Does Shampoo and Conditioner Expire – Know When to Throw Out Your Products

Everyone knows that hair products get old, but how much time do they have before they turn into worthless white goo? If you have ever read the back of your shampoo bottle and noticed an expiration date, then you may be wondering just how accurate those dates are.

The shampoo industry is not required to provide expiration dates, so there is no standard for how long one can stay on the shelf. Most shampoo bottles do have an expiration date on them, and it is usually a decent estimation for how long the shampoo will last, but it is only an estimation.

So read on to find out does shampoo and conditioner expire for real and when this time comes.

Does Shampoo Have an Expiration Date

The shelf life of shampoo depends on the type of shampoo you have. Chemical shampoos formulated to treat dandruff, hair loss, and scalp conditions tend to last longer than regular shampoos.

Most shampoos do not contain any special preservatives, so the main thing that affects the shelf life of shampoo is how much water is left in the bottle, which is generally the reason why an expiration date is present.

Some bottles of shampoo state an expiration date, while others do not. You can see the opened jar symbol with a number representing the number of months the product should be used by after opening.

If you wonder does dry shampoo expire, here is the answer. Just like anything else, liquid and powder dry shampoo has an expiration date and is not always good after the date it says on the package. This is because once you open the bottle or package, air can get in and contaminate the product. The product can also lose its scent, or the product could get clumpy.

It is generally considered that the dry shampoo has a period of use of at least three years. If the product has a weird smell or if it’s clumpy, then you should throw it away.

You can also see the current regulations from the FDA regarding expiration dates.

Does Hair Conditioner Expire

Technically, it can last forever, but the quality of the product will deteriorate if it is not stored properly. It is best to use a conditioner within 12 months. This is when the ingredients are still at their peak quality.

As with shampoos, you can look for a symbol on the bottle (12M or 24M on the jar).

Ingredients Matter

hair-conditioner

Now you know how long does shampoo last in general, but there are some pitfalls. Some of the things that affect the shelf life of shampoo and conditioner are the preservatives and what the product is made of.

With the chemical preservatives, one of the main ingredients that are used is called a paraben. Parabens will help to stabilize the shampoo and conditioner products. However, some people prefer to use a more natural shampoo and conditioner, and those are not going to have the same preservatives as the commercial products.

Also, if you are using homemade shampoo or shampoo or conditioner that contains a lot of natural ingredients, it is more likely to expire sooner than a commercial product. Chemical ingredients are one reason why homemade products may not have a long shelf life.

Signs That Your Shampoo or Conditioner Has Gone Bad

We know the answer to the question, can shampoo go bad, but how to tell that it has expired. If you see any of the following signs, you should probably throw away the shampoo.

  • The texture of the shampoo has changed. It has become thin or runny.
  • There is a strange smell to the shampoo.
  • The shampoo is slimy, thick, or tacky.
  • There are particles or sediment floating in the shampoo.
  • The shampoo has become dark or discolored.
  • Your head is itchy, or you have a bad rash after you used the shampoo.

You can tell if your conditioner has gone bad, if it smells different than usual or if it has developed a strange odor. If your usual conditioner smells rancid, it probably has gone bad. A good and fresh conditioner should smell pleasant.

Check if the conditioner is leaking. If the bottle is not sealed well, it may have leaked and thus went bad. If your conditioner separates on the surface, it is an indication that it has gone bad.

What Happens if You Use Expired Shampoo or Conditioner

Many women discard their hair shampoos after a certain period of time and buy new ones. This is often due to the fear that using old hair shampoos might have an adverse effect on their hair. However, there is no scientific evidence suggesting that using expired shampoo will do any harm to your locks.

Hair shampoos are made up of chemicals like amino acids, proteins, and vitamins, which have an expiry date. Generally, most of these chemicals are good for about two years.

Using expired hair shampoo will not make your hair fall out and will not make it go grey prematurely. The product just may be way less effective and smell no-so-pleasant. The same goes for conditioners.

How to Prolong Your Shampoo’s Shelf Life

Besides avoiding direct sunlight, one of the best ways to make your shampoo last longer is to store it in a cool, dry place. You want to avoid extremes of heat or cold. Because heat and cold can affect the consistency of the product, this can also make it more likely to expire.

Heat accelerates the chemical reactions of oxidation and degradation, which reduces the shelf life of shampoo. The more you can keep the shampoo away from heat, the better.

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Concluding

The shelf life of these products depends on the type of product and the ingredients. If these products have been sitting on your shelf for a long time, and you are not sure if they are still good, then I would recommend using your nose! If the shampoo or conditioner smells fine, then it’s probably safe to use. If it smells funky, then don’t use it!

Whew! That was a lot of information, but I hope that you found this post to be helpful! This is one of the posts in my series on the shelf life of beauty products, so be sure to check back for more!

Thank you so much for reading!

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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