Because we are so obsessed with perfection, we love to try out new products. Mentally we are convinced there’s always something that taste better, look better, sound better, or work better. This thought process is expected because we live in a world where there is always a new discovery or idea. Tailoring this article bit, some of us have an infatuation with buying hair and beauty products. Yes, I said it. We’re down right hoarders. We will literally watch a tutorial on YouTube and go buy the exact same products the person used in video within a week (or a day, you know who you are). Your closet already has 6 leave-in conditioners but you just have to try this new one. When I say we, I include myself. I’m much better at controlling the number of hair products I purchase now but I did not always show this kind of restraint. I’m writing this article to caution the hoarder that lives inside of you.
Hair and beauty products EXPIRE. I know this may not be shocking news for most of you. However, I would like to still change your thought process. We often think of hair and beauty products as getting old but not expired. Maybe it’s because when hair and beauty products become expired it isn’t as noticeable as food. But I urge you to think about old hair and beauty products the same way you think about old food.
As of right now the United States does not care to protect us from expired hair and beauty products because they choose to put the responsibility on manufacturers. The following paragraph was obtained directly from the FDA website.
“There are no U.S. laws or regulations that require cosmetics to have specific shelf lives or have expiration dates on their labels. However, manufacturers are responsible for making sure their products are safe. FDA considers determining a product’s shelf life to be part of the manufacturer’s responsibility.”
So, how do hair products expired? Well, the short answers is bacteria. Bacteria is the reason why products we consume or use on top of our skin expires. Right when we reach down in that jar to grab the product, bacteria is exchanged. Just the simple action of exposing our products to light and moisture increases our products’ expiration dates. To be clear, the expiration date will vary based on the product. For an example, oils have a longer shelf live than products with a high water content.
What’s the harm in using expired hair products? Mold and fungus can come in contact with a rash or sore we have on our scalp or skin and cause an infection. Simply put, if you use expired hair products, there’s a CHANCE an infection will invade your body. With that being said, if you think your products are expired, throw the products away. I know it’s hard to throw away things you’ve spent your hard earned money on. Here’s my solution to you. Don’t buy so many products and pace yourself. Pay attention to your hair and beauty routine and buy products based on your routine. If you use a lathering shampoo once a month, you probably don’t need more than two different kinds of shampoo a year. That new shampoo line will be there next year when you run out of shampoo.
Now I know what some of you may be thinking, “I’ll buy it now and use it later.” Well I have news for you, unopened products expire too. However, there are some ways you can slow down the expiration date of your product. Two ways you can slow down the expiration date is to first keep your products in a dry dark place. For an example, you probably shouldn’t keep your products in the bathroom. Second, try not to get extra water in your product. Water increases the chance of your product producing mold.
How do I know if my product is expired? Many hair and beauty products include an expiration date similar to the picture below.
A general rule is that these types of products should be thrown away after three years (this includes unopened products). You can find apps and websites to make a judgment call on how long you should use a product. Also, pay attention to the product. If the consistency, color, or smell of the product changes, it is probably time for you to throw the product out.
When I did this research my mindset completely changed regarding old hair products. I thought the worst of what could happen to my hair was that it would get stiff. Silly, I know. I hope this post changes your mindset and provides some insight or clarity about the products in your closet.