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?
Hi my question is I have used expired livion silky potion…now I am diagnosed with androgenetic alopecia…is it due to the use of expire date or some else reason …kindly help me
I wanted to know that expired oil replace cream is harmful to use ?
I bought a hair mask it’s manufacturing date is 2018 and as usual it said on the label that use it under 12 month its organic but I am concerned because it have oil or watery kinda liquid on surface of my hair mask is it expired? Or not?
Hi, im going to have a bhave hair treatment done at a salon tbis week and was wondering how long the product lasts (epiry date) as last time when i had the treatment done i wasnt happy with the end result so was was wondering could the product have expired? I am worried that i will end up with the end result as my lasr treatment.
Hey, I found in my cabinate coconut curly cream which opened before two years. Is it safe to use it. Thanks
Valerie Dixon says
I have a box perm that wasn’t opened and the year is 1999 on the box. Is it ok to use
I have hair serum expiry date 3/2019 so can I still use as we are 5/2019 or almost 6/2019 they are veiled small bottles
I have just opened a shampoo from the box (unopened and unused) when i check the label it was manufactured 2014 and expired 2017. Is it still safe to use?
Barbara Coffey says
I have an unopened perm that is one year expired, I have kept it inside a closet. Is it safe to use?
Sharon Fawley says
My beautician gave me a Keene perm with the date of 12/21 was that safe to use in my hair. I do have grey hair with some brown in it
Kristine M DiBartolomeo says
Hi, I used a shampoo a couple of times that I bought new, I just noticed it doesn’t smell quite the same as the previous bottles of the same shampoo that I have used in the recent past. The smell is somewhat weaker and just different, not as fragrent or appealing. Now I am worried that about getting some sort of scalp infection. I obviously will not use it anymore. Do you think there is a high risk that I have damaged my hair or scalp or will get an infection???
I have 4 unopened boes of revita shampoo and conditioner. Noticed the rxpiry date is 2016. Is it safe to use
Hi, i have a question, I have a half used X tenso smoothing kit left over since 2015, do you think its safe to use? and will it even work now?
Thanks and sorry for coming across as a miser!
Hi, I have found a Loreal Couleur Experte box unopened in my cupboard. Apparently going by the batch code, it is almost 13 years old ! Should I throw it away? Thanks. Wendy
Hair Romance says
yes, I’d be careful of colour that old and would recommend throwing it away x
Does hair grease expire? I have found some hair grease in my cabinet that I did use and some are still brand new . can I still use them? Are they safe?
Hair Romance says
pomades will last a long time, just check the packaging is sealed and make sure there hasn’t been any contamination
Hello..ive put a hair mask on my hair for an hour yesturday and when i washed it i realised more hair was fslling than usaul..it wasnt very dramatic but it was more hair than the everyday hair that falls..and when i checked the product expires in 2016. Is my hair now damaged or its gone once its washed? Thank you for the info:)
Hair Romance says
Hi Reem, I wouldn’t worry as it’s all rinsed out now 🙂 how does your hair feel?
hi there is something that I can’t understand and I have looked for it and still haven’t found an answer. I mean, everywhere I look about this matter people mention “opening” the product, but most of the products are not really sealed and usually have poorly built packaging, so wouldn’t it still be of concern, as in, should the lifespan count since the day it was manufactured?
Right now I have bought and organic conditioner from Faith in Nature and it was manufactured in 2015 and the bottle says it lasts 6 month after opening. I am concerned. Should I not be? Can you help please?
Hair Romance says
Hi Eli, that’s a good question. It it is closed, it won’t be exposed to air so it should be fine. I’d check the colour and smell of the product and if it looks fine, I wouldn’t worry. Hair products like shampoo and conditioner are not as big a risk as skincare as they are only in contact with your skin for a short time and are rinsed off. Hope this helps x
I am a bit OCD, my L’Oréal shampoo has a code on it to tell you when it was produced. I purchase only from a salon and the bottle I just purchased was made in 2012 versus the one I am finishing off which was made in 2015. I only know because they made a slight ingredient change after 2012. Is it ok to use the bottle made in 2012, which I just purchased?
Hair Romance says
Hi Margaret, if it’s unopened it should be ok. If you can, compare it to your other bottle. If the product looks different (as in smells funny or has a different consistency) then I’d email L’Oreal and ask to swap it for a new one xx
Great read! Thanks for the info!
Hi, I just bought a conditioner and shampoo. Well now it’s 2020 and I just checked on the expiration date and it says 2018, it was manufactured 2015. Is it still safe to use since when I checked the color and smell and texture. It’s normal.