This post was inspired by finding a jar of thick lotion I made for my sister last year in one of her cupboards. It was a fragrance free cocoabutter lotion made with a strong calendula tea.
Why? Although everything looked smelled and felt okay, it had passed the ‘fresh by’ date on handcrafted lotion (with preservative) that I’m comfortable with and its not always that nasties growing in product is visible to the naked eye. Especially if you live in hot, sticky high humidity areas like I do.
Unlike commercially produced lotions which are usually no more than chemicals that help preserve the emulsion for a very long time and under stressful conditions, handmade creams are not meant to last forever.
Also, unlike handcrafted soap which tends to get better with age (unless one or more of your oils go rancid) creams and lotions are best used up within 6 months. Some may last up to a year if kept in pump bottles away from direct heat, etc, but I would err on the side of 6 months and just make a fresh batch with active ingredients.