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Every girl has that magical draw full of various hair products that accumulated as they search for the perfect product combo to get their hair on fleek. A variety of shampoos, conditioners, edge control and more are what you may find in this drawer. With the cost of some of these products ranging from $15 or more, we sure aren’t tossing it in the trash just because our curls didn’t give us life the last time you used it. We much rather put them in this safe place and save them for a rainy day aka that dreaded wash day when your hair is already wet and you realize your go-to products are practically empty. But before you just go grabbing products out of the drawer you may want to watch out for this overlooked hair care secret.

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I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but, those products that you put in the box to the left may have EXPIRED! Yes, your hair products can expire and it is time to get rid of them before you do some serious damage. Far too often we let our products sit around until we are in desperate need of something to replace our routine hair care regimen and by the time you reach for them they have passed their shelf life. Most of us don’t even know what these products shelf life is to begin with. But that’s what I’m here for, I’m going to show you how to do a much-needed spring cleaning of your hair products.

First things first, you need to get all your products together so you can sort through and see what needs to be thrown away. Whether they are opened or not, there comes a point in time where you have to be like Elsa from Frozen and Let It Go. The average shelf life of an unopened product is 3 years but once it is opened that goes down to about a year and a half. Lucky for you, some companies have done the work for you and put the shelf life of your products on the bottle.  You probably never even noticed it or if you did you had no idea what it meant, but there is a drawing of a jar with a number inside.  That number stands for the number of months the product is good for once opened.

Are Your Hair Products Doing More Harm Than Good?

Source: Alicia Fajardo / Danielle James

Are Your Hair Products Doing More Harm Than Good?

Source: Alicia Fajardo / Danielle James

It’s not enough to know when your product is set to expire because certain things you may be doing can cause that timeline to vary. Different products obviously are made up of different things and placed in different containers, so this may cause one product to last a little longer than another. For instance, products that are in a jar are more susceptible to germs and bacteria from you hands dipping in it so it may not last as long as something in a bottle you squeeze the product out of or something that is in a spray bottle. Then there is the rise in natural products that chose not to use preservatives, this will definitely affect the products shelf life so it’s important to treat each product uniquely, even if it is from the same brand.

Another major factor in product effectiveness and shelf life is water. If you are like me you may keep products like your shampoo and conditioner in the shower so they are more likely to get water inside. If you get water into the products that can alter its makeup and affect its longevity. To prevent this from happening always make sure your products are tightly closed and stored in a dry, cool location away from direct sunlight.

Now that you are aware of your products ability to expire and what may cause it to happen sooner than later, you may be saying to yourself, how am I supposed to remember when I got all these products. Trust me I know this struggle all too well, so I recommend keeping a little notepad/journal in your product drawer and whenever you get something new write it down so you know how long it’s been in there. When you go through your spring cleaning this time next year you won’t have to play the guessing game you’ll know exactly what has to go. As for the things you already have and aren’t sure if they are expired here are a few telltale signs. If there is any kind of smell or odor that product obviously has to be thrown out. Pay attention to the texture and color if it looks unusual or it doesn’t look like you remember, toss it. Trust me when I say you are better safe than sorry.

This is coming from a person who is very frugal and loves to make something last, but expired products are nothing to play with. They can cause irritation, or even worse scalp damage which in turn can cause hair breakage. As you know I am always focused on hair health and using expired products can be as harmful to your hair as using the wrong ones. So now that you know better, hopefully you will do better and make sure your product drawer is on that spring cleaning list as well.


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Are Your Hair Products Doing More Harm Than Good?  was originally published on