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Does Shampoo Expire? Find Out the Truth About Its Expiration Date

Washing your hair is important. When it comes to this important step in your daily routine, shampoo plays a crucial role.

It gets rid of dust particles, dirt, and dandruff that could compromise the health of your hair. Apart from cleaning your hair, shampoo also keeps your hair soft, silky, and fresh.

The next question is this: does shampoo expire?​

The Truth About Shampoo’s Expiration Date

Here’s something you should know about cosmetic products: most have no expiration dates stamped on their labels, no thanks to US FDA’s lack of regulations and unless it is a medicated shampoo.

Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that you can use or store shampoos for as long as you want until it is empty.

Keep in mind that once you open a product, in this case a shampoo, the clock starts to tick. In fact, the exposure to light, air, and bacteria could break the shampoo’s components, thereby making them less effective.

At the same time, heat and humidity could cause the shampoo to degrade even if it is sealed.​

girl long hair in morning

Here’s the big question: how long should you keep the shampoo?​

If you are using European-manufactured shampoos, then you can find the expiration date on the bottle since it is among the directives required by the European Union.

For American products – if you’re lucky – check a date printed on the label that says “Exp” or “Best Before” then a date.​

If nothing blatant such as this was indicated, look for “Period After Opening” or PAO on the label. It will show a number followed by “M.”

For instance, “12M,” which means the product is good for 12 months after opening.

What if there is no expiration date or PAO on the label?

Most beauty experts agree that shampoo is only good for one to two years if opened. Shelf life can be up to three years if the shampoo bottle is unopened.

To make it last long, just make sure you store them in areas away from sunlight, heat, air, and humidity.​

Signs of Expired Shampoo​

Let’s say you want to use a shampoo that’s been sitting on your bathroom shelf for more than a year. It hasn’t crossed the two-year expiration yet, but you want to make sure.

Below are signs that you need to know when to toss that shampoo:​

  • Change in the smell of the shampoo, usually smells funny or acrid
  • The texture or consistency of the shampoo is separating
  • Change in the color of the shampoo

If any of these signs are present, then toss the shampoo immediately – and the next section will tell you why you need to do so.​

men clear hair with shampoo

What Happens If You Use Expired Shampoo​

Here’s the thing: expired products are not exactly big deal. In fact, the expiration date informs consumers of the expiration of product’s safety in case it is not stored properly.​

What happens if you use an expired shampoo?​

In less serious cases, the product will be less effective and may not perform according to its designated purpose.

For instance, a shampoo that de-frizzes hair and has been sitting on the shelf, opened, for more than two years, may no longer make your hair frizz-free.

In worst-case scenarios, expired shampoos could lead to hair or scalp infection. This is because the product deteriorates and potency is affected, thereby making it easier for bacteria to get into the bottle and affect its components.​


The bottom line is check your shampoo’s expiration date and make sure to use them as soon as you can. Hoarding shampoos is fine; just make sure that you will be able to store them properly.​

Got shampoo expiration questions? Leave a comment below.​

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