You may have been digging through your medicine cabinet and found a bottle of shampoo that you don’t remember buying. Now you’re wondering if hair products expire. The simple answer is that all of these products expire.
Any hair product that is older than three years old should be considered expired. Products that are kept in a cool dark place will last the longest, while products left in warm places or opened will expire sooner. Artificial-based products tend to last longer than those with natural ingredients.
Read on to learn what expired hair products look like and how to dispose of them.
What kinds of Hair Products Expire
When you hear the term hair products you might not be sure what it is referring to. The simplest answer is it is anything product or chemical that you use on your hair.
Common examples of these include those used for cleaning like shampoos and conditioners, or for altering the color or shape of hair like dyes and hairspray respectively. These are common products that we use every week. However, if you are like me you never stop and think about them expiring.
No manufacturer of these products claims they last more than three years. Due to the way they are made up and the chemicals involved in them after several years they begin to break down.
While they might last up to this long, many of them have a far shorter life span. While most hair products won’t have an expiration date on them, many have started to be marked with a period after opening mark.
How to tell if my Hair Products Expire
Each different kind of hair product expires at a different rate. Therefore, you will need to look for signs of expiration.
Most manufacturers mark their hair products to tell consumers how long until they expire. These marks can be found on your product’s label. Look for the small jar then note the number. The M stands for month, so the number will tell you how many months it will last after the containair is opened. Period after opening can be as low as 1 month and as high as 36 months.
Most products will are marked in the 6 to 12 month range. Products that are made up of more artificial ingredients tend to have a longer shelf life. These are the products you could expect to last several years. Products that you make yourself or that rely on a natural based formula tend to last a lot less longer and expire much quicker.
The best way to determine an expired hair product is by its appearance. Does it have a different texture then it did originally? Your shampoo should be closer to a gel not soggy cornflakes. Does it have a different smell? The fragrences in these products are among the first things to break down. If the product has a different smell, for example an earthy smell for hairspray, it needs to be disposed of.
How to Throw Away Hair Products
If you have determined that a product is expired there are a couple of steps that you should take. The first is to check the label for any directions on disposing of it.
Most hair products are safe to dispose of with the rest of your garbage, but it is always best to check your products label first. Aerosal cans are always suspect especially if they still contain hair product and should be considered hazardous waste. Synthatic hair dyes should be checked carefully since they often contain hazardous chemicals.
For all other products you are safe to dispose of them with the rest of your household trash. Products should not be emptied down drains. While they might not contain hazardous products, they do contain chemicals that are classified by the EPA as Contaminates of Emerging Concern or things that shouldn’t be introduced in large amounts to waterways and the environment
Recycling Hair Products
If you want the most environmentally friendly way of disposing of your hair products then the best option is to recycle your hair products. Can you recycle your hair products, though?
It depends on several factors. The first issue is what chemicals were in your hair products. For the most part, the chemicals in shampoo, hair dye, conditioner, and hairspray are not good to go into regular landfills and most definitely cannot be washed away.
The gut response in cleaning out hair products is to wash them out in the sink. This is very bad for the environment. Cleaning out your product in the sink will expose chemicals to the water system. This could cause environmental damage. Therefore, the best thing to do is to wipe out the substances of your hair products with a paper towel and place them in a hazardous waste garbage bag.
After gathering your hazardous waste you can take your hair products to a hazardous waste facility that will happily take your products to keep the environment safe. This will leave you with nothing, but a bunch of empty bottles.
What to do with all of the empty bottles to be best for the environment? You should check the bottle to see what kind of plastic it is. You can tell what kind of plastic your bottle is by looking at the recycling sign. In the middle of the recycle triangle should be a number. If it is a number one or a number two then your bottle should be fine to go in the regular curbside recycling bin. If it is a larger number there are other things you should do.
Regular recycling agencies are equipt to handle number 1 and 2 plastic, but higher plastic levels mean that you need to bring your bottles to a more experienced facility that will be able to help you.
You should be able to find a center near you by looking online for places near me that take numbers 3, 4, or 5 plastic. Once you have found the place give them a call to let them know of your supplies and get any other details that will help in recycling your bottles and then bring them back over.
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