Top 3 Reasons Your Lotion Turned Yellow:

It seems like it happens to the best of us! We have a lotion and everything is going well and then it happens… You start to notice your lotion turning yellow.




What is going wrong? Is this normal? How do I stop it?


Here are the top 3 reasons why your lotion turned yellow:


1) Expired Lotion Can Turn Yellow:

One of the number one reasons that your lotion turns yellow could be because it’s expired.

Lotion has ingredients that will expire over time and this could cause them to turn yellow.


This is mostly caused by the different oils that are added to the lotion.

Some lotions have a combination of oil that will turn yellow and other formulas don’t.


This means that not all lotions will turn yellow when expired.


We all had those times when we were doing some cleaning and found a bottle of lotion. So I put together a guide and signs to watch out for to see if your lotion is expired.

Signs of Expired Lotion:

Lotion isn’t hard to tell if it’s expired because you have a few signs to watch out for.

Yellowing of the lotion is a sign but it’s not the only sign to watch out for.


The four main signs to watch are yellowing, smell, consistency, and the expiration date.


Yellowing of the Lotion:

Yellowing of the lotion is a sign that the lotion could be expired. But, this is not always the case.

It really depends on the lotion and the ingredients. Different ingredients will act in different ways when they expire.


However, in most cases, lotion that is starting to turn yellow is a sign that the lotion could be expiring.

Lotion that was formulated wrong or with lower quality ingredients could expire sooner. Some lotion I had even gone bad before the actual expiration date.


If you have any concerns or questions about your lotion turning yellow, it’s probably best to discard it and get a new one.

Keep in mind that the shade of yellow will probably be a lighter shade. I never saw lotion that turned bright yellow when it expired.


Look At The Expiration Date:

The next best thing you can do is to check the expiration date to see if the lotion is expired.


The expiration date is usually on the back of the container toward the bottom.

Most companies list a number of months instead of an actual date.


The expiration date really depends on the ingredients used and the quality of the preservative. The higher quality ingredients and better preservative used, the longer the lotion should last.


Sometimes lotion can last 24 months and other lotions will only last 12 months.


I always recommend replacing or using a lotion up before it hits the 12-month mark. This helps prevent yellowing and keeps the lotion fresh.

Lotion itself doesn’t expire very fast, it’s just the preservative and other added ingredients that break down and go bad.



The smell of the lotion is a really great indicator of telling if the lotion is expired.

If the lotion smells any different from when you first got it, throw it away and get a new one.


I have learned that most of the time that lotion will start to smell bad before any of the other indicators.


Sometimes a lotion will start to smell bad before the expiration date. If this happens, you should discard the lotion right away.



Another way to tell if the lotion has gone bad is to check its consistency. The consistency of lotion should always be the same from day one.

Most lotions should have a silky and smooth consistency that is light to the touch.


Sometimes lotion will turn very runny or even dry up a little in the container.

If you experience this, I would recommend that you get a new lotion to apply. This tells me that the ingredients may be starting to break down and your lotion may start to yellow or even go bad next.


If you see any lumps or bad colored spots in the lotion, it’s best to get rid of it. It’s too hard to say what it is and there are many different possibilities.


2) The Wrong Environment Can Cause Yellow Lotion:

Sometimes having lotion in the wrong kind environment can cause the product to turn yellow.

A lot of us, myself included, probably leave our lotion sitting out in the bathroom. Yet, this is not the best place to store your lotion.


Some lotion can start to change color if it has direct access to sunlight.

The ultraviolet light from the sun can cause the yellowing of a lotion. This is from the UV light damaging and breaking down the ingredients in the lotion.


Lotion can also change to a yellow color if it’s left in a hot and humid environment.

The same process happens as above, the hot and humid environment has a chance of breaking down the ingredients causing yellowing of the lotion.


Sometimes lotion can turn yellow after it has been exposed to air.

This could be from one or more of the ingredients that could oxidize and turn to a yellow color.

Sometimes this is a light yellow and other times it can be a darker yellow. I have even experienced a few different lotions that turned to more of a light orange color.


The color it turns to just depends on what ingredients the lotion is formulated with.


This can happen to any kind of lotion depending on the ingredients that are added to it.


Sometimes this happens more often in containers with lids compared to pump bottles.

This is because the lid may not get securely back on and a lot of lotion gets exposed to air when the lid is off.


To prevent this from happening I put together a few tips on how to store lotion:


How To Store Lotion:

The best advice on how to store lotion is to read the label of the lotion.

Sometimes the label will tell you how to store the product if it needs a specific environment. However, not all lotions have directions on how to store them.


The most common way to store lotion is in a cool, dry and dark environment.


This ensures that the lotion will be kept in a good environment that is both safe for you and the lotion. Keeping it in this type of environment will also help keep the lotion good until the expiration date.


Some people like to empty their lotion into a different, more decorative container.

That is fine to do and shouldn’t cause the lotion to turn yellow.

The only thing is to make sure that the new container is clean. Always rinse out the out lotion and pump before you put more into the container.


3) No Preservative Can Cause Yellow Lotion:

Another reason that hand lotion can yellow is that a preservative could be missing from the lotion.

This is pretty uncommon but it does happen in some cases. A preservative could also expire early causing the lotion to turn yellow.


Some of the ingredients in the lotion could turn a yellowish color when they do start to go bad.


This is different from the lotion expiring after the expiration date because this process can happen before the expiration date.


It’s never a good idea to use lotion without a preservative added to it.

It doesn’t even matter if the lotion started to turn yellow or not. Doing so can cause illness in certain people with weakened immune systems.


What is a Preservative:

A preservative is an ingredient added to lotion, or any cosmetic product, that helps prevent bacterial growth. This makes the lotion last longer before it goes bad.


All the lotions that you buy from a store will have a preservative in them already.


However, some homemade lotions will not have them in them. This means that the lotion can have an environment where mold and other bacteria can grow.


How To Make Sure You Have A Preservative:

The easiest way to make sure that your lotion has a preservative is to buy it from a reputable store.

All big brand lotion companies will probably already have a preservative added for liability reasons.


You can always check the label of the product and make sure that it has a preservative added to it.


You want to be careful around any kind of lotion that is homemade.


You should also be careful with buying any kind of lotion from a vendor. This includes any kind of craft shows or expos.

A lot of times these lotions leave out a preservative or don’t use one because they want the product to be more natural without one.


It’s always a good idea to ask the person if their product has a preservative added to it. If not, the lotion can start to go bad and even yellow in just a few days.

Within a week mold and other bacteria can start to take over the lotion.