How Long Does Shampoo Last?


You have likely been in a situation where you found an open bottle of shampoo in your shower that you had forgotten you had. And since you ran out of your other shampoo recently and forget to buy more at the supermarket or drugstore, you feel that you have no other choice but to use that old shampoo that you opened back at a time you don’t even remember. However, is it safe to do that? Should you use an old shampoo that you have not used for a long time? Or, if you bought shampoo a while back but never opened it, is it safe to do so? There are so many queries about the length of time that shampoo can last. Let’s look into that now.

Does Shampoo Have An Expiration Date?

If you wonder whether shampoo has an expiration date, the short answer is perhaps it might. The thing is that manufacturers of personal care products such as shampoo, makeup, and other skin or hair care products do not legally need to stamp on an expiration date the same way as food manufacturers do. However, according to the FDA, many manufacturers of personal care products will include a suggestion to use the product during a timeframe of when you open it. That is known as the period of the opening label, and the back of the bottle towards the bottom is where you may find it.

You may also have a shampoo with a label that recommends using it by a specific date, even if you have not yet opened it. The symbol of that would appear like a small container without the lid. You will also find on the container the letter “M” and a number which means months. It will appear something along the lines of 12 M, 18 M, or 24 M. Therefore, the manufacturer indicates that once you open the bottle, the recommendation is to use it within the timeframe of 12 months, 18 months, or 24 months depending on the advice.

However, sometimes skincare or haircare products, including shampoo, do not include best before dates, shelf life, or expiration dates. Therefore, that is when it makes it harder to determine if it is safe to use. However, there are also ways to examine the product to see if it has gone bad. You can always utilize that hack to do so before using a shampoo that is not safe to use because it is too old and has gone bad as a result.

How Do You Know If Your Shampoo Is No Longer Good?

If you do not indicate on the bottle how long you should use your shampoo after opening it, then there are ways you can examine it to see if it is no longer usable. For example, if your shampoo has a strange odor, appears discolored, has a clumpy consistency, or plain does not seem to be effective, those are signs that the shampoo is no longer good. But, of course, you would only know if it is no longer effective if you used the old shampoo and found it did not clean your hair properly. In that situation, the best thing to do is to toss away the shampoo and ensure that you square away time in your day to buy new ones.

You cannot stop the shampoo from going bad by using it after the best before date on the label. However, if the shampoo has no label or you want to ensure that it remains effective regardless, you can do things to increase its shelf life and get the most out of it.

How To Increase The Shelf Life Of The Shampoo

You cannot increase the shampoo shelf life if you use it after the best before date. However, there are steps you can take to help keep it from going bad prematurely. To ensure that you keep the shampoo usable, the steps to take are always closing the lid correctly after using it. You also want to ensure that you keep the unopened shampoo from any sunlight or heat because the heat will cause some damage to the product. Storing the shampoo in a cool and dark area is the best thing to do that will help it maintain its effectiveness and usability.

Ensure that you also keep the exposure to water droplets to a minimum because if you end up with water droplets in the shampoo, that can cause it to grow mildew and mold, which will make it unusable. You also want to buy a shampoo that is sulfate-free as sulfates can shorten the shelf life of shampoo.

Is It Dangerous To Use Expired Shampoo?

Using expired shampoo is not dangerous per se, but it can cause irritations to your scalp, and it will also cause your hair to appear dull. In addition, it will not clean your hair the way you intend to clean it as well. While you don’t want to use expired shampoo, you will want to look at other products in your bathroom and get rid of the products that are no good and are past their expiration date. They will not be effective, and they can also cause skin irritation. If there are any old skin or hair care products that don’t have an expiration date, toss them away anyway because they are old.


The one thing about shampoo that many people don’t know is whether they have an expiration date. You may find that many shampoo brands‘ will have labels that indicate that they are best used before a certain time. However, if you come across a very old bottle of shampoo or any skin or hair care product, the best thing to do is to toss it away. Old hair and skincare products will no longer be effective and can cause some skin or scalp irritation. Therefore, it is the best thing to go and purchase new shampoo and other products, so you do not need to worry about any of it going bad.