How Long Does Hair Dye Last

Hair! Hair! Hair! Changing up that hair is one of the first things we think about when we’re looking for some excitement in our quarantined dull lives. A trip to our favorite hairdresser is all it takes to get us pumped up and feel beautiful again, or when we want to simply spice up our overall personality. Ever heard that quote by coco Chanel? “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life”. Well, that applies well for hair coloring too, don’t you think? Just getting a different shade or getting any beautiful highlights in your hair could add so much more texture, and personality to it. Suddenly you have all the confidence to take on the world. 

Be it summer, winter, or fall, hair color never goes out of trend, Right? Most of us love to color our hair more than often, to switch things up or cover up any greys. 

It is important to know all there is to know about hair dyes if you’re one of these people who use dyes regularly.

Manufacturers these days do not print the expiry date on hair dyes as they claim that their products can stay usable until the end of time, as long as they are efficiently stored.

Being an individual who uses dyes on regular basis, here is what I’d like to tell you: they are insanely out of their minds! Studies all over the world claim that hair dyes do have an expiry date. If the hair color is stored unopened, it can be safely used for about 3 years. But if the tube is opened, one should remember to use it up within 1-2 years, unless you find any abnormality in its texture or odor. 

And mind you! These rules apply only to professional high-quality hair dyes. If you’re thinking about using that drugstore hair color that has been sitting in your medicine cabinet for over two years now, don’t be too skeptical about tossing it. Get rid of it ASAP! Cheap hair dyes go bad much quicker than professional ones. Also, the quality and efficiency of any hair color will decline, the longer it stays on your shelf. An old box of dye will never deliver the vibrant results that you see on the box.

Used an expired hair dye? Here’s what you’ll need to watch out for…

Don’t panic! Don’t worry! You’ll still live. But the results of using an expired box of hair color may leave you with side effects like unwanted hair color/discolored hair, itchy scalp, or other unexpected results that will make you want you to run to the nearest salon and splurge on even more expensive hair treatments. 

Green alert: One of the most reported results. Expired hair dye gives you dark green hair. (Especially if used on bleached hair) 

That frizz no one ever wants: The chemical makeup of your hair dyes change when they sit for long. Using this might give you brittle and frizzy hair. Unless you’re going for the Monica-in-Barbados look, you’re not going to enjoy this. Not cute! 

Discoloration/ different hair color: Even if this hair color works, you might be able to see discoloration or patches in your hair or much rather be left with a different hair color than the one you see on that box.

Scalp on fire: Don’t worry! Your hair won’t catch fire; I tend to be overdramatic sometimes. Chemicals in the expired hair dye might leave you with a burning sensation or redness in your scalp, around the ears, and on the forehead. It could also leave you with a skin allergy or the most dreaded thing amongst human existence: hair fall. That is the last misery we’d want in our lives during this already stressful global pandemic. Right?

How to properly store hair dye

An unopened tube of hair color will last for a good 3 years if protected from direct sunlight and humidity. Make sure you store it in a cool dry place. Some people also store it in the refrigerator to keep it working for longer. But I haven’t tried it.

If you’ve opened the box, you’d want to use that up within the next 1-2 years, while preserving it well. 

Organic or natural hair colors (that have more natural ingredients in them) also have a smaller time window when it comes to shelf life. More care and preservation might be required in their case.  


· Never store an already mixed hair dye. If you decide to mix hair

  dye, it has to be used immediately

· No direct sunlight.

· Air causes oxidation.

· Moisture can cause oxidation as well.

· Keep away from contamination or micro-organisms.

If you’ve followed these rules, your box of color is good for quite some time. 

Now that we’ve learned, how to properly store our hair dye and what happens if we use an expired box of color, let’s see how to recognize a product that has gone bad.

Spoilt hair color will give itself away rather too quickly anyway, but here are a few pointers that will help you tell:

Check the cap: If you find any residue that is yellowish or orange in color sitting on the inside the cap of the tube or the hard container.

Check for swelling: If you notice any swelling in the package, the air has possibly gotten in somehow and the product has oxidized.

Take a whiff: If the product has a bad or unpleasant odor, discard it immediately.

Excess liquid: If any excess water or liquid is floating on top, (makes you want to stir it) it’s time to toss it in the bin.

After reading this, I can positively claim that you’re now an expert with storing and caring for your box of dye. Just remember that using a really old box of hair color is not worth the risk or hassle. Just go out and buy a fresh product. You won’t regret it.

By Caitlyn

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