Does Hair Developer Expire – And If So, How Can You Tell

When you buy the hair developer, you will find a “use-by” date on the product. It is important to follow the instructions and use the product before the expiration date. The use-by date is the date where the developer will be less effective. This is based on the expiration of the ingredients.

This article will discuss when does hair developer expire and why it should not be used past the expiration date.

When Does Hair Developer Go Bad

The shelf life of hair color developers depends on the concentration of developers in the bottle. The more concentrated the product is, the shorter the shelf life. If the developer is highly concentrated, it has a shelf life of about 2 years; if not – the shelf life can be up to 3 years.

You can also find a use-by-date printed on the bottle. But the use-by date is just an estimate as it is based on the manufacturer’s idea of how long the product should last.

This applies to closed bottles, but how long does hair developer last after opening? When you open the bottle, you are letting air in. So for best results, use the developer within 6 months or less of opening the bottle.

How To Know if the Developer is Expired

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The following is a checklist for you to use to determine if your hair dye developer is still good or not. Just because a package is unopened does not mean that the contents are good. Here is how to tell if your dye developer is expired or not.

The most common way to tell if a dye developer is still good is to smell it. Old developers will smell like vinegar. If the product is bad, it will smell sour. If it smells fine, it is probably good. You shouldn’t use a product that has an off odor.

The package says a lot. There you can not only find the use-by date but also see the changes like it is wet, dented, leaking, or damaged. If you have any of these problems, then the hair developer is expired. Еhese changes were caused by the loss of its active components.

The changes in color are a good indication of the expiration. When the color of the developer turns yellow or orange, it is time to throw it away.

Can You Use Expired Hair Developer – The Consequences

In general, you can use an expired developer, but it is not recommended. The reason is that the developer will begin to break down at an accelerated rate as it begins to lose its liquid carrier, making it less effective. Expired hair dye products can also cause a number of issues, including:

  • Skin irritation: Even if the hair dye itself is not irritating, the developer may contain chemicals that are. These chemicals may be irritating to your scalp and skin.
  • Burning or itching scalp: Hair dye, as well as the developer, can cause irritation and/or burning sensations. In most cases, this irritation is local (i.e., on the scalp) and mild, but it can also occur systemically in rare cases.
  • Blisters: Expired hair products may lead to the development of painful, blistering rashes on the skin.
  • Damaged hair: Over time, the components of hair dye will break down. The colorant itself may lose its strength in terms of both absorption and deposit, and the developer may lose some or all of its oxidizing power. The combination of these factors may cause your hair to look less vivid and possibly more damaged.

If you experience any of these symptoms after using a hair dye product, stop using the hair dye immediately and throw it away.

How to Correctly Store The Developer

Over time, the developer may change color as a result of direct exposure to light. It is recommended that you store it in a cool, dry place. Once opened, you should use the developer within 3 months of opening. Keep the product away from direct sunlight and heat.

The bottle should be closed tightly after use. Do not let the developer freeze or get too hot. Never throw away the used developer as it is toxic and should be disposed of properly.

It is best to dispose of it via a professional hazardous waste disposal service. If you are unable to do so, the developer can be poured out in a well-ventilated area (outside or in a bathroom) and then wash down with water.

The developer should not be poured down a drain or puddle as it will cause a harmful chemical reaction and damage the plumbing.

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Summing Up

The expiration date of a hair developer is a very important aspect of product safety. Hair dye products that are past their expiration date can cause burns, skin irritation, and other health problems.

Remember that using expired hair dye or developer will not ruin your hair. That being said, it may not give you the results you want. So be sure to check for an expiration date on all color products.

Monica Davis

Monica is a professional men and women's hairstylist and a success coach. She started MyStraightener as a personal blog and it has grown into something bigger. You can also find her writing/speaking about new styling tools, hair products, and the latest things in hairdressing on HuffPost, NBC News, Healthline, etc. Learn more about Monica.

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