Do Shampoo And Conditioner Expire?

You have been using shampoo and conditioner but are unclear if they expire or not. If this is the case, read our post on “Do shampoo and conditioner expire?”

Shampooing and conditioning the hair is an essential step in most people’s hair care routine. However, people only pay attention to its ingredients, their effects on the hair, or even the smell while using them.

The expiration date, on the other hand, the expiration date is something that most people overlook. Do shampoo and conditioner expire? Is it a bad idea to use expired shampoo and conditioner? How can you tell if they have run out of time?

Do not be concerned; this article will answer all of your questions. So you should carefully read the information provided.

Do shampoo and conditioner expire? 
Do shampoo and conditioner expire?

Do Shampoo And Conditioner Expire?

Definitely yes. The components in both products lose their efficiency over time. Furthermore, bacteria and oxygen enter the formula as soon as you open the bottle, compromising its effectiveness.

This is due to the fact that shampoo and hair conditioner contains particular chemicals and preservatives. There are two sorts of preservatives, including synthetic and natural preservatives, among which natural ones are lighter and less strong than synthetic ones. 

As a result, natural shampoos and conditioners may have a shorter shelf life than synthetic ones.

Another reason is that foaming and cleaning agents and a variety of additional activities are provided by the components in shampoo and conditioner, including dandruff prevention, frizz protection, split end elimination, and general hair repair. 

Since these two products are water-based, once the lid is opened, the chemicals are exposed to oxygen, allowing a large number of bacteria to penetrate the container and react with the product’s ingredients. Therefore, it becomes ineffective and unusable over time.

Furthermore, since the preservative may wear off over time, although you properly store unused shampoo and conditioner, they will still expire and become worthless.

Numerous shampoos and hair conditioners do not include the expiration dates printed on the bottles or packaging, which makes you assume they do not expire. 

However, it is because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require manufacturers of personal care products, including skincare, haircare, and makeup products, to define a product with an end date. 

Nevertheless, their specific expiration date is determined by the producer.

How To Know The Expiration Date Of Shampoo And Conditioner?

There is a label

In most cases, there will be an expiration icon printed in a particular way on your preferred shampoo and conditioner bottle’s back, which is known as the “Period after opening” label.

This label consists of a number, usually, 12, 18, or 24, accompanied by a capital M. The number denotes the number of months the shampoo and conditioner are intended to work effectively, while the letter M denotes months.

Most shampoos and conditioners come with an icon showing the expiration date. 
Most shampoos and conditioners come with an icon showing the expiration date.

For example, 12M means the shampoo or conditioner will be effective for 12 months after you open it and you may anticipate it to function as desired and to be secure to use.

The time begins when you open it up, so you must keep records of the end date yourself.

There is a code

In case your shampoo and conditioner bottle lacks a label, maybe there is a batch code, which is a series of letters or/and numbers written somewhere on the bottle. 

This batch code indicates when your product was made and may assist you in determining how long it will be safe to use.

In fact, several websites can help you inspect the batch code on the shampoo and conditioner bottle, such as checkcosmetic, checkexp, and others. You can select the supplier from a menu bar and insert the code from the bottle.

Then, you can discover your product’s date of manufacture, shelf life, and any notations about how the supplier utilizes or repeats the codes.

You can use the batch code to know the end date of your hair care products. 
You can use the batch code to know the end date of your hair care products.

There is no label or code

How can you tell when your shampoo and conditioner go bad without a code and label? The basic rule is that the bottle should not be kept for more than 18 months once opened. If it has not been opened, it may last around 3 years.

However, similar to the expiration date on the box, you should keep track of the date of purchase to see how long you have used it.

Alternatively, unless you are sure how long the shampoo or conditioner will last after turning the cap off, contact the product’s customer service by email or phone to ask them directly.

Additionally, keep an eye out for obvious signs of expired shampoo or conditioner that will be discussed further.

What Happens If You Use Expired Shampoo And Conditioner?

Expired shampoo and conditioner cannot ensure the same consistency and effectiveness after the date of expiry date has passed. Even so, it does not imply that expired ones are dangerous to use.

The shampoo and conditioner contain chemicals that change and become unhelpful over time. Even worse, utilizing expired products can result in the following issues:

Unsatisfactory outcome

If a shampoo or conditioner has passed its expiration date, they do not wash your hair as well as it should.

