How long does a shampoo last? All Your Questions About Shampoos Answered

How long does a shampoo last

Shampoo is usually a liquid substance used for washing the head, hair, or fibers like carpet to get rid of all oil, dirt, and dead cells on the scalp or the fiber. In essence, shampoo acts as a cleaning agent.

 How long does shampoo last?

A bottle of  shampoo can last up to 3 months to 3 years depending on the following factors:

  • Individual use
  • Bottle Size and shape
  • density
  • Hair type/structure
How long does a shampoo last
How long does a shampoo last

Individual usage

If you love to wash your hair daily, even if your hair is not dirty, your shampoo will not last long. Perhaps, you love to wash your hair daily because you love the fragrance of the shampoo, or you want your hair to smell extremely good because you know that your boyfriend or girlfriend loves to plant a kiss on it or

Regardless of your reason, know that your shampoo will certainly not last longer than a month if you wash your hair daily. This, however, still depends on the density and bottle size of the shampoo. If you use your shampoo frequently, you have to be ready to replace it frequently.

If you are the type that loves to wash your hair once or twice a week, it may last longer than three months, depending on the bottle size and density also.

If you are the type that rarely uses the shampoo, your shampoo may last for over two to three years. But be sure to use up the shampoo before it expires. Once you open a shampoo, regardless of how infrequently you use it, it will someday expire because it has been opened to sunlight and air.

Bottle Size and shape

Shampoos are stored in glass or plastic bottles. Some shampoo bottles usually come with an external bottle cap, a closure, an internal stopper, a seal, or something entirely different.

Most shampoo bottles with internal stoppers are more expensive than shampoo bottles with a bottle cap. I love shampoo bottles with internal stoppers because it enhances the beauty of the shampoo. But, in all honesty, a shampoo bottle with a bottle cap has more liquid volume than a shampoo bottle with an internal stopper. When I look at my pocket and want an economical shampoo that will last longer, I go for a shampoo with a bottle cap.

Most shampoo bottles are usually between 100ml (3.5oz)to 1000ml (34oz)


A shampoo that has density is one whose fluid is thick and not runny or watery. When you buy liquid shampoos, they may not lather like a dense shampoo. It would pour so easily that you may end up emptying all the content at once in your head if not careful.

Hair type/structure

Your hair structure will also determine how long your shampoo will last. Is your hair structure thick or thin?

Thin hair has a big gap between each strand of hair.  The strand of hair is thin and almost transparent when held up to the light.  It isn’t easy to feel. You may have thin hair because of the few follicles in your scalp. If you have thin hair with a thin volume (circumference less than two inches/5cm), it won’t consume much shampoo compared to someone with thick hair.

However, it may require more washing (not necessarily daily) as thin hair is easily coated by sebum. Sebum is an oily substance produced by your sebaceous gland.

Thick hair: If you have thick hair, the strand of hair is thick and usually easily identified.  It feels hard and wiry. It tends to be dry since oil doesn’t coat the strands easily. If you have thick hair with thick volume (circumference from more than 4 inches/10cm), you may require more shampoo when washing your hair because of the density.

Do Shampoo Expire?

Shampoo is usually a liquid substance used for washing the head, hair, or fibers like carpet to get rid of all oil, dirt, and dead cells on the scalp or the fiber. In essence, shampoo acts as a cleaning agent.

Do people think shampoos don’t expire?

Yes! I am one of those people who used to think shampoos don’t expire. Growing up, I did not know shampoos always had their shelf life and expiry date. This is because I often see many people still using the same shampoo I have known them with for months going to years.

Moreover,  manufacturers of shampoo hair products either do not put the expiry date on the shampoo bottles or put it in a tiny text or somewhere difficult to locate. I wonder why, though. A product’s expiry date is usually written on the top, bottom, or sides of the container, bottle, tube.

For any hair product, the expiry date is usually written as 12M, 24M, or 36M; the M stands for months. Some manufacturers write best before “a certain date/year.”

Furthermore, I noticed that some salon owners always find a way of not letting their shampoo finish by diluting it with water. The more they dilute their shampoo, the longer it lasts.

