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Does Shampoo Expire and What to Do If It Has Expired?

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Shampoo Can Expire

Expiration Date

How to know if your shampoo is expired

What will happen if you use expired shampoo?

How to you increase the shelf life of hair products

If you use your shampoo over a long period of time, you may wonder whether it’s still good for use or it’s already expired.

But unlike food products, cosmetic products often lack expiration date stamps. So how to know if your shampoo has gone bad or it’s still good to go?

This article will help you in this situation! We will also look into the effects of using expired shampoo on hair and scalp.

Let’s get started!

Shampoo Can Expire

In short, YES, shampoo products expire. However, their shelf life (the period of time they are usable) strongly depends on the brand, type of shampoo, used ingredients, presence of chemicals, and storage conditions.

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Expiration Date

Even though there are no expiration date stamps on shampoo bottles, you can still figure out when your shampoo will go off.

Shampoo products expire after about 3 years, if the bottle remains unopened.

Period after opening

Take a look at your shampoo bottle and locate a symbol looking like a small container with the lid off. In the middle of the symbol, you can see a number and the letter M.

This is the PAO label, which indicates for how long you can use a cosmetic product after opening it. The number in the symbol indicates the number of months the product is usable (M=months).

Generally, PAO labels range from 3 to 36 months. However, shampoo labels typically recommend using the product within 12-24 months, depending on the specific brand. This means that your shampoo will likely go bad after about 18 months (or a year and a half) after you open it.

This general suggestion is valid for both liquid, dry, and solid bar shampoos. To be sure about the exact period after opening, look at the label of your shampoo and conditioner.

Related: How Often Should You Wash Your Hair? [ According to YOUR Hair Type ]

Does Shampoo Expire PAO label

Batch code

If you don’t find a PAO symbol on your shampoo’s label, look for a batch code (or lot code). This is a series of numbers and letters that can help you indicate when your shampoo was manufactured.

There are many different websites you can use to read the batch code of your shampoo. Enter the code, and the website will provide you with detailed information about the manufacturing date, product age, and shelf life.

Examples of websites to use:

  • Checkcosmetic.net
  • Checkfresh.com

No expiry indication

If there is no PAO symbol, nor batch code, you have 3 options:

  1. If you just bought a new shampoo, use it up to 18 months after you open the bottle.

  2. If you have shampoo at home that is older than 3 years (even unopened), it’s likely that the product is expired. It’s a good idea to throw it away.

  3. Use your senses to evaluate the usability of your shampoo (see next section).

How to know if your shampoo is expired

No batch code, no PAO symbol, and you don’t remember when you opened/bought your shampoo? Here are some tips to help you recognize expired shampoo:

  • Odd smell
  • Weird consistency (lumpy or too runny)
  • Color changed
  • Does not lather well
  • Separates in different layers in the bottle (even though it’s not supposed to)
  • It’s not effective anymore (like it used to be)
  • Does not clean your hair properly and leaves residue

expired shampoo hair wash

What will happen if you use expired shampoo?

If you use expired shampoo you may experience scalp irritation and itchiness together with changes in hair texture. Your hair may feel extraordinarily frizzy, oily, or sticky (just like if you didn’t wash it.)

Furthermore, if you use expired hair products, they won’t benefit your hair and scalp the way they are supposed to.

Find out more: Ketoconazole shampoo: Benefits, Risks and How to Use It? [Dermatologist Reviewed]

How to you increase the shelf life of hair products

The FDA warns that even if cosmetic products contain preservatives that keep bacteria and fungi away, with time, these preservatives may break down and leave room for microorganisms to grow.

But how to slow down this process and keep your shampoo last longer? Here are some tips:

  • Close the lid of your shampoo bottle tightly after every usage
  • Keep your shampoo bottle away from direct sunlight and heat
  • Keep your unopened shampoo in a dark, cool place, away from moisture
  • Do not pour water into your shampoo bottle to avoid contamination
  • Do not dip your fingers into the shampoo bottle to avoid contamination
  • Keep the humidity level in your bathroom under control, as bacteria tend to thrive in humid environment

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