Does Hair Dye Expire | Know Before You Add Color!

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Smriti Razdan
Smriti Razdan
Smriti started her journey by attaining a degree in computer applications. She loves to indulge in reading undiscovered stories only to draw profound explanations about life and its existence. She welcomes you aboard on her expedition of finding herself. Smriti writes her content with a smile on her face hoping to transcend it to her readers.

We all have done it. Bought a hair dye, forgot to use it, and then one day we have an age-old hair dye on our shelf that suddenly makes us change our hair color. If that has ever happened to you, then you need to think before making any decision. Go through this post on “Does Hair Dye Expire?” once and you will know everything about hair dyes. 

Before putting an expired hair dye on your head, most of us rarely ask ‘Is it expired?’ rather we think ‘what’s the worst that could happen’ Worst? It can be a freaking nightmare. Most people don’t know about the adverse effects of hair dyes. This makes it extremely important for you to have all the knowledge on the subject before attempting any blunder. 

Every product has an expiration date, be it skincare or a haircare product. In the same way, every hair dye also has an expiration date but it’s not the same with every brand. Some permanent hair dyes can last up to 3 years while some hair dyes only last up to a few months. Their efficiency after the expiry date is also reduced, that’s why it is not recommended to use expired hair dyes. 

We have discussed everything about expired hair dyes in detail. Let’s go through everything so that you won’t have to face the side effects of expired hair dyes.

How To Tell If Hair Dye Is Expired Or Not? 

Does Hair Dye Expire | Know Before You Add Color!
Source: Colored Hair Care.

If you want to figure out whether your hair dye is expired or not, then firstly, check its packaging. If the container is open then you might not want to use it. Why? 

Open containers can easily be contaminated by bacteria which can cause a bad odor. If your hair dye smells bad, then this is your cue to throw it in a dustbin, because it’s good for nothing now. Besides that, there are many other factors that can tell you that your unopened hair dye is expired. 

  • A strong sour smell that is different from the usual ammonia scent in the hair dyes. 
  • The liquid is separated.
  • The bottle is leaking.
  • Packaging is cracked.
  • Packaging is either damaged or faded.

The above points were for unopened hair dyes, but what if your hair dyes are opened or you have used a dye in the past. Can you still use it? Umm..maybe not. 

Does Hair Dye Expire?
Source: Indian Style Stealer

Mostly hair dyes come in either two bottles or pouches. You have to mix the contents of these two packages. If you have opened the packages but not mixed their contents then that doesn’t mean it is still fit for use.

The ingredients in the packages will get oxidized over time and you can be sure that does no good to your dye. Even a little exposure to air, sunlight, or moisture can ruin your dyes. The manufacturers recommend using the mixtures (unmixed) within 6 weeks only. Their use after that period will give you a darker shade.  

Note: If you have mixed the contents of packages then use the mix within one hour of preparation. Do not store the mixture because it has no shelf life. 

Does Hair Dye Expire After Opening It? 

There are a lot of hair dyes that have clearly written expiry dates. However, you’ll find a lot of hair dyes in the market that are unclear about their expiry dates. More often than not, you would buy a hair dyeing package and more than half of it would be left to be used next time. But that next time never comes? Does it? 

Does Hair Dye Expire?
Source: Kalista Salon

If that makes you ask if hair dye expires after opening it, then yes. Hair Dyes do expire after you open them. The professional colors used in salons have an expiry date from 1-2 years. However, the hair dyes for common use at home expire more quickly. It is recommended for you to use the hair dyes immediately after mixing and anything that’s left should be used within the next two weeks. 

After a long period, like a month or so, the dyes might smell bad or change their color. That means it is oxidized and can no longer be used on your hair.

Don’t you ask why? How is expired hair dye bad for your hair?
This takes us to the next section of this article. 

Side Effects of Expired Hair Dye | Why shouldn’t you use it? 

