Does Hair Dye Expire: Shelf Life And More You Need To Know!

I am one of those people who love to stock up on cosmetic products; especially when my favorite hair dye brand goes on sale. The problem is, I don’t even dye my hair that often. A lot of questions come into mind: how long can I keep hair dye? Does hair dye expire?

After months or even years that passed by, one would wonder if expired hair dye is still safe to use; especially since some hair dye brands don’t even label their products’ expiration dates.

In fact, governments in countries such as the US do not regulate expiration dates on hair dye.

Of course, if the package has been labelled with an expiry date, do follow the instructions to avoid undesirable side effects. Although there are not any reported life threatening side effects of using expired hair dye, you may not be able to achieve the look you were aiming for.

1. Side Effects Of Using Expired Hair Dye

Side Effects Of Using Expired Hair Dye

One of the most evident after effects of expired hair dye is the ineffectivity of color. The longer the hair dye stays in your shelf, its quality will also inevitably decrease.

Achieving hair color with a lot of impact, such as flaming red hair, is simply impossible with an expired product.

A weaker product also means that the color will fade away faster than expected. Even if a hair dye brand boasts a long duration of time before the color fades, an expired product should already be considered as a product defect.

Some people say that using expired hair dye also makes your hair brittle and thus, damaging your hair even further. Remember that hair dyes are also strong chemicals that can greatly cause hair accidents.

In fact, some reports say that expired hair dye can also burn your hair and scalp, causing your hair to turn yellow or green.

2. Opened Or Unopened Products

Many hair dye companies state that if their products have not been opened and or have not been mixed, the shelf life is about 3 years.

Some companies even say that an unopened product has unlimited years. The rule of thumb is to keep it only for a maximum of 3 years.

Opened Or Unopened Products

Regardless of what companies say, there are many other conditions that you need to pay attention to.

Even though a product has not yet been opened, keep in mind that the humidity levels in your area may be very different from other people’s locations.

Room temperature is also another factor to consider. Although hair dye brands instruct its users to keep their products at room temperature, the climate of your area may also be different.

Just because someone says they can still use a product after 3 years, does not mean that you should as well.

3. Expiration Of Semi-permanent or Permanent Hair Dye

Expiration Of Semi-permanent or Permanent Hair Dye

Brands and hair dye types also vary in terms of their expiration dates. After doing some research, I found that majority of the hair color brands have a shelf life between 3-4 years, despite claims of having unlimited shelf life.

Regardless of being semi-permanent or permanent, hair dyes disintegrate when exposed to air and sunlight for a long period of time.

Although some brands say that storing them properly again will preserve the quality, it is important to note that most products are composed of the same types of chemicals. Peroxide, for example, is one component that spoil due to sunlight.

4. Professional Hair Dyes

The answer is yes, even professional hair dyes expire.

So the next time you go to your salon for a brand new color, request to see the packet or express your concern about expired hair dyes.

Professional Hair Dyes

Just like other brands, professional hair dye can go bad after exposure to air and mixing.

But rest assured, since you are dealing with professionals, they are required to be more mindful about such nuances. As long as you are comfortable under the professional’s care, there shouldn’t be any worries.

However, if you feel anything strange such as a burning sensation or a funky smell, don’t be afraid to voice out your concerns.


So does hair dye expire? The answer is a definite yes. There are many conditions that may contribute to the expiration of your packet of hair color.

The best thing to do is that if it is an old product, do your hair a favor and just get rid of it. Spending money on repairs is a lot more expensive than a new bottle of color.

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