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Does Wax Expire or Go Bad? | Natural vs. Synthetic

Whether you are storing candles or hair removal wax, it’s good to know the expiration date. A friend recently asked me if wax expires, and I didn’t have a good answer for her. So, I checked into the subject, and this is what I learned.

Waxes made from perishable ingredients will expire. Tallow and other plant or animal fat-based waxes usually have a shelf life of 12 to 18 months when stored properly. The exception is beeswax, which is known not to expire. Human-made petroleum waxes, like paraffin, also have an indefinite shelf life.

For maximizing how long wax lasts, a storage container like this one from Amazon will often keep it fresh for a lot longer than the container it came in.

The bottom line is that while although most waxes can withstand the test of time if properly stored, the quality will eventually be compromised in nearly all of them. Let’s dive further into the details.

Melting Wax

Determining the Expiration Date of Wax

The expiration date of wax largely depends on its composition. When mostly composed of natural ingredients, the wax will tend to lose its potency much faster than if it is made from synthetic ingredients. Look at the product label in question, and you should find all the info you need to determine the likely shelf life.

No matter what type of wax you have, proper storage will slow the decaying process. Generally, you want to keep wax in an airtight container in a cool dark place and avoid having it exposed to excessive heat or direct sunlight. Basically, just follow the same guidelines as if you are trying to keep a sandwich fresh.

Related How Long Can A Sandwich Sit Out Unrefrigerated?

Once again, in most cases, the container in which the wax is stored should provide its user with an expiration date. Just keep in mind that most companies will underestimate the timeframe. If the label says two years, the product would likely be good for five years or longer if you store it properly.

How to Tell if the Wax Is Expired

There are a few tell-tale signs of expiration. If any of these are present, discard the spoiled product:

  • An abnormal change in its consistency
  • A drastic color change (or multicolored appearance)
  • Rancid smell

How to Properly Store Wax

To maximize the shelf life of wax, proper storage is a big priority. To achieve this, do the following with your wax:

  1. Place in an airtight container, like this type designed for food (found on Amazon).
  2. Keep away from direct sunlight (the darker, the better).
  3. Store at room temperature or below.
  4. Make sure the wax is completely dry before storing it away. Avoid moisture at all costs. It will shorten the life of wax more than anything else.

Pro Tip: For extended freshness, store the container inside a refrigerator. Before application, ensure your wax is heated up. Otherwise, it will not apply well.

Does Wax Lose Its Potency Over Time?

Unless completely synthetic, most waxes will tend to gradually lose potency over time. In fact, without proper storage, expiration and loss of potency will be expedited. Avoid exposing wax to elements such as heat, sunlight, and moisture. Keep it in an airtight container, if possible.

At a minimum, keep the manufacturer’s lid on if possible and tighten it to prevent air intrusion when not in use.

Related How To Make Homemade Wax Without Honey Or Lemon (2 Recipes).

Does Car Wax Go Bad?

Unlike natural wax, car wax is not as susceptible to the elements. Being synthetic, it will probably last a lifetime. But, there is a caveat–its performance will not be at its peak. Like all other wax products, the longer the wax sits, the less usable it becomes.

I recently found some old Turtle Wax in my garage and found the product to be separated, with some of it dry and some of it very wet and oily. I should have made sure the lid was tight. Needless to say, I threw the stuff out. I was pretty sure the quality of the wax job would not be at the same level, and I wasn’t willing to try remixing it.

Does Candle Wax Expire?

Like most common waxes, candle wax does expire after about a year to 18 months. This is especially true if the candle is composed of mostly natural and organic ingredients such as soy wax or palm wax. Similar to food, the candle wax will eventually break down, rot, and disperse foul odors.

The breakdown occurs due to oxidation because its main ingredients are derived from plants and flowers. However, if properly stored, candle wax may last for almost two years or longer if maintained in a space away from extreme heat and direct sunlight.

Does Hair Removal Wax Expire or Go Bad?

In terms of beauty products, the rule of thumb is that if the product is factory sealed, it will have a shelf-life of about three years. However, once opened and exposed to oxygen, the natural degradation process will accelerate. This is especially true if the product mostly consists of natural ingredients.

For hair removal or body wax, the same rules apply. Check your product before usage. If the consistency is not the same as the initial use, it is indicative of a defective wax that is no longer usable. Since this product is used on delicate skin, consider replacing it.

Once the seal of the wax container has been removed, hair removal wax will begin to expire due to exposure. Additionally, if the product has been exposed to heat for a prolonged period, it will force chemicals within the wax to separate, causing spoilage.

What Will Happen if I Use Expired Hair Removal Wax?

Expired hair removal wax will not adhere to the desired area as easily as if recently opened. In fact, the wax will no longer be mailable nor adhere to the skin as intended. It will tend to break apart and not remove hair. Expect to endure a painful, messy, and overall negative experience.

Do Wax Pen Cartridges Expire?

Natural wax is known to succumb to oxidation over time. Mold can even begin growing and will leave your wax pen cartridge unusable. With heat, time, light, and oxygen, the wax will expire, usually by 12 months. The product will tend to get dry, and the taste will be off.

Depending on the quality of the storage container you keep the cartridge in, you can buy yourself a bit of extra time. To maximize freshness, make sure it’s airtight. Otherwise, the wax will degrade much more quickly. Air and heat are your biggest enemy.

Bottom Line

Ultimately, it’s all about ingredients. If the wax has non-perishable ingredients, the shelf life will be indefinite. Otherwise, the expiration date will vary based on the exact composition of the wax. Even so, if you just store the product correctly, you can almost be sure that the wax will be good for at least a year, if not two.

I hope this article has been helpful. Thanks for reading!

For more, check out Can You Make Soap Without Lye? | Yes and No.