05-07-2012, 09:19 AM
#1
  • Theido
  • Shave Stick Proponent
  • Colorado
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I was wondering what the shelf life of soaps and cremes are?

I know there are some soaps that have lasted decades (vintage Old Spice and Williams). Do new age soaps and cremes last just as long?

I want to add to my software collection but, I don't want to have 12 soaps/cremes in the drawer if I will only end up getting through a quarter of them before they start going downhill.

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 05-07-2012, 09:35 AM
#2
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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The shelf life of hard soaps is indefinite. I have some that are well over 30 years old and they are good as new.

The shelf life of creams is dependent on the environment they are stored in, their container and whether or not they have preservatives. If they are kept in a cool and dark place and have preservatives, the shelf life is several years if in a pot and longer if in a tube.

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 05-07-2012, 10:35 AM
#3
  • njpaddy
  • Member
  • Central New Jersey
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I usually plan on 18 months for creams kept in a drawer and used occasionally. It may still be usable after that, but if I haven't finished a cream in 18 months, it's usually out of rotation and buried in a bottom drawer. Over the weekend I found a half full tub of cream in a bottom drawer that's probably close to 3 years old. It would still be usable if I could stand the scent, but my tastes have changed and I tossed it.

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 05-07-2012, 12:43 PM
#4
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(05-07-2012, 09:35 AM)bullgoose Wrote: I have some that are well over 30 years old and they are good as new.

Surely they lost their scent though, right?

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 05-07-2012, 12:52 PM
#5
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(05-07-2012, 12:43 PM)Pnume Wrote:
(05-07-2012, 09:35 AM)bullgoose Wrote: I have some that are well over 30 years old and they are good as new.

Surely they lost their scent though, right?

You say that like it is a bad thing. My vintage soaps work wonderfully with minimal stink.

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 05-07-2012, 12:58 PM
#6
  • tgutc
  • Senior Member
  • Michigan
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I have decided to stop buying so many creams because I will never come close to using all of them. Also, I am going to start using my creams a little bit more to try and use them up.

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 05-07-2012, 01:36 PM
#7
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(05-07-2012, 12:58 PM)tgutc Wrote: I have decided to stop buying so many creams because I will never come close to using all of them.


Same thing I did awhile back. I like creams, just don't like the shelf life limitation. One exception... I need to try Martin deCandre, is that a cream or a croap?

Soft Italian soaps, supposedly, will last for years if kept cool and dark. The bowls that aren't in rotation are kept in a refrigerator out in the shop. For instance, buy a kilo of Cella and you'll get either a mess of bowls of it if you break the block down, or you'll get a really good size chunk left over and a bowl in rotation. What isn't in rotation is stored in the cooler.

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 05-07-2012, 08:00 PM
#8
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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(05-07-2012, 12:43 PM)Pnume Wrote:
(05-07-2012, 09:35 AM)bullgoose Wrote: I have some that are well over 30 years old and they are good as new.

Surely they lost their scent though, right?

They still smell good. I imagine that the Yardley's scent has faded a bit although I do not know what it smelled like new. Huh

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 05-07-2012, 08:06 PM
#9
  • GreekGuy
  • Not saving money yet....
  • La Jolla, CA
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Soap last long time

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 05-07-2012, 08:39 PM
#10
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i was told by Michelle at Mystic Water that her soaps, or soaps in general should last, easily, 20 or more years, if not indefinitely!
Don't use creams, so not an issue for me. Good luck.

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 05-08-2012, 08:34 AM
#11
  • Nova316
  • Junior Member
  • Alberta, Canada
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I have some old creams, they seem to still work well. Some of em just are a bit dry but still lather up like a champ thats all I notice. None have gone "Off" either

Soaps should last forever but I've heard of people use vintage creams. Just not as often as vintage soaps

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 05-08-2012, 09:01 AM
#12
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I am hoping they last for a very long time, I currently have 67 products (41 soaps & 26 creams) in my rotation and will probably get more. My oldest product is a Na-Dru-Co shave stick from the 1930's that still works well even if it is now unscented. I also have a Body Shop Maca Root cream that is three years old and I haven't noticed any degradation in it's performance.

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 05-08-2012, 09:54 AM
#13
  • Nova316
  • Junior Member
  • Alberta, Canada
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K that makes me feel a little better
I only have 10 creams and 8 soaps

My oldest cream is probably only 4 years old, but one of my SCS mint chocolate did go super runny, had to let it dry and mix in CO Bigelow/Musgo real to thicken it up now its a wonderful cream

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 05-09-2012, 05:18 AM
#14
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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Most creams come with a recommendation to use within 12 months of opening...

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 05-09-2012, 05:43 AM
#15
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I have RazoRock XXX that is 3 years old and look and performs like the one I got just a few months ago. My Cella is going on 2 years and it looks and performs great.

