Does Self Tanner Expire?

self tired expiry date

While many people tend to stick to the tried and tested self tanning formula, there are plenty who like to experiment with different brands and products. If you belong to the experimental category, you might have gathered a range of different products. In such a situation, it is natural to wonder does self-tanner expire?

Yes, self-tanners can expire over a period of time. There are various ingredients and chemicals present in the tanner that can expire and change the product.

If you’re wondering how long your self-tanner will last and how to know if it has expired, continue reading to learn more about it. 

Can a Self Tanner Expire?

A self tanner consists of multiple ingredients and chemicals, which come with an expiration date. When the ingredients expire, so does the self-tanner. If you’re wondering does my St Tropez expire or any other self tanner, the simple answer is yes.

After becoming expired, self tanners do not become toxic but tend to lose their effectiveness. An expired self tanning product will not be able to give you the desired results. You might even end up with blemishes on your skin that won’t absorb the tan. 

How Long Can You Use a Self Tanner For?

There is no law that states that cosmetic products must have an expiration date. However, these products like self tanners can still expire after a shelf-life of a year. It implies that once you open a self tanner, you have 12 months to use it until it expires.

The expiration can also depend on the format and packaging of the self-tanner. Here are a few formats of self tanners:


Mousse self tanner comes in a sealed container with a pump. Since they get minimal exposure to air, the chances of them expiring early on are much less.

For example you might ask yourself does something like loving tan expire? The answer is yes; it can get bad quickly if left exposed to air.  

We Recommend: St. Tropez Self Tan Mouse


Does self tanning lotion expire after a certain period? Self tanners that come in a bottle can easily expire. They often get exposed to the air whenever you open them, thus resulting in a short shelf life. 

We Recommend: Ed Hardy Coconut Kisses Tanning Lotion


When it comes to convenience, tanning towels are a popular choice. But do tan towels expire? They can expire after a year, but if left open and exposed to air, they can expire much quicker. Tanning towels may even last more than a year if kept away from air.  

We Recommend: Tan Towel Self Tan Towelettes

How to Tell if a Self Tanner Has Expired?

Many self tanning products come with an expiration date, but some don’t have a fixed time period of use. Here, you must make a note on when you open the self tanner. It is wise to discard the product after a year of opening.  

You can also check whether the product has expired through these easy steps:

Check the Color:

The easiest way to check if the self tanner has expired or not is by conducting a visual test of the product. You can check the color of the self tanner.

If it appears green, it is certain that the product has expired due to exposure to heat or air. It turns green when the colorants mixed with DHA have already degraded. This happens majorly in the case of products that contain bronzer.   

Check the Consistency:

The next indicator of an expired self tanner is changed consistency. Over time, oil and other ingredients can also separate. You might also notice that it has become too thick, lumpy, or more watery than before. 

Conduct a Sniff Test:

For the people who use oil, it is natural to ask does tanning oil expire? A great way to ascertain whether the self tanner oil has expired is by doing a sniff test. Most times, the smell of the product can alter after expiring. 

You can smell the product and notice the change in scent. However, it is tricky to tell because DHA present in the self tanner can give it a bad smell. For more on this check our article – how to get rid of a self tanner smell.

Do a Patch Test:

If you’re still unable to tell if the product is good for use from the smell, consistency, and color, you can conduct a patch test. Apply the self tanner on a small patch of your skin, on the arm or the leg. It will help you determine whether the self tanner is working or not. It’s a good idea to apply it with a tanning mitt or such as own special tanning mitt here – blackout tanning mitt. Another fake tan mitt alternative mainly to keep the application limited to the patch area only.

If it gives you the required color, it may be good for use. You can then apply it to your skin to get an even tanned look. But, if there is no color or you get an uneven tan, it is time to discard the product. 

Related Questions:

What Happens if I Use an Expired Self Tanner?

A self tanner can contain non-toxic ingredients that can expire after a period of time. Since the ingredients are non-toxic, they won’t cause you any harm even if you use them after they expire.

However, the effectiveness of the product will be reduced, and you might get an uneven or patchy tan. You can do a patch test to know whether it will work or not.

It is ideal not to use an expired self tanner, even if it is high-quality and contains non-toxic ingredients. 

How Long Does Self Tanner Last?

A majority of self tanning products come with an expiry date written on the back. If not given, a self tanner can ideally last around 12 months after opening it.

But, the shelf-life of self tanners can vary depending on the company, ingredients used, and even the format of the product. While a lotion can expire quickly because of air exposure, a self tanning mousse or towel may last longer. When they get exposed to air and heat after opening, they will expire faster.

Is It Bad to Use Expired Tanning Lotion?

It is not bad to use an expired tanning lotion as it will not harm your skin. There are no toxic ingredients present in a tanning lotion, which is why they won’t adversely affect your skin if you use them.

But, the results might not be the same as a fresh tanning lotion. You might get an uneven and patchy tan after using an expired product.

Why Does My Fake Tan Look Grey?

A fake tan can contain a mixed color base that is added to counteract the orange or yellow undertones of your skin. Some products may even have grey added with the bronzer that can give you a grey fake tan. Once the tan settles with your skin, the grey color will subside, and you will get a smooth tanned look.

How Long Does Fake Tan Last? 

The duration of fake tan can depend on your skin and also the color of your choice. If you go for a light shade, it can stay for 4-5 days, but a darker shade will last for around 10 days.

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