In my house, shampoos and conditioners never expire. Given the fact that I have long, curly hair that feels extremely greasy after two days, I can go through large bottles of shampoo and conditioner in four to six weeks. So, I’ve never had to worry about them going bad because by two months I’ve already long disposed of them and got new ones.

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But, understandably, not everyone goes through these as quick.

So, I’m here to answer whether or not shampoo and conditioner have an expiration date, how to tell, and whether or not it’s really safe to use expired shampoo and conditioner if it’s gone way past the expiry date.

What’s in Shampoo and Conditioners?

Shampoo formulas can vary depending on the manufacturer. Generally, however, a bottle of shampoo can contain: sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, dimethicone, panthenol, citric acid, parabens, zinc pyrithione, and cocamidopropyl betaine.

These ingredients serve varying purposes, from cleaning your hair, keeping it dandruff free, and ensuring the unused shampoo remains bacteria-free. Some shampoos are marketed to have different benefits such as managing split-ends, course hair, or speeding up hair growth (here’s an article on how long it should normally take for hair to grow if you’re interested to learn more about that).

Of course, shampoo bars will have different compositions and more ingredients to give it its solid form.

Conditioner, on the other hand, contains silicones, oils, and emollients to moisturize the hair after shampoos have removed a lot of its moisture. Unlike shampoo, you have to leave conditioner on your hair for a while to moisturize your hair. Like shampoo, some conditioners stand out because they have different benefits. Some strengthen hair, for example, while others contain nutrients like Vitamin E oil for hair growth.

Can Shampoos and Conditioners Expire?

Yes, shampoos and conditioners do expire. While you’re unlikely to find a specific expiration date on the container, you’ll most likely find a symbol at the back of the bottle that looks like this.

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Source: Giphy

However, if it’s past the expiration date but still doesn’t look expired, you can opt to recycle the remaining shampoo to use for cleaning your toilet or for hand-washing delicate clothes.