Were you “today years old” when you found out that hair products expire?
Well, you aren’t alone. After all, hair products aren’t something that come to most people’s minds when we think about expiry dates (unlike *ahem* food!)
Plus, there’s no law that requires companies to display expiry dates on their hair products either. So you can be forgiven for assuming they will last forever!
Now that you know hair products expire, here are some important things to take note of. Read on before you spend a bomb on hair products that end up in the trash sooner rather than later!
When Will Hair Products Expire?
While all hair products expire in the end, they tend to have a great shelf life. This means they can last a long time.
Sealed hair products will last for about 3 years — as long as you store them in a cool, dark place.
Opened products will only last around 18 months, so keep that in mind if you have a product you don’t use that often!
Natural hair products may have a shorter shelf life of around 12 months though. That’s because they use little to no preservatives to keep the formula fresh. This means that the all-natural or organic ingredients they contain tend to break down faster.
And if you use essential oils for your hair, you’re looking at a 6-month lifespan at most.
What Shortens the Lifespan of Hair Products?
There are a few reasons why hair products expire 2x faster once they’re opened.
For starters, exposure to air causes the product formula to start breaking down. Also, bacteria contaminate products once they become exposed to skin, which is what happens when you dip your fingers into the bottle. The more bacteria your products have, the quicker they expire.
In addition, it’s common to dilute products with water on accident when showering. Some people even do it on purpose! This can shorten the lifespan of your products.
One way to deal with this is to use bottles with closed tops that give squeeze or pump delivery. This will help to minimize water exposure and skin contact, allowing you to keep your favorite hair products from expiring way too early!
4 Signs Your Hair Products Have Expired
Nobody should hang on to hair products that have expired (yes, even the high-end one you reeeeally like). So look out for these 4 signs to know when it’s time to say goodbye!
1. YOUR PRODUCT PACKAGING SAYS IT
Yes, we mentioned that companies aren’t required to put expiry dates on their product packaging. But good news is: Some of them do!
So it certainly wouldn’t hurt to check the labels on your products from time to time. It’s much better than assuming that they’re within their use by date.
As a bonus, some product labels tell you how long they’re good for even AFTER the hair products expire. Don’t worry, these aren’t going to ruin the health of your hair or cause any permanent damage. Just don’t expect the results to be that great if you choose to continue using them!
2. YOUR PRODUCT HAS STARTED TO “UNDERPERFORM”
You know that feeling when something started out amazing… before it hits a plateau and stagnates? That’s what could happen when your hair products expire, or become contaminated by bacteria from constant skin contact.
You may find that you’ve been seeing results with a particular product for months, until it stops working out of the blue. And that’s even though you’ve been following the exact same routine!
This doesn’t mean that the brand is no longer effective for you. It could simply be an indication that the particular bottle you’re using has turned bad.
Monitor it for a couple more days without changing your routine to be sure. If it still doesn’t work, you know it’s time to get a new bottle!
3. YOUR PRODUCT LOOKS, FEELS OR SMELLS DIFFERENT
Does your product look different? Has its texture changed? Or has its scent turned into a stink or a weird smell?
One telltale sign is when your product becomes lumpy — basically when it resembles curdled milk. This occurs when it gets denatured after being stored at the wrong temperature, or kept on the shelf for too long.
Other “warning” signs are when your product turns yellow or looks discolored.
In other words, if things change (and not for the better), assume that the product has gone bad. Throw it out!
4. YOUR PRODUCT IS CAUSING IRRITATION
It’s hard to believe that your trusted product can cause you trouble — but it can when it expires. This means you need to re-examine it if you begin to experience skin irritation such as a mild burn or itch.
Now, it’s not that the brand isn’t good for you anymore. Instead, it’s the formulation that might have changed due to long-time air exposure.
If you do notice any skin irritation or discomfort, it’s important to visit a dermatologist for treatment. Afterwards, toss your old product out and head to the store to get a new one.
How to Keep Track of All Your Hair Products
One tip that you can follow is to write the date of purchase and date opened on every single bottle of hair product. Remember to set aside a few minutes to check on all these dates on a regular basis.
This makes it easy to take note of when your hair products expire. So you’ll know which one you should finish using first, and which one you need to throw out!
Get Amazing Hair Without Using Hair Products
But if you find it too overwhelming and troublesome to keep track of so many hair products, don’t fret.
A simple, fuss-free way to ensure that your hair’s always on point WITHOUT using any product is to wear clip-in ponytail extensions. You can even change your look as often as you like without risking hair damage, or worrying about when hair products expire.