Does Hair Dye Expire?


Changing your hair color is a fun way to express yourself and change up how you look from time to time. However, before you go ahead and dye your hair, you might want to check if the hair dye is still good for use, as they can expire.

Sometimes hair dye boxes have expiry dates, other times they don’t. So can you still use it and what will happen to your hair?

Depending on how you store the hair dye, it can last a very long time. Hair dyes can go bad for several different reasons including:

  • You opened the packaged and it is now been exposed to air and sunlight, which can cause chemical reactions.
  • You constantly stored it in a hot and humid place (your shower!).
  • Mixing the hair dye and storing it in any other container can ruin it as well.
  • If the hair dye is made up of “natural” ingredients, it can expire faster.

As a rule of thumb, unopened hair dye can last for 3 years if stored properly. This means storing it in a dry, cool place so it can preserve the hair dye. On the other hand, open hair dye can last up to a year depending on how it is stored.

Even if you store it properly, sometimes the original packaging of the hair dye contains moisture in it, causing it to expire.

How to recognize if your hair dye is expired

  1. Any puffing or swelling of the package or container. This means that air has gotten its way through the packaging and inside the container, causing it to expire. If the hair dye is originally in a hard container, this is less likely to happen.
  2. Spoilage of the cap or lid. If you see any yellowish or orange colors around the cap or lid of the hair dye, this means it has oxidized and expired because air has gotten inside.
  3. Water like consistency. If the hair dye has water-like consistency, it is expired, as hair dyes tend to be thick. This means that the chemicals have separated and it is no longer good for use.
  4. Smell or odor. If the hair dye has a foul odor, then it is most likely expired as well.

What would happen if you used expired hair dye?

  • One of the effects of using expired hair dye is… your hair turning dark green!
  • If you color your hair and it doesn’t turn out close to the color on the box, then the hair dye is expired.
  • Uneven or patchy color could mean the hair dye is expired and was not able to achieve one color.
  • The chemicals in the expired hair dye can cause extremely frizzy hair.
  • If you feel your scalp burning during or after the procedure, you should immediately stop as this is means the dye is expired and could potentially lead to hair loss.
  • Burning sensation around your forehead or ears due to the expired chemicals.

If you are not sure if the hair dye is expired, the best and most safe thing to do is throw it away and purchase another one. We only get one head of hair and we should treat it well!

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