Do Shampoos Expire | A Guide To Old, Expired Shampoos

by Helen Sroski

Do shampoos expire? And if they do can use them after their expiration date? Would it harm hair or scalp? Find out answers to all these questions right here in this article!

When you have old shampoo on hand, it is important to pay attention to the shampoo’s expiration date.

Shampoo that has passed its expiration date may have deteriorated or altered ingredients, and it is not recommended to use it without paying attention.

In this article, I will explain the expiration date of shampoo by type of shampoo and let you know if that opened/unopened old shampoo is in a good condition or not. 

I have also elaborated the correct way to store shampoo and points to keep in mind when refilling.

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Do Shampoos Expire

Yes, shampoos do expire. If a shampoo is way past its expiration date, it might lead to bacterial growth in the formula (especially if the product contains organic ingredients). 

Also, the ingredients in expired shampoos might lose their potency or even undergo a chemical reaction to become a completely different competence altogether. 

In this article I’ve listed out how to check expiry date of shampoo if it’s opened, unopened or a refill type product. Check it out! 

Expiration date for unopened shampoo

For unopened shampoo, one guideline for the expiration date is approximately three years from the date of manufacture.

Shampoo is classified as a cosmetic or a quasi-drug, and its quality control and labeling are strictly regulated by the FDA under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).

Under the FDA, hair cleansing products whose quality is stable even after three years from the date of manufacture do not need to be labeled with an expiration date.

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However, since it depends on storage conditions and other factors, it is not necessarily true that the product has not deteriorated just because it has been in use for less than three years.

If there is an expiration date on the product, please be sure to observe the expiration date as stated.

Expiration date of shampoo after opening

The preservative capacity of shampoo after opening the bottle is usually six months to a year.

The expiration date on the bottle is only for unopened bottles. Once opened, the shampoo is exposed to air and the ingredients will gradually change.

Regardless of the expiration date, it is recommended to use up the shampoo as soon as possible after opening the package.

Keep in mind that shampoo that has been left in the bathtub, in particular, is exposed to a hot and humid environment, and will change and deteriorate quickly.

Expiration date for organic shampoos

Organic shampoos often have a use-by date of 1.5 to 2 years, even if unopened.

This is because organic shampoos use more natural ingredients and many of them are preservative-free, and their quality deteriorates more easily than ordinary shampoos.

Expiration date of chemical shampoo

The expiration date of chemical or clarifying shampoos is the same as that of regular shampoos, which is three years if unopened.

Even after opening the package, if the package is still tightly sealed, the shampoo will last from six months to a year.

However, if the shampoo is exposed to air or water, it should not be used if it is stored in a poor condition.

Expiration date for other hair treatments

The expiration date for conditioners and treatments is the same as for shampoos.

The standard expiration date is three years for unopened conditioners and six months to one year for opened conditioners.

The expiration date is shorter for organic shampoos.

How to tell if shampoo has expired

When there is a strange odor from the shampoo

If the shampoo smells strange, it is a sign that bacteria have grown. Never use it as using it may cause eczema or itching on the scalp, or in some cases, skin inflammation.

If shampoo is separated

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Shampoo is normally in an emulsified state, with the various ingredients mixed together homogeneously.

When shampoo is used after its expiration date, the ingredients gradually separate, causing water and oil to float to the surface and the color to become marbled.

Use of shampoo with deteriorated ingredients is strictly prohibited as it may cause scalp problems.

How to store shampoo to extend it’s life

How to store unopened shampoo

When storing unopened shampoo, it is important to avoid high temperatures and humidity.

Keep it in a well-ventilated place, not in the bathroom.

Some shampoos have a short expiration date, so be sure to check the label on the bottle in advance and use up the shampoo before the expiration date passes.

How to store opened shampoo

Opened shampoo is also susceptible to high temperature and humidity, and if left in the bathroom, it is prone to deterioration and bacteria growth.

Even so, if the shampoo is used up in a short period of time, there is no problem with leaving it in the bathroom.

However, if it is going to take a long time to use up the shampoo, be sure to pull the shampoo out of the bathroom one at a time.

It is also necessary to make sure that water does not get into the bottle, as water can easily alter the shampoo if it gets mixed in.

How to store shampoo refills

Many people buy refills of shampoo.

When refilling shampoo bottles, it is important to clean the inside of the bottle and dry it thoroughly before refilling.

If you add new shampoo to the bottle when the bottle is running low, you will start using the shampoo with water and bacteria in it from the beginning, which will accelerate the deterioration of the shampoo.

Please clean the bottle when you refill it.

Can expired shampoo cause hair loss

No, expired shampoo won’t cause hair loss. At least not directly. There needs to be considerable bacterial or fungal growth in the expired shampoo for it to impact scalp health. 

However, hair loss is typically caused by hormonal imbalance, stress, poor diet, nutritional deficiencies and stress, poor diet, nutritional deficiencies and other medical conditions like hypothyroidism. 

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The one thing that can happen is that the shampoo might not mix as well with your hair because the ingredients don’t dissolve as well in your hair. 

Also the active ingredients in shampoos break down over time and become less effective. At the same time, bacteria grow in the liquid, and make it more likely to cause an infection in the scalp and hair follicles.

So the worse it is to wear the shampoo, the more likely it is that it will cause a skin infection, which if left unchecked can cause hair loss and other damage to the skin and hair.

You should not use your shampoo for more than three months after the printed date appears on the bottle. You should also check the ingredients because some of them degrade at different rates.

Can you use expired shampoo

No, you should not use expired shampoo. The main reason is the bacterial growth. 

Expired shampoos are a breeding ground for bacteria especially if they have natural, organic ingredients or are preservative-free. These bacteria may end up causing scalp issues. 

Another reason is that the ingredients may not be as effective as they used to be. They may not be able to deliver the same cleaning, conditioning or volumizing functions. 

The active ingredients may also degrade over time, which will result in weaker products.

Summary of shampoo expiration dates

In this article I have explained the expiration date of shampoo and introduced the correct storage method and points to keep in mind when refilling.

Although shampoo may have an image of being somewhat perishable, because it contains a lot of water, it will inevitably deteriorate and change in quality over time.

Forcing yourself to use shampoo past its expiration date may cause unexpected scalp problems.

As shampoo comes in direct contact with your precious scalp, make sure to use shampoo in accordance with the expiration date.

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