Does Hair Dye Expire

hair color application Does Hair Dye Expire?

Get the facts.

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 the facts on when they expire, especially hair dye. Most manufacturers aren’t exactly slapping big expiration notices on 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 celebrity hairstylist and L’Oréal Paris expert Jonathan Colombini.

“Hair color doesn’t [really] expire so long as the ammonia and peroxide haven’t been mixed,” he explains. “However, the shelf life is typically three years if unopened and kept away from heat and humidity. But always read manufacturer directions.”


So your unopened and unmixed box of hair dye can last you a really long time. After three years 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. 


And while most hair dyes will have some serious staying power as long as the developing ingredients aren’t mixed, there are measures you can take to extend the life of all your hair dye. Colombini says that keeping it away from heat and stored at room temperature, and always making sure it’s closed all the way [if used] can make all the difference. These days some brands will even include a “use by” date for opened hair color products. 


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