Your hair will look unclean and drab if you utilize outdated shampoo. Because of the chemical shift and allergens, old shampoo might irritate or sting your eyes and scalp.

For instance, a de-frizzing shampoo may not effectively get rid of frizzies, or it cannot provide adequate moisture or eliminate dandruff.

When you use hair conditioners that are far beyond their expiry date, the hair pores may become clogged. The hair will cease growing regularly. As a result, these pimples may leave the scalp looking rough. 

In addition, conditioners that have reached the end of their shelf life lose their value, resulting in damaged hair or hair loss. The hair may also appear lifeless and filthy when you use a conditioner that has gone bad.

Dry hair

Shampoo components such as preservatives, additives, and sulfates degrade over time. 

Therefore, shampoo that has expired may not clean your hair it once did. Also, it can cause your hair and scalp to become dull and dry.

Hair loss

Using expired shampoo may cause hair loss, yet, it is occasionally. To end up losing hair from out-of-date shampoo or conditioner, the products must be too old that it has accumulated dangerous bacteria causing hair problems.

In addition, the chemical ingredients in shampoo may frequently separate, causing it an unnatural and clumpy appearance. 

Once this occurs, the components may be harmed because they were not intended to be utilized in this way or absorbed through the skin separately.

Although the shampoo seems not to last as long on your hair, the components may still enter the skin’s outer layers on the scalp, damage the follicles, and cause irritation, leading to a rise in hair loss.

Using expired shampoo and conditioner may cause hair loss. 
Using expired shampoo and conditioner may cause hair loss.

Fungal infection

Like any personal care item, the shampoo goes bad once the preservatives are ineffective like any personal care item. If preservatives lose their effectiveness, the product becomes unstable. 

The shampoo bottle then experiences a mini-explosion of chemical changes. Despite the fact that such chemical activity is not noticeable, it can create various dermatological issues, including stinging and irritation, as a result of these changes.

Bacteria and mold and bacteria will then build and grow, resulting in bacterial skin outbreaks or fungal infections on the scalp.

Hair color change

Expired oils in shampoo or conditioner may contain modified detergents such as sodium lauryl sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate, and sodium lauryl ether sulfate, which causes your hair to turn a different hue. 

These compounds are highly effective cleaners, altering the color of your hair. In other cases, it may cause your hair dyed color to fade or be no longer noticeable.

How To Discover If Your Shampoo And Conditioner Have Expired?

Using expired shampoo and conditioner brings you several unfavorable consequences. As a result, you should avoid using these products once they are outdated.

You can use the following criteria to determine if your products have expired.

The expiration date

Using the expiration date on the packaging is the quickest way to determine the usefulness of your beauty products. You can apply the methods mentioned above to inspect the end date of your shampoo and conditioner.

However, you should remember that organic shampoos and 100 percent natural origin products get a shorter life span than regular ones because they do not contain any preservatives or additives. 

Also, sometimes, a shampoo claimed to be 100% natural, oils, corn starch, and other substances are used instead of cleansing ingredients. 

The difficulty with this method is that none of these chemicals are capable of removing salts, filth, or toxins from the hair. In fact, rather than clearing buildup, they stick to the scalp and hair, making removal difficult.

If you are using these kinds of shampoo, pay attention to them and try to utilize them before the end date.


If a formula has expired, the first thing you may notice is product separation. 

A greasy fluid may have separated from the shampoos or conditioners, which occurs due to bacteria buildup breaking the formula apart, causing the components, particularly oil-based ingredients such as essential oils or butter, to no longer remain bound. 

Also, it can become watery and runny at times.

Similarly, clumps, like separation, indicate that your hair care product has broken up and gone bad. When your shampoos and conditioners have expired and are no longer easy to use and smooth, they begin to create tiny clumps. 

Although these products tend to consolidate a little more once the weather gets colder, you can be aware if this occurs! Its clumps have a thicker appearance and a more rigid feel than in cold weather.


Avoid using shampoo and conditioner if they have an odd green color that they should never have. In the worst-case scenario, it may be mold. Alternatively, they have disconnected in the best situation.

In either case, this is a strong indication that the hair care products have passed their end date and should be discarded.

Sometimes your expired shampoo does not turn blue, but if you notice that it comes with a different color than when you originally got it, it is most certainly outdated. 

