How long do hair and beauty products last? And do hair products expire?
Yes beauty products do have an expiry date once they’re open but hair products have a very long shelf life. There are a few factors affecting the life cycle of your hair and beauty products and here’s a quick guide to know how long your products will last and how to best look after them.
How long do hair and beauty products last on the shelf?
As a guide, hair products will last for around three years unopened on the shelf. This is the same for most beauty products as well, although some organic products have a shorter shelf life.
How long will products last once you open them?
For most hair products, once opened the product will expire in 1-2 years though other factors can alter the shelf life of your beauty products. Contamination is more of a concern than the length of time the product has been open.
Look at the label
There are some labelling regulations in place now on beauty products indicating a recommended time of use. It looks like a small container graphic and says 12m, 24m or even 6m. This is to give you an indication of the months that you can use the product, 12 months, 24 months or only 6 months. Manufacturers would typically be quite conservative with the recommended use by dates. It’s possible to use products longer than these dates but other factors can shorten the product life.
If your product doesn’t have an expiry label, it’s probably going to last around 18 months to two years once opened.
Look beyond the label
If you can’t remember when you bought the product, you can still determine if it’s safe to use.
Have a look at it and compare the product to how it use to look. Does it smell different? Look for any variations in colour, scent and texture. When hair products expire, the fragrance is usually the first thing to change and you may notice a separation of the product. What was once clear becomes cloudy or a product that was quite liquid has become thicker or the reverse. These visual checks will let you know whether it’s still okay to use your old hair and beauty products.
But be honest, if you’re still holding on to a product for longer than 12 months, maybe it’s not right for your hair. You should probably be using it up in that time, so if it’s not the right product for you and it still looks okay, why not give it to a friend?
If you’ve got a heap of extra shampoo lying around, here are 13 other uses for shampoo.
What if the product has just expired?
Now the majority of hair products will be still safe to use just after the recommended use by date but it when it comes to beauty products, you should be more conservative.
The biggest risk for a product expiring is not necessarily the time but how they’ve been stored. It’s quite easy for bacteria to contaminate certain products depending on the packaging. Bacterial infections are more of a concern than the age of the product.
How to store your hair and beauty products
Did you know that it’s better to store your beauty products in the refrigerator? The ideal temperature is not quite as cold as your regular fridge but definitely below the temperature of your steamy bathroom. Perhaps we should invest in a beauty fridge to keep in our bathrooms? That’s probably taking it too far but I will say I always keep my eye cream in the fridge. It feels so lovely and cool when I put it on and that also helps to reduce any puffiness around my eyes.
In reality, a cool, dark place is the best spot to store your beauty products.
Your shower floor is not the best place to keep your unused hair products. I like to rotate my hair products but keep them in another room when they’re not being used. When I wash and style my hair, I’ll take them into the bathroom. Make sure you’re putting the lids back on tightly when you finish using the products too.
This is the safest way to ensure your hair products last longer and minimise the risk of contamination and bacterial growth.
Time for a beauty product audit
So if you’re looking in your crowded bathroom cabinet wondering “do hair products expire?” then it’s time to do a product audit.
This weekend, make time to do an audit of your beauty cupboard and be really honest about how long you’ve kept products and the condition that they’re in. It’s probably a good time to clean all your make-up brushes again as well. You should be doing this once a week for your frequently used brushes.
Let me know in the comments below, how long do you keep your beauty products for? And do you stick to the use by date or do you use them up well before time?