Does Hair Dye Expire? How To Know If The Dye Is Expired

Bad odor and big chunks of solids in your dye tell you it is not in a state to use.

Reviewed by Ghanima AbdullahGhanima Abdullah, Cosmetologist
By Anjali SayeeAnjali Sayee  • 

You rummage through your cupboard in search of something and find the hair dye you bought nearly two years ago. You think that the color would look incredible on you and decide to try it. But hold on – can a hair dye expire? Sadly, the answer is yes! An expired hair dye may cause adverse effects on your hair. We elaborate on these effects in this post. Continue reading.

Why Does Hair Dye Expire?

A hair dye might go bad due to sun exposure

Image: Shutterstock

Once opened, a hair dye might go bad or expire due to several reasons. Some of the most common ones are listed below:

  • Sunlight: The chemicals in the hair dye may warm up if the dye is exposed to direct sunlight. This may cause the dye to get separated.
  • Air: Hair dye containing peroxide can get oxidized upon direct exposure to air.
  • Microorganisms: Hair dye may also expire due to bacteria and other microorganisms. These microorganisms can interact with the chemicals in the dye and cause chemical reactions.

Using old and expired dye on your hair may change your hair texture or cause hair fall. Let us take a deeper look into what happens if you use an expired hair dye.

What Will Happen If You Use Expired Hair Dye?

1. Your Hair May Turn Green

Using expired hair dye may turn your hair green

Image: Shutterstock

Some people claim that using expired or old hair dye may turn your hair green. The change in color could be more pronounced in individuals with light blonde, gray, or white hair.

2. Your Hair May Turn Into An Undesirable Color

Using expired hair dye may also turn your hair into an undesirable color.

3. You May Experience Allergic Reactions

Using expired hair dye may cause allergic reactions

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Changes in hair color are a direct result of chemical changes. If the chemicals are imbalanced because the expiry date has passed, these changes can cause allergic reactions.

4. Your Hair May Get Damaged

Using expired hair dye may damage your hair

Image: Shutterstock

Using expired hair dye may cause your hair to break off or become frizzy. One may notice the damage only after the first wash. An expired hair dye may also cause chemical burns on the scalp.

Now we know what can happen if you use an expired hair dye. But how do you know if a hair dye is expired?

How To Know If The Dye Is Expired?

1. Damaged Package

The hair dye could be expired if its package appears damaged. Wet spots on the package could signify damage due to water or chemical leakage.

protip_icon Quick Tip

Avoid leaving hair dye in a steamy bathroom for many years as its quality may alter if water infiltrates the container.

2. Separation

The dye might have expired even if you don’t find any leak in the packaging. If your dye has gone bad or expired, you will see big chunks of solids floating around in a milky solution.

3. Bad Odor

Expired hair dye smells foul

Image: Shutterstock

Expired hair dye smells foul

Image: Shutterstock

Hair dye that smells foul or has a metallic smell could have most likely expired.

Hair dyes, like everything else, have an expiration date. If not properly stored, hair dyes can quickly go bad, and using expired hair dyes may damage your locks. Sunlight, air, and microorganisms are some of the most common causes. In addition, using expired dye on your hair might affect the texture of your hair and cause hair loss. Keep an eye out to see if the hair dye you choose is fresh. If you think it is past its prime, replace it. A minor modification in how you apply hair dyes can make a big difference in the appearance and health of your hair.

protip_icon Quick Tip

Store the hair dye in an air-tight container to make it last longer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do hair dyes stay good?

It may depend on the hair dye brand and ingredients. While some dyes don’t have an expiration date, many are usually good for 2-3 years if not opened.

Key Takeaways

  • Direct exposure to air, bacteria, and sunlight may result in the separation and expiration of hair dye.
  • Using expired hair dye may result in green hair, an allergic reaction, or chemical burns on your scalp.
  • Damaged packaging and bad smell are key indicators that will let you know that the hair dye has gone bad.

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