Alternatively, the conditioner will seem ivory-white, foggy, or have a different hue if used in normal situations. Similar to shampoo, if you notice a different color than when you initially used it, it is likely that it has gone bad.

If the color of your shampoo or conditioner changes, it may go bad. 
If the color of your shampoo or conditioner changes, it may go bad.

Shake the products thoroughly unless it has been a long time since you purchased them, and they are still within the lifespan and date specified on the bottle. It is because separation is sometimes caused by heat. 

However, if the color stays after shaking the bottle, chances are your product has expired.


Haircare products typically smell fruity and floral, which draws us in! If your favorite hair care product smells dissimilar to the first day you purchased them, they are likely past their expiration date.

Like food, a rancid odor is the first symptom indicating anything has gone off.  Your expired shampoo may begin to smell acrid, stale, or bitter.

Note that the shampoo normally outdates long before this strange odor occurs, so if you smell a weird odor, you should discard the bottle right away.


This sign may be difficult to spot since you may never imagine a product you have preferred for a long could abandon you. 

You should re-examine your shampoo and conditioner when you feel a slight burn or itch while using them. If your products expire, a formulation change may lead to irritation. 

Once you feel burned or itching during use, if it happens only once, it is not a big problem. Chances are it is an allergic reaction to the shampoo. However, if the problem persists and worsens, the shampoo and conditioner are most likely out of date.

Then, you should get rid of the old mousse, visit a doctor for treatment, and purchase new ones.


Unless your products perform as well as they once did, they are probably expired. 

If you are using a shampoo and conditioner and your hair is still dry and cracked after following a haircare routine, chances are the shampoo and conditioner are over their expiration date.

Alternatively, after careful rinsing, the shampoo still has a persistent residue. Then there is a high likelihood it has past the date.

Any hair care, makeup, or skincare product is only as good as the substances it contains. Once it reaches a specific duration, it loses its effectiveness.

For example, you think you can still use it unless you notice an obvious sign that your shampoo has outdated. In case you feel that its cleansing abilities have deteriorated, such as less lather, chances are your shampoo is no longer effective and, therefore, should be discarded.

What Should You Do When Your Shampoo And Conditioner Expired?

When you realize your shampoo is past its expiration date, make sure you make proper disposal. 

Before throwing the thing away, several may try to pour the rest down a drain. However, this means that lots of shampoo and chemicals end up in your public water supply, which is not good. 

According to federal rules, shampoo, insect repellent, mouthwash, and cosmetics are considered domestic toxic waste.

As a result, the best method is to empty the bottle into another package and take it to a harmful waste facility near you. The old bottle may be wiped clean and recycled or thrown away.

How Can You Maximize The Life Of Shampoo And Conditioner?

Proper storage

Preservatives are added to regular shampoos to extend their lifespan, which may become ineffective over time if not used and stored correctly.

While using

  • While washing your hair in your bathroom, make sure your shampoo and conditioner do not get wet. The life span of a product may be affected by changes in its chemical structure, including the presence of water.
  • When you intend to add a substance to your product, utilize a different container not to affect the longevity of your product. For the best results, do not add any chemicals or water unless the manufacturer has permitted it.

After using

  • Make sure to keep the droplets of water out after using shampoo and conditioner. The less water and oxygen entering the products, the longer they can last.
  • Do not allow the bottle to be broken because this will compromise the shampoo and conditioner contained within.
  • If you do not use them, keep your hair products in the dark, cool place because constant light can hasten the rate of deterioration.
  • Since light includes UV rays, which may damage the numerous degradable ingredients in the shampoo, heat and sunlight may hasten its expiration. As a result, after each use, seal the top to avoid water from penetrating and store it away from sunlight.

Make use of real shampoo and conditioner

Because fake products are popular and appear to be authentic products, you may be buying them without realizing it.

These products are indeed not made with the same substances as the original and are made in doubtful conditions. Poorly, they are just repackaged expired ones in newer packaging.

In addition, counterfeit shampoos are hazardous to use and have a short shelf life. That is why you should purchase genuine products directly from suppliers or credible sellers.

Other tips

In addition to the above ways to extend the life of your shampoo and conditioner, here are some suggestions you can apply:

  • Because organic or all-natural conditioners and shampoos do not contain preservatives, they will go bad quicker than conventional products.

To ensure that you can use them before they expire, it is best to use them rapidly or purchase them in small quantities.

