store near a source of water such as a sink or bathtub
  • Do not use metal or plastic containers for storage. Look for products that use food-grade materials, like glass. 
  • Keep the container sealed tight when storing and when not in use.
  • Container should be dark amber glass bottles with pumps for easy application and avoid light/heat in contact with them.
  • Protect and store the containers with a UV-protected case for travel.
  • Purchase high-quality essential oils from trusted brands that use ethically sourced ingredients rather than synthetic ingredients like fragrance oil.
  • Some natural preservatives can be added to extend shelf life for a short time. Still, even these will only help temporarily if an essential oil has been exposed to heat or light long enough before adding them to do so.

So, do Essential Oils Expire?

In conclusion, do not worry about your essential oils expiring; there are many causes that can lead to them losing their effectiveness before they reach a shelf life!

The oil’s composition, container type, storage conditions like light or heat exposure can all play into how long it will last.