Does Shampoo Expire? What You Need To Know

(Last Updated On: December 10, 2018)

Some of our most relaxing times are spent lathering up in the shower, indulging in those trickles of warm water, easing the day’s aches away. But how often do you take the time to consider the objects that call your shower home? Yes, we are talking about those shampoo bottles. Some from last year that you still keep around, perhaps for a rainy day when you run out? Does Shampoo Expire? Here is what you need to know.

does shampoo expire

Does Shampoo Expire? What You Need To Know

Believe it or not, shampoo absolutely goes bad. This can be at the 12 month mark, give or take how many natural or chemical ingredients it contains.

Drug store brands seem to hold a longer shelf life, as compared to more popular name brands. Since each brand contains different chemical ingredients, we suggest tossing your infrequently used bottles at the 1 year mark, no more than 2.

You should be able to recognize an expired bottle when you see one; the contents tend to separate, or the odor is no longer that pleasant anymore.

Another indicator would be that your shampoo no longer works as well as it once did – you seem to have to use more and more of the product, just to do the same job and achieve the same effect.

As a general rule of thumb, there is a way to determine if your shampoo is still satisfactory by first locating the area where ingredients are listed on the label. An icon resembling a jar or spam container might be present, containing a number, indicating the shelf life of the product. This may appear as “12M” or “24M”. 12 indicating it’s good up to a year after opening, and the later suggesting a two year shelf life once exposed to the environment.

Even with an iron clad seal, products left to sit devoid of sunlight or heat still tend to expire after three years. Fragrances will degenerate over time, mostly due to oxidation. The same goes for preservatives.

Nevertheless, it is recommended that you keep your products in a cool, dark place. If you think the product appears usable even after three years, feel free to test it out at your own discretion. (Honestly, I wouldn’t though. 3 years is a bit long!)

Test if it still holds the same fragrance, and if it requires you to use more product to thoroughly wash your hair. If you do choose to use products beyond the three year mark, try to use them up quickly.

General Tips To Take Note Of:

  • Smell your haircare products, take note of colour and texture.
  • Keep products out of direct sunlight, and keep them sealed tight.
  • To avoid contamination, purchase products that have a closed delivery system, such as a spray bottle or pump to minimize environmental factors.


  • Label your products with date of purchase and first use with a water resistant texter/marker.
  • Natural and Organic products need to be kept in a controlled (dark, cool) environment much more so than regular hair products.
  • When shopping for haircare, look at the bottle. Is it littered with dust? If so, that is a good indicator that the product has been there for a long time. This is especially true when you see heavily discounted hair care products so be sure to keep an eye out for it.
  • Expired products could contain harmful bacteria, which leaves you open to infection if you have open sores or a dry, itchy scalp.

What To Do With Expired Shampoo?

So now you’re looking at the old, dusty bottles of shampoo you have neglected and forgotten about. Surely they could serve some kind of purpose? Well, you’re right.

Expired shampoo can be used in place of numerous cleaning substitutes, such as: cleaning the toilet. Also, since it is a gentle cleaner, it can be used on finer pieces of metal, including certain pieces of jewelry and even your daily kitchen utensils.

Use it on delicate clothing items that require hand washing. Shampoo does not usually contain harsh chemical products, so you can also safely use it to wash more elegant fabrics like silk and cotton. Other uses include a do-it-yourself cleaner for bikes, cars, and even couch upholstery!

In summary, check your labels for an expiration symbol containing numbers. Smell your products and take note of its consistency. Look at the color and texture.

Ask questions such as is the product color faded, is the texture inconsistent? Most opened products are good for a year, some lasting two years. If a product is sealed, it doesn’t mean it will last forever either!

Even when stored in a decent environment, most unopened products are not recommended for use beyond three years. And lastly, a piece of advice – “When in doubt, just throw out”!’

Read more about Devacurl Decadence Reviews

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