If you buy something through my links, I may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. For more information, read the full disclosure here.
I independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you buy something through the links on the site, I may earn an affiliate commission (at no cost to you). For more information, read the full disclosure here. Thanks for your support!
Are you holding onto a bottle of shampoo that’s been in your shower for far too long? Have you ever checked for an expiration date on its label? Have you wondered at least once, does shampoo expire?
While it may seem like an unnecessary expense to purchase new shampoo often, it might be necessary to ensure that you get the best of the product and avoid unwanted side effects.
In this article, we’ll explore whether or not shampoo does expire. Please stick with me as we uncover important information you need to know before using any old bottles again.
Does Shampoo Expire?
The answer to this question is that shampoo – just like all personal-care products – does expire. However, the question of when shampoo expires is not as straightforward as that.
According to FDA, “a product’s “shelf life” generally means the length of time you can expect a product to look and act as expected and to stay safe for use. This length of time varies, depending on the type of product, how it is used, and how it is stored.”
While we know that shampoo expires, FDA does not “require cosmetics to have specific shelf lives or have expiration dates on their labels.” It is up to the manufacturers to label an expiration date, and some don’t.
How To Tell if Your Shampoo Has Expired
We have established that shampoo expires in approximately two years, but is there any way you can tell if yours has gone bad sooner?
Knowing how to tell if your shampoo has expired will give you the confidence that you’re not damaging your hair with outdated products.
The first step in determining if a product has reached its expiry date is checking the packaging for clues. If there is no information about when it should be discarded, then take note of when you bought or opened it and keep track of time.
Pro tip: You can always check with the manufacturer for details on the expiration date. That is why customer service is for!
How can you tell if a shampoo is expired? Here are the telltale signs:
- Changes in Texture – Excessively sudsy formulas could mean that bacteria have started growing inside.
- Changes in Color – Discoloration implies oxidation due to prolonged exposure to air.
- Changes in Smell – Funny odors coming from your shampoo bottle can indicate bacteria or fungi growth.
- Sediment formation – Solid chunks forming at one end could indicate mold growth while thickening around other parts means the separation of components.
How Long Can Shampoo Last Before It Goes Bad?
Now that you know that your bottle of shampoo does expire, you might be wondering how long shampoo can last before it goes bad.
Just like you read above, the answer depends on several factors, such as the type of shampoo and how it’s stored and used.
The shelf life of a product is largely defined by its formulation. Each ingredient has a different expiration date, while several additives, like preservatives, prolong shelf life.
Many shampoos have a manufacturing lot number printed on them, which includes information such as when it was made and when it expires. Others have an indication of “period after opening.”
That is usually represented with an open container that features a number and the letter “M” inside, for example, 12M. The M translates into months, and the number indicates that after X number of months after opening, you should discard the product.
The expiration date or “period after opening” may be listed directly under the ingredients list or near the barcode on the back of some bottles. However, there are shampoo bottles with no such indications.
In those cases, keep in mind that unopened bottles of shampoo will remain effective for two to three years if they’re stored properly (more on that later). Opened bottles may start to lose their effectiveness after about six months if not properly sealed and stored correctly.
Personal usage habits are another factor to consider when determining whether or not your shampoo has expired.
If you are using the same bottle for months – no matter how well stored – there’s always going to be some degree of deterioration due to regular exposure and handling during washing sessions.
Generally speaking, any product used more than twice per week should be replaced every six months, regardless of its original expiration date, to ensure quality hygiene standards over prolonged periods of usage.
Does Natural Shampoo Expire Faster Than Synthetic Shampoo?
The question of whether natural shampoo expires faster than synthetic shampoo is a complex one with no definitive answer.
Synthetic shampoos usually contain artificial chemicals and preservatives to help them last longer in the bottle or tube. On the other side, natural shampoos are made primarily from naturally sourced ingredients and tend to lack these additives.
