I can’t resist the temptation of seeing the hair dye I use on sale. And even though I don’t need dying at the moment, my first instinct is to buy it so that I can use it in the future. But I recently started wondering, does hair dye expire? If yes, why? How to store it properly?
After hours and hours of research on the topic, I have discovered that unfortunately: YES, hair dye has an expiration date just like any other hair care product. Therefore, a mixed one cannot last longer than a day. You’ll have to use all of it immediately or throw the rest.
However, what about the unopened hair dyes? Do they expire? Unopened ones can stand a few years without becoming useless or turn bad. And if you buy a hair dye that has expired, and use it, some side effects such as hair loss or burning sensation can apply.
How long can you keep unopened hair dye?
Most hair dye brands claim that their unopened products last for three years, while other brands state that their products last forever. However, that didn’t sound that reasonable to me. So, I’ve decided to continue my research and discover all I needed to know about it.
I have discovered essential things that I believe most people don’t know about hair dyes.
For example, do you know how long you can keep an opened hair dye? According to my in-depth research, only professional hair dyes expire after 1 or 2 years after being opened, which is not the case with cult products and drugstore brands.
They expire faster. However, have you ever wondered why does hair dye spoil in first place after you open it? Let’s find out.
Why does hair dye spoil in the first place?
As I mentioned earlier, hair dyes have an expiration date and spoil after time, just like any other beauty product. However, knowing what causes the product to spoil fast can help you extend the life of the product.
First, let’s talk about the possible factors that can cause a boxed, brand new hair dye to spoil in the first place. After, scroll down for an opened color.
Unopened hair dye
Moisture: Although water and humidity will not spoil your hair dye directly, they will compromise the package. Water may cause small oxidation that is slower than air exposure but still exists.
Direct sunlight: If you warm up the product inside the box, it becomes useless. The heat will separate the ingredients. Meaning, direct sunlight can contribute to the spoilage of unopened hair dyes.
Package damage: No matter if it’s about piercing, tearing or any other kind of package damage, it can cause a hair dye to spoil because of sun exposure and moisture, the factors we have mentioned.
Open hair dye
Macrobiotic factors: Some microorganisms thrive from the ammonia contained in hair dyes. Combine this info with the fact that dark and cold environment is their perfect dwelling space and you will get yourself a problem. Next on my list of possible reasons why used hair dyes spoil is:
Chemical reaction: Once you open a hair dye, you leave space for your color to come in touch with different elements. And since you probably know that hair dye is reactive to almost anything, it is clear to you why some chemical reactions might cause your product to spoil a lot faster.
Air: Just like water, air causes oxidation but a much faster one. Why? Well, most hair dyes contain peroxide that quickly reacts with the oxygen, which makes it useless afterward.
Why hair dyes have no expiration date?
If you don’t dye your hair often, you probably haven’t noticed that most hair dyes do not have an expiration date. However, freaks who worship hair dye such as myself know that brands excluded expiration date on the package of hair dyes since a couple of years ago.
According to recent studies, hair dyes can last forever if stored properly. Stick till the very end to learn how to store it properly. You might be wondering: how can hair dyes last indefinitely? Well, they don’t. If not saved correctly, a hair dye will spoil quickly.
It’s okay that brands excluded the expiration date to promote their products as ‘forever lasting.’ However, they should have mentioned that proper storage plays a crucial role in a product’s lifespan.
If you place your hair dye in a cold, dark place after opening, you can use it again in the future. However, no one has a light-free and moist-free mini-fridge that can be used to store things like this.
Neither do supermarkets and drug stores that store these products. No hair care products will last forever. They all become useless over time.
If you suspect that you have bought an expired hair dye, you can either guess the time of production by the code that the company printed on the package for tracking. Or call the firm directly and ask for the exact expiration date of the hair dye that you have bought.
Is it safe to use expired hair dye?
Absolutely, not. This product has two primary purposes. First is to change the color of your hair.
Second is protecting your hair and skin while doing it. After all, you’re applying chemicals to your scalp, aren’t you? Meaning, if you apply an expired product, you can affect both of these functions. However, different people show different effects of using expired dyes.
And different hair care products cause various side effects. However, I am discussing expired hair dye, so let’s focus on expired hair dye side effects and review some of them.
Just remember, I don’t recommend using expired hair dye. It will cost you more money to get rid or cure the side effects. Meaning, you will lose money on the same product, twice.