Does Hair Dye Expire?
Source: Healthline

If you like bizarre experiments, then you can try (please don’t), but for the sane ones, don’t ever use expired hair dye. The bad smell and changed color are all fine, but they will do such damage to your hair that it will take months to bring their natural texture back. 

Here are all the side effects of expired hair dyes that are enough to tell you why you shouldn’t use them-

  • Greenish Discoloration

Expired hair dye can make your hair color green. Just the way chlorine makes the bleached hair green, the same happens with expired hair dyes. Plus it wouldn’t matter if your hair is dyed or not. Especially, if you have light blonde, grey or white hair, your hair is most likely to turn green after the use of expired hair dye. 

  • Frizzy Hair 

An expired hair dye can be the cause of many troubles for you. It can end up with you having frizzy hair and trust me, no one wants to keep that unhealthy hair. You’ll eventually want to cut all of it. 

  • Allergic Reactions 

Many hair dyes cause permanent damage to the hair as well as to the scalp. People with sensitive scalps should refrain from using expired hair products, especially dyes. 

Although, some people will always have a reaction to the hair dyes, no matter whether it is newly manufactured or expired. Some common allergic reactions and burns might be caused due to- 

  1. Hydrogen Peroxide
  2. Ammonia
  3. Resorcinol
  4. Paraphenylenediamine (PPD)

If left open for future use, these compounds in the hair dyes can oxidize which will only intensify its allergic reactions. 

Does Hair Dye Expire?
Source: Headcurve

Here are the common allergic symptoms that are caused within 72 hours of hair dye application-

  1. Face swelling
  2. Itching
  3. Hives
  4. Burning
  5. Redness
  6. Sores
  7. Burns on scalp

Disclaimer: Before using hair dyes always consult your doctor. Avoid using products that have caused any irritation or reaction in the past. We do not recommend you use any expired hair dye. 

Suppose you still apply expired hair dye on your hair besides the fact that it is not recommended, you won’t be satisfied with the results. The color won’t be as shiny as it is supposed to be, the mix won’t be pigmented and it won’t even last long. What would be the fun of it? Expired dyes will fade away before you know and you would have taken that much risk for what? A Faded Shade? Nah!! Be smart and put your hair health first. 

Can I Use Expired Hair Dye?

Does Hair Dye Expire?
Source: Living Gorgeous

Expired hair dyes will only harm your hair if not on your scalp. There are many allergies and skin reactions associated with using expired hair dyes. So, we strongly recommend you not to use expired hair dyes because they won’t do any good to your hair.

Warning!!! Never mix hair dye products of different brands. 

You don’t know about their composition and how a product of one brand will react with a product of another brand. Also, if something happens to you, no brand can be held accountable because they never recommend anyone to mix their product with some other brands’.  

What’s the Best Way To Store Unopened Hair Dye? 

Hair dyes cannot be stored indefinitely. Unfortunately, they have an expiry date, but you still can make use of whatever’s left from your packages. Some manufacturers say that hair dyes can be stored for as long as you want, but we all know that’s not true. 

Does Hair Dye Expire?
Source: Daily Express

The shelf life of every hair dye depends on the composition & conditions in which it is stored. A cool, dry place would work best in keeping the hair dye away from sunlight and heat. It is said that hair dyes should be kept at a distance from heat because, usually, they have Ammonia and Peroxide, these compounds react quickly with heat. 

Storing the hair dye properly will not only increase its shelf life but will also prolong its shelf life. Professionals say that hair dyes can be stored for up to 3 years if stored correctly. Otherwise, it won’t even take a month to get ruined. 

Pros and Cons of Dyeing Hair at Home

Does Hair Dye Expire?
Source: Hollywood Life

Here are the main pros and cons of hair dyeing at home. You can have a look at them and figure out whether you want to dye your hair at home or not. 

