Expiration dates are one of those things that every conscious consumer pays attention to. While some things are obviously more dangerous or unpleasant when expired than others (spoiled milk or rotten meat, anyone?), expired skincare, especially when it contains oils that can go rancid, is definitely not something you will want to put on your face. So what’s the case with Shea butter? Can it go bad, and what happens if you have a container that’s past the printed expiration date?

One of the great things about raw African Shea butter is that the essential fatty acids it contains are very stable. This is great for the skin and also for the product’s shelf life. If the Shea butter is raw and unrefined, these stable essential fatty acids are kept intact and create a longer shelf life for the product. Shea butter also contains many naturally occurring antioxidants that act as natural preservatives for the Shea butter—namely vitamins C, E and A. Once again, as long as the Shea butter is minimally processed and unrefined, these vitamins will stay in tact and help to protect the Shea butter from oxidation.

Another thing to be aware of with Shea butter is to keep stagnant water out of your Shea butter container. While your Shea butter won’t start to grow mold or anything, the presence of water within the container will hasten the onset of spoilage and thus storing it in a dry place with the lid on is recommended. Additionally, though not as important as the water aspect, is to keep your Shea butter out of high heat and direct sunlight. The 24Karite Gold packaging is already UV protective, but if you decide to transfer your Shea to a different container such as a clear glass jar, make sure to keep it out of direct light as that will oxidize the Shea butter.

If you do find yourself with a jar that is either approaching its expiration or has hit it, ask yourself if you have done all of the above things. If you have, then you can most likely safely continue to use your Shea butter past the expiration date. Because our Shea butter is in tact and stable, as long as you keep stagnant water out, you Shea butter should be fine. While the expiration date is mandatory for us to print on our packaging, it does not mean that the Shea butter will be bad for that time. When properly taken care of, your Shea butter can last years past the printed expiration date.