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Does Hair Dye Expire?

Your favorite box of hair color may have a shelf life — get the facts.
August 19, 2022


Jumping into a new hair color for the start of a new season can be exciting and exhilarating — especially if you’re sitting on box after box of unused dye that you’ve been itching to try. But if you’re anything like us you might be suspicious to use said boxes depending on how long they’ve been taking up space in your beauty closet. 

Let’s face it, when it comes to the shelf life of beauty products, it can be really difficult to know when they expire, especially hair dye. Most manufacturers aren’t exactly slapping big expiration notices on the front of their products like they do at the meat counter in your favorite supermarket. So we’re exploring the question of whether hair color can expire to help you make an informed decision before you start your next dye job.

Can Your Hair Dye Expire?

The short answer is, sort of. And there are certain things you should know about hair color products if you’re going to dye your hair at home, according to Jonathan Colombini, celebrity hairstylist and L’Oréal Paris creative director of style and color.

“Hair color doesn’t [really] expire so long as the ammonia and peroxide haven’t been mixed,” he explains. “However, the shelf life of hair color is typically three years from production if unopened and kept away from heat and humidity in perfect conditions.”  


According to the L’Oréal labs, perfect conditions means a temperature between 71.6–77 degrees Fahrenheit (22–25 degrees Celsius).So, your unopened and unmixed box of hair dye can potentially last you a really long time. 


After three years, however, many hair dyes likely won’t take to your strands. Think about it, these products contain chemicals that are meant to react in order to produce gorgeous color pigments. If those chemicals change or separate over time, you won’t get that intended result. So, hair dye that is stored at the right temperature and is kept in the box unopened and unmixed should deliver the beautiful results that it promises. 


But when it’s all said and done, if you want the best hair color results, Colombini suggests you “use [the hair dye] as soon as possible when you purchase it.” 


Next: I’m Allergic To PPD, Can I Still Dye My Hair?


Written by: Shalwah Evans, Photo Design: Sarah Duvivier

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