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 05-09-2012, 05:52 AM
#16
  • Leon
  • Active Member
  • Porto, Portugal
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(05-07-2012, 01:36 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: I need to try Martin deCandre, is that a cream or a croap?

A Soap.

I have some old soaps. A Colgate that's really old, I don't know exactly how much, but from the 1950's or 1960's.
I also have an Old Spice puck. The scent is very faint, but it's still there and works great.

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 05-09-2012, 07:22 PM
#17
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i've noticed with older soaps i've picked up, the only thing that goes downhill is the scent. although to be honest, i've been using a puck of yardley and the more i get into it, the more i detect a hint of lavender. i'm guessing modern pucks will do the same. scent will go, performance stays the same.

i have about 18 creams in my stable. some of them have hardened because they haven't been used in a while. my favorite is my DR Harris Arlington. It now has the consistency of soft soap, which is a huge plus for me. Performs the same so.

I'm realizing it's probably better that I burn through my creams before my soaps but the soaps are that much more enjoyable for me, so it's difficult.

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 05-10-2012, 10:55 AM
#18
  • Nova316
  • Junior Member
  • Alberta, Canada
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I started to burn through my creams vs my soaps, but they do get hard and thats about all. Its not like they become worse performers or anything.

Anyone have a really old cream they still use?

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 05-10-2012, 01:10 PM
#19
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I have creams that aged well and some that didn't. The ones that age well just lose their fluff and turn into a "pseudo" croap. The ones that get tossed actually undergo phase separation and have a nasty oily layer on top. I've whipped those back into something that looks like a cream, but it doesn't want to stay mixed for more than a day or two. I'm also nearly in the triple digits with my options (mostly soaps) so life is too short to wrestle with creams that misbehave. I do know it's my own neglectful ways that forced them to misbehave Biggrin .

As for soaps, I have some vintage William's, Colgate sticks etc. that are 50+ years old. Of the ones I’ve purchased or sniffed in antique stores, only one has gone rancid. There is no mistaking it when soap has gone bad. Fats and oils can do that if left in hot/damp areas for extended periods of time. Aside from that, soaps that are sealed in a cool dry place will keep their performance and even their scent for decades. I've got a puck of Safari that my uncle found in a drawer. He said it came in a gift set he got for his fifth anniversary (1995). It still has plenty of scent and great performance.

Since MdC was mentioned in particular, I’ll share a response that a received this morning from their customer service department. Someone elsewhere was suggesting that I needed to avoid “hoarding” MdC because it would not last more than about 18 months at most. I was very skeptical, but sending an e-mail to MdC costs me nothing and it would put my mind at ease. I asked what the expected shelf life would be (on May 2). This morning at 8:25 a.m. I received the following response that I assume was generated on Google translate but its meaning is very clear to me:

Code:
Dear Sir,
Thank you for your last order and message. As you write to us soap lasts
forever: hard and mold soaps, because of the reaction during the process of
making (oils mixed with potassium or soda).
The best is to keep the soaps in a cool and dry place as you do already and to open the jars; so they will become drier (and more economic!!).

Best wishes and regards,
Marie Amélie de Courcy

That’s all the clarification I need on the topic or MdC. My experience with vintage soaps elsewhere has me doubly convinced. That’s why I keep very few creams around. Of the creams I have, most of them verge on croap territory. I have jars and tubes of the following that are all at least 3-5 years old: Castle Forbes, Penhaligon’s, Truefitt and Trumpers who both dehydrate nicely, and one or two others I’m surely forgetting.


To estimate the shelf life of your creams, some have an expiration date on them. However, some use the European convention of having a bold number stamped on the back. It’s usually placed in the middle of a cartoon drawing of a cosmetics jar. That number, say 12M, implies that the products should be used within 12 Months of opening the product for optimal performance. They often last much longer.
Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Period-afte...ing_symbol

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 05-10-2012, 05:57 PM
#20
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I currently have 4 TOBS in tubs (lemon Lime, Eton College, St James, Jermyn St.)

2 TOBS tubes (Mr Taylor, and an avocado that I got in a lot that was received with a broken cap)

1 jar of Al's Bomb cream in Lavender

One lg tube of CO Bigelow

One puck of Provence Sante Green Tea in a mug

One puck of Provence Sante Verlain in a mug

One DRH Arlington in the wooden bowl

I also have one VDH luxury unopened.

I have one tub of DR Hunter's shave cream that I don't like...debating whether to PIF it or pitch it...

I am fighting off purchasing any other soaps or creams, because I'm pretty sure I have plenty. I just hope that they all stay good. I keep most things under the sink. one of my shave mugs is usually by the sink.

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