  • Like other beauty products, shampoos may become contaminated due to bacteria, mainly if mishandled. So, using your fingers or hands to get shampoo enables fungi and bacteria to enter the bottle. Also, shampoo is harmed by oxygen and water droplets, reducing its life expectancy.

As a result, you should buy shampoo in spray containers or tubes rather than extracting it out with your hand.

  • Although it appears to be satisfying to stock up on 10 containers of your preferred shampoo and conditioner during seasonal promotions or sales, keep in mind how much you use them. 

If it requires you half a year or longer to use up a product, you will probably have a lot of unopened bottles after two years.

As a result, avoid purchasing many products at once, mainly organic, preservative-free products.

When you are sure you can use up your shampoo and conditioner before they expire, you may stock up more on those with preservatives that you are frequently using because they have a longer shelf life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are several alternative uses of expired shampoos?


The shampoos’ primary purpose is to clean, and they contain detergents and fuel additives, including Sulfate and Sodium Laureth; they are perfect for cleaning. 

First,  you can utilize them to wash your hands.

Also, since the shampoos are much gentler than actual cleaners, you can use them to clean floors, tiles, and dishes.

Because shampoos’ detergents are not very reactive, you may use them to wash silverware, jewelry, and other luxurious metals. It gives gold and silver ornaments a gleaming finish. 

Pet shampoo

Once your pet’s shampoo is about to expire, or it has run out of it, you may use good, expired shampoo as an alternative. It can still clean effectively and produce a pleasant odor as long as its original scent has not changed.

Soapy solution for manicure and pedicure

The shower gel can be replaced with bubble bath shampoo and expired one can also be used. 

Once you get an outdated shampoo bottle with a scent that stays changed and you love this scent, you may still use it to produce some bubbles in the bath. It is still silky smooth and offers a pleasant vibe. 

After dipping a while, give your fingers and feet a scrub, which will give you a quick manicure and pedicure while relaxing in your tub.

Wash your clothes

You may use expired shampoo to wash the clothes to remove various stains. Apply 1-2 shampoo drops to the stain and knead it several times using your hands. After that,  immerse it in your shampoo bubbles and clean it like regular clothes.

What are several alternative uses of expired conditioners?

Cream for shaving

You may use expired hair conditioners rather than shaving cream when you are out of it or hardly shave and, therefore, do not like to purchase any as they may expire caused by the non-usage.

Utilize a small amount of water to the conditioner clump and massage it into the skin, which helps hydrate the skin because the primary purpose of a conditioner is to moisturize. You will undoubtedly save a few hundred dollars by doing so.

Polish plants 

Take a highly diluted conditioner to the potted plants to offer them a luster if they look dull. Also, apply an oil drop to every leaf and knead them together carefully.  Your plants will indeed shine even brighter than they did before.

Remove make-up

Once you want to remove your make-up, use a voila and cotton swab to put the voila and the expired hair conditioner, your face will be clean and smooth. 

To get rid of any remaining oils from the skin, wash the face using warm water.

Makeup brushes may also be washed with outdated conditioner.

It helps soften and strengthen the brush bristles as it does with your hair. It may even prolong the life of your beloved cosmetic brushes if used to wash them on a regular basis.

Immerse the brushes under warm water with a small amount of hair conditioner for approximately 10 minutes. Doing so will clean and soften your brushes.

Expired conditioners can be used to remove your makeup. 
Expired conditioners can be used to remove your makeup.

Body scrub or wash

Simply combine the expired hair conditioner with several tablespoons of lemon juice and grained sugar if you do not have a body scrub/wash on hand. 

While scrubbing, this combo may clean and moisturize your skin, leaving it soft and fresh.


You can use your expired conditioner to fix zip problems or loosen door hinges. When your zips or hinges are squeaky, try putting a little hair conditioner and seeing how well they perform. 

If you are interested in this topic and want to discover further about it, have a look at this video:

Final Words

Finally, regarding the title question, “Do shampoo and conditioner expire?” the answer is yes. 

Although most manufacturers do not explicitly print the expiration date on their products, we still have ways to find it out. Once again, check the given information carefully and do not forget to follow our instructions for the best results.


I am Jessica Coles, a hairstyling and trends expert who also holds a master's degree in cosmetology. I am one of the leading hair care experts who has been offering support round the clock.

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