Do shampoos expire? Does it have an expiration date? Can you use expired shampoo? Check it all out here!
There are times when we get super amazing discounts online or even at our local stores and decide to stock up on the products we use often.
Well, when it comes to stocking up on shampoo, you might want to reconsider your decision.
But reconsider, why? You may ask. Well, do shampoos actually have expiry dates? Can you tell whether a shampoo has gone bad? Can you still use an expired product?
If you’ve clicked on this article means you have unanswered questions and guess what, we’ve got all the answers you’ve been looking for.
So go ahead and get reading guys!
Related: Dry Shampoo Vs Dry Conditioner
Do Shampoos Expire
Here’s the answer you all have been waiting for – yes, shampoos do expire!
There are some shampoo manufacturers who put up certain details on the product label that will help you find out the expiry date.
But according to the FDA, those manufacturers who put out an expiry date on shampoos, are doing it by choice, because it isn’t a requirement by the FDA.
How do I know if shampoo has an expiry date?
Most shampoos have a shelf life of around 24 months or two years, if the shampoo has been stored properly once it has been opened.
But the shelf life of various shampoos can vary from brand to brand, considering the ingredients used.
So here are a few indications manufacturers use on labels, so that customers can know when their product is expiring.
Indication 1: If you find a symbol of a small container with an open lid, with a number along with the alphabet ‘M’ (indicating “months”) written on it (like you see in the image), so for example it could be 12M, 24M, 36M,etc., this is an indication of how long your shampoo will last.
So if your label reads ‘24M’, this means that your shampoo is usable for 24 months or two years from the date of manufacture.
Indication 2: Some manufacturers do not show any symbols (like in indication one), but directly make a statement on their label which will tell you how long you can use their product from the date of manufacturing.
The statement you could look for is “Best before 12 (24 or 36) months from manufacturing”. So all you need to do is, check the date of manufacturing on your label and then estimate how much more time you can use the product.
So for example your manufacturing date is 12/05/2021 and the statement on the label says “best before 12 months from manufacturing”, then this means that you will have to use your shampoo by 12/05/2022.
Indication 3: There are some manufacturers who are kind enough to do the math for you and will properly mention the date of manufacture and also the date of expiry on the label.
So you could look for words like “Mfg”, “Mfn”, “Mfg Date” which will denote the date of manufacturing and words like “Exp”, “Exp Date”, “Use By” or “Best Before”, to find your product’s expiry date.
Some manufacturers also use acronyms like “BB” (for best before) and “UB (for use by).
How do I know if my shampoo is expired
While it can be quite hard to tell if your shampoo has gone bad, especially if you are someone who doesn’t really keep a track of product expiry, then you can look out for a few signs that will indicate that your shampoo is nearing its expiry or has already expired.
You may notice that the color of your shampoo has changed (and usually the color becomes darker) and will begin to have a peculiar smell. This is a very common indication that you might be using an expired shampoo.
Apart from this, there are a few other things that can happen to the quality of the shampoo.
One, the shampoo will become relatively liquidy in consistency and you will notice how a transparent liquid begins to separate from the shampoo itself.
So this means that a watery transparent liquid will flow out of the bottle when you squirt out your shampoo Second, you may find your shampoo coming out in blobs and not in its previously smooth consistency.
Also, there could be times when you might have used your shampoo and eventually found it being ineffective or has caused a certain rash on your scalp.
Lastly, if your shampoo fails the lather test, then it has likely expired. Usually shampoos lather well once massaged onto wet hair.
So if you find that your shampoo is not creating sufficient or any lather for that matter, then the shampoo isn’t fit for use any more.
These are a few ways you could possibly know that your shampoo has gone bad.
Does unopened shampoo expire
Well, usually shampoos can be used without a worry up to their date of expiry.
It is important to note that most shampoos contain chemical ingredients and over time these ingredients can become ineffective after a certain period.
But there are many ways you can improve the shelf life of your shampoo and this is by storing it in the right way.
You can follow the below practices to store your shampoo:
· Keep your shampoo bottle in a cool and dry place. This means that you can store it inside your bathroom cabinet, so as to avoid moisture.
· Do not mix any water into your shampoo. Dilute only how much you need to use each time.
· Fasten the cap of your shampoo bottle so that no air enters.
What happens if you use an expired shampoo
1. You may get a scalp infection
If you have used a shampoo that has expired a long time ago, there are chances that there is bacteria that has collected.
When you use this on your hair, you can have an allergic reaction or it could also react in the form of a bacterial infection on your scalp, causing your scalp to itch and become sore.
If you hadn’t noticed that your shampoo has expired and happen to get an unusual scalp infection, then you might want to check out the expiry date of your shampoo.
If it has expired, discontinue using it with immediate effect.
In case your scalp infection increases, do not panic. Consult a medical professional and get treated for it.
2. Your shampoo will not cleanse your hair
Shampoos are cleansing agents and we use them to get rid of dirt, grime, oil and product buildup from the scalp and hair.
If you are using an expired shampoo, you may find that your hair doesn’t feel as clean anymore.
Well, this is because your shampoo is no longer doing its job because the ingredients have lost their efficacy.
It is important to remember that if your shampoo isn’t “cleansing” your hair any more, it means that over time, there will be buildup accumulated on your scalp and hair.
This can have led to other side effects like dandruff formation and scalp infections due to bacterial formation.
3. Your shampoo will no longer be effective
Most of us buy shampoos specific to our hair type and to treat various hair conditions like dandruff, oiliness, frizziness etc.
So if the shampoo you are using has expired, the ingredients meant to treat these hair conditions will no longer do its job as they would have lost their effectiveness.
There could also be a possibility of a certain amount of hair damage like your hair becoming super frizzy, extra greasy or may feel dry and rough.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about shampoo expiry:
1. Do conditioners too expire like shampoos?
Yes, conditioners too are similar hair products and just like shampoos, they can expire after a certain period of time. The indicators for expiry of shampoos (mentioned above) are applicable to conditioners as well.
2. Is the shelf life the same for all-natural/organic shampoos?
Since all-natural or herbal shampoos are made of natural ingredients; manufacturers do not add any chemicals or too many preserving agents.
So this will make the shelf life of the shampoo much lesser as compared to those shampoos that contain harsh chemicals like parabens and sulfates (SLS, SLES), in addition to other preserving agents.
For those who use homemade shampoos, the shelf life of the shampoo will be a maximum of four days after the shampoo has been refrigerated.
3. Will using an expired shampoo cause hair loss?
Research doesn’t show that using an expired shampoo may not cause any hair loss, but it could cause skin irritation on the scalp.
4. What do I do if my shampoo doesn’t show any expiry date?
Well, most often manufacturers make a note of the date or maybe just the month and year of manufacture on the product label.
So even if the product doesn’t note any expiry date, you can refer to the date of manufacture and estimate the general shampoo expiry and that is generally around a period of two years.
The final takeaway about the expiry date on shampoo
Whenever you shop for a shampoo, make sure to buy a shampoo only once you have carefully read the details of manufacture and expiry on the label.
So it would be best to purchase a shampoo that has been recently manufactured, so that you can use it for a longer period of time before it expires.
Avoid buying shampoos that are already closer to their expiry date because once you’ve opened it, the shelf life will further decrease and the product will not work as efficiently.
Also remember that even though products that contain sulfates and parabens aren’t recommended for the hair, their shelf life will be longer than those shampoos that are organic.
Leah LOVES hair. So much so, she dedicated an entire website to it! One of the founders of Hair Everyday and Chief Editor, Leah enjoys reviewing all the hair products and showcasing the best. She believes her most underrated articles are her hair care tips!