#Pro: It’s Affordable

The biggest flex of dyeing your hair at home is that it is super affordable. When estimated it was found out that dyeing at home costs 70% less than coloring hair at a salon. Even less than so. A hairstylist will charge you (something around) $100 for coloring your hair and you can get a hair dye from eSalon for $25. ( $10 if it is your first purchase). 

If you dye your hair at home correctly then you can get the same results without spending that much money.

#Con: It’s Risky

If you are a first-timer, just trying your hands on hair dyeing, then might not know about the risks that come with hair dyeing. You would have to check whether the package was unopened or not, what’s the expiry date, if the color will suit your hair or not, if you won’t have any reaction and many more. 

Many allergic reactions come after hair dying. So, it is indeed a risky experiment. 

Does Hair Dye Expire?
Source: CNN

#Pro: It’s Convenient

Many people prefer hair dyeing at home because it’s convenient. At a salon, the whole procedure would take at least 5-6 hours. While at home, you can watch your favorite romantic movies or play some amazing Xbox games. It would save you a lot of time and you will be at home at all times. I mean, who likes to socialize these days? 

You can do it at whatever time you like and you won’t have to step out of home for anything. Wouldn’t that be great? 

#Con: Could Be Messy

The last thing you want is to get your floor or a shirt stained. That’s the inconvenience that comes along with DIY hair dyes and because of it, you have to be extra careful. You would have to wear an ugly-looking shirt, keep all the newspapers on the floor, use gloves (possibly), and whatnot. All such things would be taken care of at a salon. 

Is that why they charge so much? We don’t know, but we do know, the process can get a lot messy.  

#Pro: It Might Look Good

If you have tried your hands at hair dyeing at least twice, there’s a chance you’re already a pro at it. Once you know what the game is about, you can get it right. After all, it’s not rocket science. Only a few things to keep in mind, get the right color mixture, and boom, you’ll have your perfect look. 

It’s only mixing and applying the mixture, right? You better get that right because it surely kills some of us to spend money on extra expenses.

Does Hair Dye Expire?
Source: Sutton and District Training

#Con: It’s Still Unreliable

The steps written on the package can make it look like an easy process, but let’s admit, we’re not professionals. We can’t be as good as them. What color would look good on what hairstyle, skin tone, can only be known by an expert? It will take you time to figure out what looks best on you and what makes you jump when you look in the mirror. (Just Kidding

Understanding your hair science isn’t easy but it can be learned over time. Many have made their hair look horrible when they could’ve just left it without doing any experiments. You can surely learn a lot from them.  

Things To Consider When Buying Box Hair Dye 

Using box hair dye won’t do much damage when used once in a while. However, if you use box hair dye often, then your hair will surely become frizzy and dry. The reason behind this is that there aren’t any moisturizers that come with box hair dyes. 

Does Hair Dye Expire?

These hair dyes will dry your hair and you’ll have split ends before you know. To avoid that you have to moisturize your hair before dying and do a hair care regime every now and then. Box hair dyes also tend to make your hair weak and less shiny after every wash. So, it becomes crucial to take care of your hair. 

When you are applying box hair dye at home, make sure you take help from someone, because you surely don’t want any patches of hair left. Sometimes some portion of hair is lightly colored and some hair is colored unevenly. To avoid all those circumstances, make sure you ask someone to help you out with your DIY hair dyeing. 

If you can, take a hair spa at a salon after a week or two of your hair dyeing. It will stop the damage if there’s any and will bring the color out even more. 

If you are trying a box of hair dye for the first time, you need to do some good research about the brand, about its product. Especially, read about the reviews of the product on the most popular online shopping sites. It will help you get an idea of the quality of the dye.  

Wrapping Up

Hope you liked this article on “Does hair Dye Expire?”. If you still have some doubts or queries left regarding the subject then comment below. We will surely get back to you.

We don’t recommend you to use any expired products. Always consult your doctor before using any product on your body and skin. 

Share this article with your friends and tell them to never use any expired product ever. 

Have a Great Day! 

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