Carrier Oil Shelf Life

by | Mar 27, 2021 | Skin Care

Note: The shelf life of an oil is dependent upon its exposure to heat and manufacturing date. It’s often recommended that oils be refrigerated. In some cases, frozen if you have large amounts. This list will you give an approximate idea of an oil’s shelf life under normal circumstances (excluding extreme temperatures). If you are unable to store your oils in the refrigerator or freezer, at the very least, keep them in a dark cool place. It’s a good idea to ask the manufacturer about the age of the oil. Shelf life begins at the time of processing.

2nd note: Another factor you’ll want to consider in choosing which oils to use in your products is the length and structure of the carbon chain within the oil. The carbon chain within the oil will determine its stability. For example, a fully saturated oil is typically more stable whereas polyunsaturated oils are not. You want to combine the less stable oils in smaller amounts alongside the more stable oils in larger amounts to have a more stable product in the end. This may sound complex at first but understanding the type of oil and its structure will really strengthen your decision making when creating a formula for your DIY skin care products.

I hope this list helps you decide which oils to use in your homemade skin care products, and how you will use them based on their shelf life.

For now, let’s get started with a look at the following list of various oils and their basic benefits as well as their shelf life.

Name Shelf-Life Description
Apricot Kernel Oil 1 year Apricot kernel oil is great for making skincare products as it absorbs into the skin well without leaving a greasy residue. This oil has anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, antioxidant, and anti-bacterial properties. An excellent choice for baby products, and for sensitive and mature skin. Since this oil is an emollient, it can smooth and soften the skin. It is mild and moisturizing. **This is one of my favorite oils to use in my products.
Argan Oil 2 years Argan oil is light and easily absorbs into the body. Argan oil may help regulate the production of sebum which balances acne prone skin. Its Vit. E content may help fade scars and smooth out the skin’s texture. Can be used for any skin type, however using it in full strength will likely be too greasy for those with oily skin.
Avocado Oil 1 year Cold Pressed/18 months refined Avocado oil is amazing for hydration and improving skin appearance due to its Vit A & E content – these antioxidants work together to improve skin tone. It is a heavier oil, and may clog pores for some, but is beneficial for those with dry skin and hair.
Babassu Oil 2 years Babassu oil is solid at room temperature (much like coconut oil) and is used for calming skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, acne, etc. It can alleviate itchy or inflamed skin. Babassu oil is a light and mild moisturizer with a neutral fragrance that absorbs easily into the skin. It can be used in place of coconut oil.
Carrot Seed Oil 1 year Carrot Seed Oil is high in antioxidants (Vitamins E & C) making it especially valuable for aging skin and protective against environmental factors. This oil can work well on all skin types, but as with anything, test it first. It may be too rich for oily skin.
Castor Oil 1 year Castor oil has strong detox properties. It can cause an acne outbreak at the beginning of use but will often calm the skin soon enough. It contains a substance called ricinoleic acid which is high in Omega 9 making it a lovely oil for reducing inflammation. It is often used as a stand-alone ingredient as an eye serum at night, and for improving eye lash length, among many other skin and hair benefits. It is a bit messy, though. Castor oil can easily be added to your formula.
Coconut Oil 2-4 years This oil is antimicrobial, rich in Vitamin E, soothes, protects & moisturizes, has natural UV protection (UV ~4-6), absorbs readily into skin. Great for people with very dry skin, but for some, this oil will be too greasy and heavy. May clog pores. Available antioxidants are vitamins A, C, and E.
Cupuaçu Butter 1 year Extracted from a Cupuaçu Tree, native to the northern the Amazon Rainforest and related to the Cacao Tree, and like Cacao Butter, Cupuaçu Butter is used in food. Cupuaçu may help improve premature aging due to its superior moisturizing properties because of its ability to retain water. This butter is light, making it less greasy alternative to butters like Shea or Mango. High in antioxidants and so creamy. It boosts natural moisture and helps your skin appear more elastic. I’m in love with this butter
Fractionated Coconut Oil Indefinite The same benefits as solid coconut oil but a longer shelf is often a desired quality for an oil. This oil works well with other oils making it a great choice for a carrier oil. Also, less greasy than solid coconut oil making it great for skin.
Grape Seed Oil 3 months – 1 year A nice oil for most skin types. Good source of the antioxidant Vitamin E. Loaded with moisturizing fatty acids, creating a protective barrier on the skin, locking in moisture. This oil is very light and absorbs easily into the skin, leaving no greasy residue.
Jojoba Oil 5 years This is not actually an oil at all but rather a liquid wax. Perfect for skin because it is similar to the skin’s natural oil secretions making it very absorbable and moisturizing. Great for acne (again because it’s similarity to the skin’s natural oil secretions) by balancing oil production. Excellent for oily or combination skin, having anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties
Kokum Butter 2 years A very stable butter (hard), anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties. It’s a thickening agent in formulas and doesn’t have much of a scent, and not greasy on the skin. If using in a formula, may need to adjust other ingredients to maintain texture and consistency. I like using this butter in deodorant.
Mango Butter 1 year This butter is a natural source of Vitamins A & C. Helps reduce the appearance of fine lines. Rich in oleic acid, making it a deep moisturizer and an excellent protective barrier. Great for sensitive skin and can even be used as an under-eye treatment all on its own. Also, use it on lips!!
Meadowfoam Seed Oil 5 years A thick oil that’s very lubricating and soothing. Absorbs quickly and penetrates deeply. Rich in antioxidants E & C, making it a good choice for anti-aging products. Odorless.
Pomegranate Oil 1 year Pomegranate seed oil is exceptional on its own or in your formula. Can be taken internally as well. A rich moisturizer making it soothing and nourishing to the skin. Especially good for hydrating dry skin.
Rosehip Oil 6 months Rosehip seed oil is exceptional for addressing aging skin, sun damage, eczema, stretch marks, and scaring. High in fatty acids. Can be used on its own or in your formula. Absorbs readily into the skin leaving no greasy residue. Can be used as a carrier oil or massage oil, very versatile.
Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil 1 year Loaded with protective antioxidants making it an excellent anti-aging oil, cell regenerator. Can slow down aging process. A great addition to any formula in small amounts. Sea Buckthorn Berries can be very staining to the skin, but the seeds are not.
Shea Butter 2-4 years A great addition to any formula in small amounts, since it tends to be a bit on the greasy side. Extracted from the nut of an African Shea tree
Contains essential fatty acids & vitamins A, D, E, & F, antioxidant, UV Ray Protection (SPF 4-6), Does not clog pores, seals in moisture. Soothes the skin, can be used on its own. Helps the skins’ natural collagen production. Softening reduces wrinkles. Doesn’t necessarily have the greatest fragrance but isn’t icky at all.
Sunflower Seed Oil 1 year This lovely oil is loaded with Vitamins A, B, D and E, minerals, as well as having beneficial components of lecithin and unsaturated fatty acids. An excellent softener and conditioner to skin. It’s a great affordable carrier oil that is used in both massage and aromatherapy products.
Sweet Almond Oil 6 months – 1 year Sweet almond oil softens and soothes the skin. It’s great for skin lightening. Great for under the eyes and scars. Apply on its own or in a formula. Great for hair and nails. An anti-aging oil.
Tamanu Oil 1-2 years Rich in fatty acids making it a nice emollient. It had a strong fragrance that isn’t necessarily pleasant on its own, but it’s so wonderful for the skin and for reducing scarring. It is anti-inflammatory and is considered an antioxidant making it a wonderful oil for scars, wrinkles and anti-aging. An excellent spot treatment.