One study indicates that natural ingredients such as plant extracts, oils, and waxes can be prone to oxidation and degradation over time, which can reduce their effectiveness and potentially lead to rancidity.
So, the answer tends to be that synthetic or chemical ingredients may be more stable and have a longer shelf life. Therefore, natural shampoos can expire sooner than their synthetic counterparts.
What Can Affect The Shelf Life Of Shampoo?
Factor number one is the ingredients list. The most important parameter is the type of preservative that’s used in the shampoo.
Many shampoos contain either parabens or formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, both of which can degrade over time and reduce the effectiveness of a product.
It’s also important to note that certain ingredients may cause your shampoo to spoil more quickly than others.
Certain fragrances may cause oxidation or discoloration in some shampoos, reducing their shelf life. Also, natural oils, like coconut oil, can oxidize more quickly than other ingredients.
The second factor that affects a shampoo’s longevity is its exposure to light and heat. UV radiation from sunlight can damage some ingredients found in shampoos, making them less effective over time.
Heat also accelerates chemical reactions within products like shampoo. If left too long at improper temperatures for storage, they will break down much faster than intended.
Contamination can also play a role in shortening a shampoo’s shelf life. Bacteria or fungi feel comfortable growing inside your water-based shampoo.
This is usually prevented by preservatives and other ingredients. However, if you handle your shampoo with dirty hands or leave the contents exposed to the moist air of the bathroom, this can facilitate germ buildup.
How To Properly Store Shampoo For A Longer Shelf Life
To ensure maximum freshness and potency for your product, it’s best practice to store your shampoo properly!
Make sure all bottles are tightly sealed after each use. This will reduce oxidation and contamination from external sources like dust particles or bacteria which can cause spoilage over time.
It is best to keep your products in a cool, dry place away from heat sources such as radiators or windowsills whenever possible. Keeping shampoo away from heat, light, and humidity is essential, as these can cause the product to degrade over time.
My Advice: Try not to overcrowd your bathroom cabinet or shower caddy with too many bottles! This increases the chances of spills occurring and contaminating other products within reach.
You can transfer unused portions into smaller containers, such as travel-sized bottles. Just remember to never fill these all the way up because no room for air could potentially lead to bacteria growth!
Properly storing shampoo can reassure you won’t have to say goodbye to your shampoo earlier than expected. Following these tips will ensure you can enjoy your favorite bottle of sudsy goodness for as long as possible!
Can You Use Expired Shampoo?
We all want to get the most out of our personal care products. But is it OK to use expired shampoo? The answer is that using a bottle of shampoo past its expiration date is not such a good idea.
For starters, when shampoo expires, it becomes less effective at cleaning the hair. It may not be able to remove excess oil and buildup from the hair, leaving it greasy and weighed down. It may also leave a residue on the hair that can make it appear dull and lifeless.
Even though you may want to use up every last drop, it is essential to remember that expired products, including shampoo, can be harmful to our health. Here are the reasons why:
Using expired shampoo can have negative health effects on both the scalp and hair. As shampoo ages, it can harbor harmful bacteria and fungi, which can cause scalp irritation, itching, and dandruff.
The accumulation of such bacteria on the scalp can also lead to hair follicle inflammation, weakening the hair roots and causing hair fall. Additionally, expired shampoo may contain oxidized ingredients that can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation.
So, my answer to your question: It is definitely not worth the risk!
Does Shampoo Expire? A Conclusion
It is important to remember that shampoo does not expire in the traditional sense of the word. However, over time air and other contaminants can cause chemical changes in shampoo, which can make it less effective or potentially even dangerous.
To ensure you are using safe and effective products, always check the expiration date if available and store your shampoo properly. Taking good care of your products can help ensure they last as long as possible before needing replacement.
While you might think you’re saving money by using your beloved shampoos beyond the expiry date, you might be putting yourself at risk. So don’t take any chances with expired shampoos–just throw them away!
Frequently Asked Questions