These were the reasons I felt shampoos did not expire while growing up.

Can a shampoo expire?

These shampoos do expire, whether it is a cleansing shampoo, volumizing shampoo, or straightening shampoo. Even if you don’t open the shampoo for the next five years to a decade, it is probably way past expiration. It would have expired.

Most shampoos expire two or three years after opening them, even if you seal them tightly and prevent direct sunlight or heat from reaching your shampoo.

If you purchased a shampoo that doesn’t contain expiration date information, try to exhaust the shampoo bottle on or before two years, regardless of the exclusion of the expiry date.

Shampoos expire because they make use of little or no preservatives. These preservatives help to keep fresh the ingredients used in making the shampoo.

Some shampoo may, however, expire more quickly than others because of some factors. These factors are:

  • Ingredient
  • Exposure


Different hair product manufacturers use different ingredients in their mixture while making shampoo so that your hair can be clean and free of dandruff. A shampoo contains foaming agents, preservatives, thickeners, surfactants, special additives, and so on.

Regardless of the type of ingredient used, a bottle of shampoo will typically contain the following:

  • Sulfate
  • Zinc pyrithione
  • Citric acid
  • Sodium lauryl
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Sodium benzoate
  • Dimethicone
  • Panthenol
  • Parabens
  • Sorbic acid
  • Benzyl alcohol
  • 1,3-dimethylol-5,5-dimethyl (DMDM) hydantoin
  • Tetrasodium EDTA
  • Cocamidopropyl betaine
  • Stearyl alcohol
  • Gelatin
  • Stearic acid

.Some of these ingredients last longer than others. So, if your shampoo contains ingredients that don’t last for too long, your shampoo will expire on time.


If you are the type that loves to leave your bottle of shampoo open for minutes leading to hours, or you did not find another cover after the major cover got damaged, it will quickly expire. This is because the more you open it, the more you expose it to sunlight, air, fungus, and bacteria. This exposure will reduce the lifespan of the shampoo, and it will eventually expire.


How can you tell that your shampoo has expired?

  • It would form clumps, and the substance used in making it would start to separate.
  • It would have a bad odor. It won’t be the same as the nice fragrance when you initially purchased it.
  • It would be runny and will not lather properly.
  • There will be a chemical change.
  • It would become ineffective when you use it to wash your hair because the healing nutrients have expired.

What are the dangers of using an expired shampoo?

  • It would affect the health of your hair.
  • Your hair will become dull.
  • Using it to clean does not guarantee the cleanliness of your hair, but maybe the wetness of your hair. It is like you are just pouring plain water on your hair.
  • Scalp irritation
  • Itches
  • Dryness
  • Hair loss
  • Hair infection
  •  Texture change

What should you do when your shampoo expires?

When your shampoo expires, you are to dispose of it. But, first of all, empty the liquid in the container before disposing of it so that someone else doesn’t see it and make use of it, oblivious of the hair product’s expiration.

What can you do with an expired shampoo?

If your non infested shampoo has expired and you don’t want to dispose of it, you can use it for the following:

You can use it to clean your bathroom

You can pour some of the shampoos in the basin you want to use for cleaning. This basin should contain the quantity of water you want to use for cleaning. Ensure it lathers before you start using it to clean your toilet and bathroom.

You can use it for both manicures and pedicures.

You can mix the shampoo in the warm water you want to use. If it doesn’t lather, pour more of the shampoo till it lathers. Then, soak your hand and feet in the prepared solution for some minutes. By the time you bring your hands and feet out of the water, they will be soft enough for you to scrub. Ensure you scrub with a soft brush.

You can use it for fiber washing.

You can use your expired shampoo to wash fibers. It could be carpets, rugs or light clothes like socks, tights, singlets and so on.

You can use it to clean your windows.

You can use your expired shampoo to clean your windows, mirrors, or anything glass. It would clean the dirt and leave your windows crystal clear.

You can also use your expired shampoo to clean tiles, fans, toys, and water resilient games.

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