What Happens When Hair Products are Expired?

When Hair Products Expire

If you buy food then are very familiar with expiration dates however most of us overlook that hair products have those same dates. Some of us think since we are not ingesting the products we shouldn’t be concerned. The truth is over 80% of hair products have water or a water based ingredients such as aloe vera juice or hydrosols in them that need to be preserved from mold, yeast and other bacterias. We do not want these things in our hair and definitely not on our scalp.

Let’s talk about the ingredients inside, plant oils, essential oils or fragrance, actives and extracts. The reason why the expiration is put into place is to give us a window when the ingredients are at their best. An example is a hair cream. Over time the oils, actives and extracts will separate. A beautiful whipped lotion is not watery and the smell is no longer there which is an indicator the products are no longer stable. Usually these product are emulsified however most emulsifiers have a shelf life of 18 months, so in that time the products texture and even benefits can change. A scalp spray that has a PH or 6 is now a 10, which is not the best conditions for our skin.

If you have a product such as a shampoo , you have more time to use it because the surfactants (soap) help to preserve the product longer. So we would say 12 months – 18 months. If you have a hair product that contains water and you use your figure to access the product we would say an average time is 6 months. We have to keep in mind that most people aren’t washing their hands every time they use the product, which leads to germs spreading to the product. If your products has no water and you access the products by hand we would give it 12 months.

Using these products after the date would not result in the best experience.

If you’re wondering what to look for on the product container, look out for the little container icon that has a number on it like 6M, 12M, 36M. This is how long the product should last from the day you purchase it. Other containers have the expiration date actually stamped on the bottle. And if you have a product that doesn’t have either of these, then mark it yourself with a marker the day you purchase it.

Let’s keep our curls happy and healthy!