References:,,,,, Power of the Seed by Susan Parker

Disclaimer: The information written in CRY Herbals’ emails, blog & website is for creative and educational purposes only. This information should not be used as a substitute for medical advice. All questions regarding any health condition should be addressed to your primary care physician or other healthcare provider. We are simply ordinary folk who love experimenting and working with natural herbal products to enhance and support the body in health and well-being. It is joy and honor to explore the historical and contemporary practices of herbalism for the purposes of education and personal fulfillment. ?


  1. Suzette Edwards

    Could you tell me what the shelf life is for olive oil? I’m starting to learn how to make essential oils to use in soap and candle making. I appreciate the information you have listed on this site. It’s very helpful.

    • Deborah Burroughs

      Thank you, Suzette. I’m delighted you found this information helpful. I believe Olive oil has a shelf life of approximately 1 to 2 years depending on whether it’s extra virgin, which would be on the shorter end of time frame. How enjoyable to be making soap and candles. A friend of mine taught me how to make soap earlier this year, which was fun. Just like herbalism it’s a bit of chemistry and creative art. Wishing the best success with your projects.

  2. Dee

    Hi Deborah
    Thank you for this insiteful page. I have Hashimoto’s Thyroidism. It leaves my hair very low in porosity & difficult to manage (I have 4c type hair- meaning African American kinky hair).

    My name & skin tend to be dry as well but my question is, what type of oil or carrier oil might be good to help with my extremely dry hair.
    Thank you

    • Deborah Burroughs

      Hi Dee, thanks for reaching out. I think shea would be great to try. Some people really love coconut or avocado oils for scalp & hair. Give one of these beautiful oils a try and let us know how it goes, your personal experience will help all who read.

      I’m so glad you asked this question because my scalp has been very itchy lately and as I was thinking about which oils are best for dry hair, I was reminded of shea’s ability to soothe and moisturize the scalp. I only had shea butter on hand, and I wanted to apply an oil to my scalp, so I chose to unrefined Avocado oil as a treatment last night. My scalp was very happy.

      Be well!

  3. Mihael Kuzmin

    Which massage oil do you recommend I use. I need something that I can cook at 230F for 4 hours then use after cooling.

    • Deborah Burroughs

      Hello Mihael, apricot kernel and grapeseed oil would be excellent choices. 🙂


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This