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Unlocking the Secrets: The Surprising Truth About Vegetable Oils' Shelf Life!

Vegetable oils are commonly used in cosmetic products due to their beneficial properties for the skin and hair. They are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids that help to nourish, hydrate, and protect the skin and hair.

Here are just a few of the more common vegetable oils:

  • Olive Oil: It is known for its moisturizing properties and is often used in skin and hair care products. It is rich in antioxidants and vitamins A and E, which help to repair and renew damaged skin.

  • Coconut Oil: This oil is often used in hair care products due to its ability to penetrate the hair shaft and moisturize from within. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it a popular choice for skin care products.

  • Jojoba Oil: It is very similar to the natural oils produced by the skin, making it an excellent moisturizer. It is often used in products for sensitive or acne-prone skin.

  • Argan Oil: Known as 'liquid gold', argan oil is rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids. It is often used in hair care products for its ability to smooth frizz and add shine.

  • Sunflower Oil: This oil is high in vitamin E and is very gentle on the skin, making it suitable for products designed for sensitive skin.

  • Avocado Oil: It is rich in vitamins A, D, and E and is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.

vegetable oil, vegetable oils, fixed oils, carrier oils
Bottles with different kinds of vegetable oil

Vegetable oils typically have a shelf life of about one to two years if unopened and stored properly in a cool, dark place. Once opened, they should ideally be used within six months.

However, this can vary depending on the type of vegetable oil. Some oils, like olive oil, may last longer, while others, like flaxseed oil, may have a shorter shelf life.

Always check for changes in smell or color to determine if your oil is still good to use.

Vegetable oils are derived from various plants and seeds and are primarily composed of triglycerides, which are made up of three fatty acids attached to a glycerol molecule. The types of fatty acids determine the properties of the oil, such as its melting point, stability, and nutritional value.

  1. Saturated Fats: These are found in oils such as coconut and palm oil. They are solid at room temperature and are more stable, meaning they don't easily become rancid.

  2. Monounsaturated Fats: These are found in oils like olive oil and canola oil. They are liquid at room temperature but start to solidify when chilled. Monounsaturated fats are considered heart-healthy as they can help lower bad cholesterol levels.

  3. Polyunsaturated Fats: These fats are present in oils like sunflower, corn, and soybean oil. They remain liquid even when chilled. However, they are less stable and can go rancid quickly.

  4. Trans Fats: Some vegetable oils undergo a process called hydrogenation, which turns liquid oils into solid fats at room temperature. This process increases the trans fat content, which is linked to heart disease.

Vegetable oils also contain various vitamins and antioxidants, depending on the source plant or seed. For instance, sunflower oil is rich in Vitamin E, while canola oil is high in Omega-3 fatty acids.

olive oil extraction, carrier oil extraction, vegetable oil extraction
Greek olive oil extraction process

Preventing vegetable oils going rancid

To prevent vegetable oils from going rancid, follow these steps:

  • Store in a cool, dark place: Exposure to heat, light, and air can speed up the oxidation process and make your oil go rancid faster. Therefore, keep your oil in a cool and dark place such as a pantry or cupboard.

  • Use airtight containers: Make sure the container is airtight to keep out air and moisture.

  • Buy in small quantities: If you use vegetable oil infrequently, consider buying in small quantities to ensure you use it up before it goes bad.

  • Refrigerate: Some oils can be refrigerated to extend their shelf life. However, this can cause the oil to become cloudy and solidify, but it will return to its normal state once brought to room temperature.

  • Keep it clean: Avoid contaminating the oil with food particles, as this can cause it to go rancid faster. Always use clean utensils when handling oil.

  • Check the expiry date: Always check the expiry date on the bottle before buying and try to use it before this date.

  • Use antioxidant-rich oils: Oils rich in antioxidants (like vitamin E) are less likely to go rancid. Consider using these types of oils if you don't use them frequently.

Shelf Life of Vegetable Oils

Below is a list that displays the typical shelf lives for vegetable oils when stored properly.

The most stable vegetable oils include jojoba (actually a liquid wax), meadowfoam, fractionated coconut, watermelon seed, moringa and high oleic sunflower oils. When receiving new shipments of oils, we recommend recording the date of receipt and the shelf life on the label of each oil to help you keep track.

6 Months:

  • Borage