Is It Safe To Use Shampoo After It Expires?

Shampoo's instructions are basic: Lather, rinse, and repeat. It really shouldn't be too difficult to follow the popular instructions for the desired effect of clean hair. But what about if you are lathering up your strands with an expired bottle of shampoo? Will we still achieve the desired effect — and is it even safe? It's a normal question to consider. Half-empty shampoo bottles are to the bathroom as to what half-empty cereal boxes are to the kitchen. There are certain products that tend to have a special staying power on our shelves. And that's all well and good, as long as the product doesn't harm our health when we brush off the dust and continue to use it.

First off, finding out if a shampoo has actually expired can be tricky. Bustle tells us that the FDA doesn't require manufacturers to put the expiration date on the bottle, and that a shampoo can actually go "bad" before any of the telltale signs start to appear.

It's not just the expiration date to look out for

And just what are the telltale signs of an expired shampoo? If you're questioning if your shampoo is safe to use, Healthline first recommends checking the back for the expiration date. If you don't see one, then other signs it has expired include an off-putting odor (is that "sea mist" smelling more like "dumpster mist?"), if the texture or color of the liquid has changed, or if you notice it's not working as well as it once did.

So is it still safe to suds up even after noticing one or more of these signs? It may be best to spring for a new bottle. Healthline tells us that using expired shampoo may result in dull-looking hair. Gina Rivera, founder of Phenix Salon Suites, tells the site, "Expired products undergo a chemical change, which means they're no longer effective at a high level." 

A lot of us would throw that expired bottle away quicker than the shower water turns cold at the thought of dull hair. But if that's not enough to make you question using the last squeeze of that questionable shampoo bottle, then perhaps this will. Bustle warns us that using expired shampoo may increase the risk of spreading bacteria onto our hair and scalp, leaving us more vulnerable to infection. Let's all try and keep the popular instructions to lather, rinse, and repeat, instead of lather, rinse, and infect.