- Brittle hair
- Frizzy hair
- Itchy scalp
- Itchy skin
- Allergic reaction to other products
- Burning sensation
- Uneven color distribution
- Color washing off quickly
- Redness (forehead and ears)
- Extreme skin burning (rare)
- Teary eyes (not common)
Does splat hair dye expire after opening it?
My research says that any mixed hair dye should be used within a day of being mixed. It’s ideally to apply it within 2 hours after preparing the mixture. This is why hair stylists and professional hairdressers tend to dry and style your hair immediately after dying. They do so, in order to provide complete coverage and prepare more of the product fast if needed.
However, unlike regular hair dye, a splat hair dye does not require a developer. Meaning, if you leave the bottle open with the applier still fixed, the color will dry out and spoil faster. But as long you store the bottle firmly and adequately sealed, your splat color should be fine.
Do hair products have expiration dates?
Of course, they do. Even though many brands swear that their hair products ‘last forever’, the truth is that nothing lasts forever. Usually, the shelf life of hair products, including an unopened hair dye is about three years. There’s no denying that the marketing slogan ‘lasts forever’ is appealing. But trust me when I say that all hair products have a limited lifespan.
Also, you should pay close attention to some conditions if you want to expand the lifespan of your hair products such as sun exposure, moisture, and package damage. It’s something that companies forget to mention quite often. Pay attention to room temperature as well.
Although it’s suggested to keep hair dyes at room temperature, it doesn’t apply if you live in a hot climate. In this case, you should store your hair dye in a cold and dark place. Just because some brands don’t care about your money, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t either.
Does semi-permanent hair dye expire?
So far, we have concluded that hair dye types and brands vary when it comes to the expiration date. Some claim that their dyes last forever, while others suggest that you should not expect an internal lifespan of their hair products, especially permanent and semi-permanent hair dyes. They both will expire after some time due to different factors.
How to tell if your hair dye has expired?
You can determine if your hair color has expired/spoiled by the following noticeable signs.
However, the first signs apply to unopened hair dyes. If you already opened the package or you used the product, jump to sign four directly and determine if the hair dye has expired.
- Swelling. Check the package for any swelling. Ia hair dye has already expired, it will show on the bottle The only time you should skip this is when your dye is packed in a hard container that does not allow other chemicals inside and cannot change shape.
- Package damage. This is the second common sign of a spoiled hair dye. I’ve already mentioned that the package damage can lead to chemical reaction or oxidation from air and water. So, make sure that your unopened hair dye has no packaging damage.
- Check for spoilage signs around the lid/cap of the bottle. It’s likely gotten loose and let oxygen in. Loose caps and lids will open more quickly than factory sealed caps and covers. Also, a red or yellow circle might appear around the opening if spoiled.
- Open the container with care. Hold it straight. After, slowly shake your hair dye to notice any change in the color. If you notice a see-through, water-like fluid coming out, chemicals have split. Meaning, your hair dye has probably expired and gone bad.
- Squeeze some of the dye out and notice if there’s a green/yellow/orange tinge. If there is, your hair dye is already spoiled. However, check with the product box if it is something that should typically appear. If it’s not mentioned, you should chuck it.
- Smell the mixture. If your hair dye has expired, it should smell like metallic, sweet, or some other weird scent than the regular smell of a brand new unspoiled hair dye.
- Mix the color. Usually, hair dye will appear lighter than the shade you want to get. Once you begin mixing, it will transform into the wanted color. If you don’t get the desired color, your hair dye has oxidized. In other words, your hair dye has expired.
Now: let’s learn how to store hair dye properly. Remember that no hair products, including hair dyes, last forever. However, proper storage can extend the lifespan of your hair dye.
How to store your hair dye properly?
I’ve mentioned some details about the storage of hair dyes throughout this article. If you paid enough attention, you probably noticed that the best way to store your hair dye is in a cold and dark place. However, no one has a mini-fridge that’s light-free and moisture-free.
The easiest way to prevent your hair dye from spoilage is by firmly sealing the bottle and placing it in a sanitized refrigerator. If you couldn’t resist the temptation of buying a hair dye on sale, pay attention to the temperature. Even though most companies state it is fine to keep your dye at room temperature, this doesn’t apply if you live in a hotter state/city.
Let’s repeat once again: yes, hair dye DOES expire. However, different factors contribute to the spoilage and expiration of your hair dye. You take steps into extending the lifespan of your hair dye. Just follow the advice I presented in this article, and you will do just fine.
I sincerely hope that this article helped you answer most of your questions associated with hair dye. Don’t trust everything brands say to sell their hair product but feel free to make independent research on the topic and find out the real truth before you make a purchase.