Does Hair Dye Expire? See The Truth For More Awesome Locks

Does Hair Dye Expire

I have dreamt of changing my hair color since five years old. It was around that age when I discovered various animated series in which the manes of the characters were pretty much out of this world as you would never see them growing from a human’s head.

They fascinated me so much that, up to this day, I would often transform my dark locks into a warm brown, a beach blonde, or even a shade from the color wheel. However, "does hair dye expire"? I used to quiz myself about it a lot in the past because, like any person who’s been told that expired stuff needs to be thrown away from childhood, I was worried that it could be perishable.

‘Used’ is the operative word now as I already solved that mystery – and more – through non-stop researching online. There may not be one article out there that can tell everything you may want to know, though, so let me clue you in on how I got the truth for impressive locks.


When Does Hair Dye Expire?

Does Hair Dye Expire

The answer to this question depends on your answer to: “How long has the color container been open?”

​You cannot hang on to the manufacturer’s word for this matter since the government does not obligate them to add expiration dates on beauty products. Even if you come across a dye that has one, it will only have value if the lid has never been opened. In that case, its typical shelf life is approximately two to three years.

But once you have tampered with it or exposed the pigment to different contaminants, you will most likely need to put it in the trash after several weeks or months.

​What Makes The Colorant Go Bad Fast?

Apart from pre-mixing the hair dye, a clear reason why you may not be able to use it is that you have accidentally allowed much air to touch it.

​Based on my understanding, all merchandises created with chemicals (e.g. drugs, drinks, and cosmetics) get a note on the packaging that they cannot stay out in the open for an extended period. Of course, dyes are not exempted to that, precisely because this factor can decrease the potency of the product.

Yes, air is capable of doing that as the conventional colorants become combined with oxidizing agents to affect the natural hair color. When you leave the mixture uncovered and unused, it appears like an invitation for the oxygen and other airborne elements to react with this pigment until you only have bubbles.

Check out how a dye works here:

Another probable cause of your hair coloring going stale is that you may be a health junkie who refuses to eat or utilize anything that has not been made with raw materials. Since organic dyes lack preservatives, you have zero choices but to apply it sooner than later. Otherwise, the chance to use it may never knock on your door again.

​What Are The Consequences Of Using Expired Hair Dye?

Does Hair Dye Expire

Being frugal is commendable as it means that you know how to save up for the future. Just do not act that way when debating whether to apply an expired colorant or not because, like drinking spoiled milk, spreading that on can do a lot of bad things to your precious locks.

The list of consequences that go with it covers the following:

Irritated Scalp

Regardless if you do not have sensitive skin type, your scalp may become itchy once you rub on the perished dye.

The point is, when it oxidizes, you can never tell what kind of microorganism has inhabited the wet substance. In case you are knowledgeable about biology and have a microscope on-hand, sure, but you cannot say so with the naked eye.

When these bacteria irritate your scalp, the worst situation is that the hair follicles in the anagen (growing) stage will get propelled to enter the telogen (resting) stage. It results to the shedding of the strands which can infuriate you even more.

Hair Damage

If you feel scared about new colorants zapping the keratin out of your mane after half an hour of waiting for it to take effect, how would you feel about leaving on the expired version for 60 minutes or so?

I cannot speak for others, yet I know that I will regret it if I allow that to happen since it can destroy my locks. The strands may turn frizzy no matter how much conditioner gets applied. Having split ends cannot be any further from taking place too.

Splat Color

Although a pigment that has gone past its expiry date loses some of its strength in changing your hair color, the fact is that it can still perform the job. The foreseeable problem with it is your dye will be a thing of hit and miss.

It is due to the excessive oxidation reaction that the product may have endured. Within two hours up to seven days, the colorant may remain as active as the first time you have opened it. Beyond that, however, the actual tint can evaporate and give you a headache before you can think of how to shield the unevenness of the outcome.

How To Prolong The Pigment’s Shelf Life?

Does Hair Dye Expire

The simplest way to prevent the hair color from free-falling into spoilage is by sealing and putting it in a sanitized refrigerator.

This process can ideally counter the issue that being exposed to natural air imposes. Microorganisms have less opportunity to grow as well because the temperature inside the appliance may be too low for them to handle.

​The Conclusion

"Does hair dye expire"? Yes. Can it stand a couple of years without perishing? An unopened colorant can, but a mixed one cannot.

​In case the pigment you have at home goes stale, just throw it in the bin. Don’t worry about the bucks spent on buying that in the past; be concerned regarding the side effects it may cause:

  • ​Loss of hair
  • Frizziness
  • Split ends
  • Skin irritation

Comment your ideas about this topic below.

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