Is Your Shampoo Expired?

How to Tell When It’s Time to Replace Your Shampoo and Conditioner

woman in towel blowing bubbles off hand in bathroom

Have you looked at that bottle of shampoo recently and wondered, "How long have I even had this?" It's not uncommon for us to collect many hair and beauty products and lose track of when we bought them.

Like cosmetics, shampoo and hair products tend to have a long shelf life and expiry dates.

Those half-empty shampoo bottles and conditioners hanging out in your bathroom might be well past their expiration date, and using them may compromise the cleanliness and ultimate health of your hair.

Let's delve a bit deeper to explore how long shampoo lasts, how to tell if yours has gone bad, and 5 expert tips for keeping your shampoo fresh for as long as possible.

Does Shampoo Expire?

Shampoo is not eternal. If you're wondering what the shelf life of your favorite shampoo is, the answer varies based on its formula. Always check the manufacturer's recommendation if you're unsure. 

How Long Does Shampoo Last?

Reputable haircare brands are transparent about their formulas and their manufacturing process. They are active in the entire lifecycle of their products, meaning they go the extra mile to inform customers how long they can expect their purchase to last.

Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require hair products and cosmetics brands to provide expiration dates, many do anyway.

Check the back of your shampoo bottle, and look for a symbol of an open container. This represents the "period after opening" date, which is how long it's safe to use a product after it has been opened.

For most shampoos, you will see "12 M," "18 M," or "24 M" printed on the container. This stands for 12 months, 18 months, and 24 months respectively.

Can't find the symbol? All hope isn't lost if your shampoo doesn't contain this symbol or indicate how long it's good for. There are some warning signs that shampoo is going bad that signal it's time to replace your product.

How to Tell if Your Shampoo Is Expired

As with beauty products, you can generally tell when shampoo is reaching its expiry date if you notice changes in its consistency or performance.

For starters, pop open the lid and sniff the inside of the bottle. Does the shampoo smell strange or have an unpleasant odor? Or maybe you find that it lacks any scent, meaning the added fragrance has worn off.

Check inside the bottle to take a closer look at the product. If it appears clumpy, is too runny, or has changed color, these are all telltale signs that it's no longer good to use.

Beyond these visible symptoms, you can also gauge a shampoo's shelf life by its efficacy. If it doesn't produce a decent lather, it may no longer be working the way it intended. 

Additionally, pay attention to how your hair looks and your scalp after a shower. Does your hair feel extra dry or perhaps too oily? Does it feel like you didn't really wash it at all despite making sure you massaged it well into your scalp?

If your scalp is irritated, itchy, or flaking, your shampoo may be too old and affect the skin. 

Does Hair Conditioner Expire?

If you're looking into the shelf life of hair products, then you're bound to ask, "Does shampoo and conditioner expire?"

Just like with your shampoo, your hair conditioner won't last forever. The same warning signs apply. In addition to any physical changes, pay close attention to how the product performs and the effect it has on your hair and scalp.


Tips for Preserving Shampoo and Conditioner

While every product eventually needs to be replaced, you can preserve your hair products for longer by following some of these professional tips.

  • Store all of your hair products in a dark space, like under your bathroom counter.
  • Keep products at room temperature and avoid direct sunlight or excessive heat.
  • Always close your shampoo and conditioner when you're done using it.
  • Do not mix products in the same bottle.
  • Avoid getting water into the bottles to prevent it from affecting the formula.

It's also a good idea to choose high-end products with a stylist's approval. For example, we love Biotera and Quantum shampoos and conditioners. When you go for a brand that has been backed by professionals, you can expect a better shelf life and more outstanding results across the board. This means deeper cleaning, less dryness, and more volume and shine.

Choosing the right shampoo also plays a significant role in its efficacy. It can also impact how long your hair dye lasts. Make sure that you use products designed to support your 'do, whether that's a curl-nourishing formula, strengthening shampoo, or color-protecting blend.

Is It Safe to Use Shampoo After It Expires?

Using expired hair care products just isn't worth it. 

After shampoo expires, you can't be sure that it will clean and perform works the way it was meant to.  So, it's best to replace that old shampoo bottle with a new one.  

Pro tip: Write the date you open a new product on the bottom of the bottle with a permanent marker. This will ensure you always have an easy way to check when you started using it and know when to replace it.

Get Matched With the Right Hair Products for You

Connect with one of our stylists right now through our hotline or LiveChat to get custom matched with your dream hair products. We can help you find the most nourishing, effective formulas for your hair type and style, from the right shampoo and conditioner to styling products.