Can You Use Expired Shampoo?



You’re probably in your Marie Kondo era and decided to declutter, only to find a half-empty shampoo bottle that you forgot even existed. It looks perfectly fine, and you wonder if you can still use it. But should you? And how do you know it’s past its expiration date? We’ll tell you in this article. Keep reading! 


Can You Use Expired Shampoo? 

Can You Use Expired Shampoo  

The simple answer is you should NOT use an expired shampoo (especially if its smell has gone bad). Why? Because expired shampoos are no longer effective and in the worst-case scenario, may cause itching and irritation on your scalp.  


As you may know, products that are exposed to air may gather bacteria and undergo a chemical change that makes expired products ineffective. So, products that are past its shelf life will not give your hair the same benefit as a new one. Moreover, experts say continued usage may even leave your hair dull and dirty depending on the ingredients and your hair’s reaction to the product.  


What should you do? Here are two things: One, make sure to finish a bottle of shampoo before opening a new one. Two, follow Marie Kondo’s advice “Discard anything that doesn't spark joy.” 


Read below on how to check if your hair products are still good to use! 


How to Check If It’s Still Good to Use 

 How to Check If It’s Still Good to Use


Check the Label  


The first thing to check is the expiration label on your product. However, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require cosmetics to have an expiration or shelf life printed on the label. If it does not have it, then check PAO or the Period After Opening. PAO suggests the time your product is still safe and stable to use after opening (the downside of this is that if you can’t remember when you opened it). PAO is often symbolized by a small container with an open lid. The number on the container indicates how long the product is good for use upon opening (see sample below).  


18 Months Rule 


If there is no expiration date or period after opening on the label, you can follow the 18-month rule. If it’s been open for 18 months or more, it’s best to assume that it is no longer usable and it is time to dispose of it.  


Judge Its Physical Appearance 


Look inside the shampoo bottle and if any of these are present, then it’s best to say that it has gone stale: 

  • Clumps and dry parts are forming 
  • Smell is different than before 
  • Has a yellowish color or it has a different one than the original 
  • It does not lather well as before and leaves your hair a sticky and dull appearance 


    How to Maximize Its Shelf Life

    How to Maximize Its Shelf Life 

    To prevent your shampoo from going bad quickly, here are a few tips you can do:  

    • Keep the lid closed after using it to prevent air and bacteria from contaminating it. 
    • Avoid water droplets from entering the bottle. 
    • Store it in a cool dark place and avoid direct sunlight. 



    Center. (2022). Shelf Life and Expiration Dating of Cosmetics. U.S. Food and Drug Administration.