Have Your Hair Products Expired?


If you’ve been hoarding gifts from 2 Christmases ago then you might want to read this post before putting any of them near your hair. Just because you don’t use a product that often doesn’t mean it won’t go off any quicker and yes hair products definitely have expiry dates.

Most hair products will last between 1 year to 18 months once you’ve opened them so it’s likely you’ll use them up in that time anyway. However if you’re a bit of a beauty hoarder then taking notes of expiry dates is going to be really important for you. Here’s what you need to know...


Always check the PAO

The period-after-opening symbol is normally on the back of the product and will give you an idea of the life of the product after you open it. If your product has one it’ll be at the back, next to the barcode and is a little jar with a number underneath and the letter M. This number is the amount of months the product will last after you open it so it’s worth remembering when you bought it so you know when it’s time to let it go.

As haircare products aren’t required by law to have a period-after-opening symbol you might not have one on your bottle. If that’s the case we’ve put together a quick list to give you a rough time of how long your hair products will last. As a general rule if anything smells a little funky or has changed consistency we definitely wouldn’t recommend putting it on your hair but if it’s not that obvious then this is what you need to know.


Shampoo & Conditioner

Most shampoos and conditioners will last around a year which gives you plenty of time to get through them. As these are normally our most used hair care items it figures they’re unlikely to go off before you finish them anyway. In the meantime it’s a good shout not to leave your bottles at the bottom of your shower. This is because it’s way easier for water to get into the packaging and speed up the production of bacteria (eww) which will make them go off way quicker and could dilute the ingredients so that they’re less effective.


Aerosols, Hair Sprays, Mousse

These last the longest out of all your hair products because they are less exposed to air and your skin so they pick up less bacteria. A hairspray or mousse can last up to 18 months once they’re opened so they have a really long shelf life in comparison to other products. The most obvious indicator that a hairspray is past its prime is that it no longer holds your hair and has lost its scent. With a moose you’ll know when it’s gone off as it’ll start to look really watery and won’t hold it’s shape once it comes out of the bottle.


Serums, Gels, Creams

These types of products normally last around 12 months in a pump bottle but if they’re in a tin it’s going to be way less. This is because dipping your hands in a product will contaminate it with bacteria way quicker so it’ll start to go off more rapidly. A change in smell or consistency is the biggest indicator that it’s time to chuck out a product so don’t ignore anything that looks off.


Use the Beauty Keeper App

This isn’t going to work for all your products as the brand list on Beauty Keeper isn’t that big but it’s still a really useful tool to have. Beauty Keeper is basically an app where you can type in the serial number on your product and it’ll tell you when it was made and the expiry date. Some of the hair care brands included are Aveda, Balmain, Batiste, Head & Shoulders, Herbal Essences and Moroccanoil. Once you’ve found out the expiry date of your products you can save them to your account too and keep track of everything including your makeup.

What if you haven’t opened your products yet?

Anything that’s still sealed can last up to 3 years provided that it’s unopened. So if you’re someone who likes to stock up on beauty products make sure that you only use one at a time to avoid wasting anything. That being said if you buy something with all natural ingredients it definitely won’t last that long so you might want to avoid bulk buying any hair care from LUSH.

What happens if you accidentally use expired hair products?

Don’t panic, you’ll be totally fine! It’s highly unlikely that something just past its best would cause any damage other than not performing in your hair how you want it to. The only time you might get irritated is if it’s full of bacteria but in that case it would smell really bad and may even be moldy so you wouldn’t have put it on your hair in the first place.