Hair Coloring

Does Hair Dye Expire? Learn From My Story

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Only hair dye fans can relate what it means to keep hair dye on a shelf for years. We all know that after some years, you will surely come back for it, and you will be like does hair dye expire?

Yes! Hair dye does expire 2-4 years after the day of production. Most times, some factors can cut short the number of years a dye can stay before it expires. And these factors are grouped into three: physical, environmental, and chemical elements.

Let’s look into the full details and how it happens, but before that, I want to share a short story with you.

My Experience With Expired Hair Dye (Story)

Early December towards the Christmas season, the demands for gold color hair dye increased in our salon.

So my boss went to Onitsha’s primary market here in Nigeria and bought about 30 different colors of hair dye manufactured by different brands.

Few weeks to Christmas, all the hair dye got sold. Wow! The rush was still much. So my boss had to return to the market to get more.

He still sold almost all of them to customers and colleagues (hairstylist)

Fast forward to 2 days before Christmas- Every salon was hell busy, filled with customers. That day at night, I sold the last gold dye. No more gold dye?

More customers kept asking me to get their hair colored gold that night. So I went to our inner store-shelf to confirm it there was any dye left.

Hopefully, I found one already opened and used. So I brought it out and opened the dye container. It was smelling; the odor forced me to close it back.

But I wasn’t sure that something is wrong with the dye. Because I have used so many dyes that smells bad, even when they are new. (especially black dye)

I wanted to confirm if it will still work on hair.  So I took it outside with some hair I cut out from one of my clients, mixed the dye, and applied it on the hair. After a few minutes, I washed the hair.

Because it’s an African man’s hair, it wasn’t long and could not stick together. So everything scattered, still not giving me what I need.

I decided to do a patch test on my hair. So I mixed the dye the normal way and applied a small portion to my hair.

Guess what happened next:

I couldn’t stand the burning 5 minutes after applying. So I quickly washed it off.

I wasn’t allergic to that hair dye, my hair wasn’t too low either, then what could be the cause of the reaction? Many more questions kept running through my mind until I decided to check the expiring date.

Boom! It has expired four months after last year’s Christmas.

I threw the dye into the waste bin. The burning pain lasted for two or so, can’t remember how long exactly. In the end, I still didn’t get the gold patch color I wanted on my hair.

I don’t know if it was the developer or colorant that caused the burning. All I know is one manufacturer made them the same day.

That’s for the story.

Aside from the harsh burning, there are other things expired hair dye can do to your hair or scalp.

So here in this post, I am going to share with you everything you need to know.

Let’s get started.

Things That Affect How Long Hair Dye Last In Its Container

Many factors can alter and affect how long hair dye can last in its container, whether opened or not.

Quick Bites:

I have categories this factor into three.

Physical Factors: Hair dyes tends to spoil fast if exposed to outer material like air, dirt, water, and sand. If you noticed that any third party material has fallen into the container, try to remove it soon before you forget.

Environmental Factors: Humidity, temperature, and climate fall under this category. These environmental factors can indirectly rearrange the state and chemical formula of a hair dye.

That’s why manufacturers advise you store hair dye in a cool and dry place and, most importantly, keep away from children.

Chemical Factors: Some chemicals in the hair dye loses its properties after some time, even when hair dye isn’t open for the first time.

Sometimes exposure to either too high or too low temperature makes chemical properties of the dye to join or separate, thereby forming something different. The chemical change is one of the reasons hair dye explode. Yes, hair dye does explode.

Note: Organic or natural hair dye expires when compared to the chemical made dye.

You might be wondering:

Why some hair dye does not have a manufacturing or expiring date? Am still wondering but I read somewhere that-

Most brands don’t include expiration or manufacturing date on hair dye products, because some hair dye can last as long as 6 years, if stored properly.

Even when you have a hair dye that does not have an expiring date, try to check the dye pack to see the storage rules. This will also help extend the shelf life.

Side Effects Of Expired Hair Dye.

What you get after using expired hair dye depends on the chemicals present in the dye, how long it has been expired, your hair porosity, scalp sensitivity, and many more.

Generally, here are the possible effects of using expired hair dye.

  • Expired hair dye can cause itching, burning, and swollen scalp.
  • It can rip off some of your hair.
  • The hair dye may give you a different color. For example- you may want a gold color, but after applying, you get white.
  • If the expired hair dye manages to give you the exact color you desire- it won’t be bright and will not last.

Here’s How to Identify Expired Hair Dye Without the Expiring Date.

Expired hair dye is not that difficult to identify. You just need your sense organs (nose, skin, and eye) to identify it.

Here’s what you will notice in an expired hair

  • It will smell bad, like a dead animal or fart.
  • A swollen container.  This means air entered the container, or it was kept in a hot place.
  • Watery and looks separated

Please note that not all hair dye that smells bad is expired, and not all expired hair dye smells.

Final Thoughts

Expired hair dye can cause damage to your scalp or hair. I always deal with safety first. I will advise you to handle and store dye with caution.

Also, read the dye manual to see if you can use the hair dye again after opening.

Whenever doubt hits your mind, try patch or strands test to see if its safe for use.

Now I also would love to hear from you.

Do you have similar experience with expired hair dye?

Or maybe you got something else in mind to tell us, do well by leaving a comment below right now.

Most importantly, if you find the post helpful, then don’t forget to share on any of your favorite social media.

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I am Stanley. A Unisex Hairstylist, Writer, and book lover. After 12 months of the apprenticeship program as a stylist, I started working with my boss for an extra one year. This time frame made me accumulate knowledge and experience in the hair industry, of which I will love to share with friends all over the world through my blog.

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