Do Haircare Products Expire? Signs to Look for
Surprisingly, your hair products have an expiration date. So, if you've got a bunch of opened or unopened products that have been sitting in your beauty cabinet for months and months, it may be time to assess whether they're for keeps -- or for kicks.
The trouble with using expired hair products is that they don't perform as well as they once did. Those unaware of a hair product's shelf life may continue using without realizing that their shampoo, conditioner, or frizz-taming formulation is doing nothing for them. In some cases, hair care products that have reached their expiry date may even cause issues like scalp irritation, dryness, and burning.
Here are the signs it's time to throw your hair masks, gels, and hairsprays away so you can do right by your mane.
#1: The Expiry Date
Almost all beauty products should have an expiry date stamped on the packaging. This is especially true of organic products and natural hair products that generally have a shorter shelf life.
Look for the expiry date, and see what it says. That said, not all products come with an expiry date. In that case, you'll need to watch out for the signs yourself so you know when it's time to throw them away.
#2: Your Product Smells Weird
Rancid smelling serum or dry shampoo definitely isn't a good sign. In fact, it's a clear indicator that your hair products are destined for the trash can. If you've got a huge accumulation of hair products, and you can't remember when you first opened them -- or bought them, even -- giving them a quick whiff should be able to tell you whether or not they're for keeps.
#3: Your Product is Lumpy
Discard shampoos, conditioners, or any other hair products that have a lumpy texture. It means they're no longer usable.
Oftentimes, products change texture when stored at the wrong temperature, in direct sunlight, or simply on our shelves for too long. If your product used to glide smoothly onto your palms and now all you get is one lumpy mess, just get rid of it. It's not worth the risk of irritating your skin and losing out on the hair care benefits another product could offer you. And for the future, remember to always store your products in a cool, dark, dry place. It'll make your hair products last a little longer.
#4: It Doesn't Really Work Anymore
From your mousse to your masks, products that no longer perform as well as they used to may signify it's time to breakup -- for good.
Every time you open a product and dip your fingers into it, you are exposing the product to air, bacteria, and heat. If you have been using the same old deep conditioning treatment for two to three years, chances are it is contaminated. Although at that age, it's probably also expired.
If your products aren't performing as they should, you might want to consider replacing them.
#5: It Leaves Your Scalp Feeling Itchy
If you have started to experience itching, burning, or dryness when using your fave shampoo or hair growth ointment, you might need to re-examine it. Your irritation may be linked to a change in your product's formulation which happens when the product passes its shelf life.
If you suspect this has happened with your product, toss your old product, re-stock it, and head over to a dermatologist for treatment.
When hair products expire, it's not uncommon for them to irritate the scalp. To avoid that, make sure you're using and replacing your products in time. And always keep track of how your products feel, look, and smell before applying them directly to your hair or scalp.
#6: Your DIY Hair Mask is Still Sitting in the Fridge -- Several Weeks Later
As a rule of thumb, DIY masks or any homemade formulations for the hair, should only be kept around one week. Unlike store-bought products, DIY formulations spoil easily since they don't contain preservatives to keep them fresh. It's best to create homemade products in small batches so you don't end up having to throw too much away.
#7: Your Products are Causing Buildup
Out of date smoothing serums or hairstyling sprays typically don't penetrate the hair that well. For that reason, it's easy for old products to cause buildup, leaving your strands greasy, limp, and lacklustre. Get rid of them asap, and recover your tresses using fresh, new products.
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While you may not be able to find an exact expiration date on your hair care products, many beauty brands include an PAO (period after opening) stamp on the bottle that tells you how long it should last once it's been opened. In the meantime, remember to store your products in a dry, dark place with a consistent temperature to prevent them from spoiling before the expiration date.