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September 2, 2022 by Edna K. Martin – Hairstylist, Certified Skin Care Coach
You want to bleach or dye your hair, and you decided to use the leftover hair developer you’ve had in your wardrobe forever. Then the first question that you ask yourself is whether the hair developer expires. Simply put, hair developers do expire. What’s its shelf life? How do you know the hair developer has expired? Read on to find answers to these questions and more.
In This Article
What is the shelf life of a hair developer?
Hair developers do expire; however, they have a long life span. And because of this, their expiry date is not usually written on their container. This brings about confusion for a lot of women.
However, for a hair developer that has not been opened, it can last up to three years if properly stored; we will talk more about this later. A hair developer that has been opened lasts about 6 months.
How to know if the hair developer has expired?
You should know that every beauty product (hair product inclusive) has an expiry date. The expiry date is usually written on the container; however, for regular products, we tend to finish using them before they exceed their shelf life.
But the case of a hair developer is different; we use them less often and they also have a long shelf life. However, their expiry date is not always written on their container.
So, if you have a developer in your closet for a long time and you want to check for the expiry date, how do you do that? One thing you should avoid doing is smelling the product up close. One bad habit is using our sense of smell to check for the expiry date.
This is quite bad when it comes to the hair developer. This is because a developer has harsh chemicals that can irritate the nose. So you shouldn’t smell it. Here are some ways you can find out whether the developer has expired or not.
Change in the developer’s consistency
One thing that indicates whether the developer has exceeded its shelf life is its consistency. The consistency of the hair developer is usually liquid or creamy.
If you notice a liquid developer is more watery than normal, it has expired. You should dispose of it. On the other hand, if you notice that a creamy developer is no longer creamy, then it is no longer good, you should get rid of it.
Change in color
Another telltale sign that a developer has expired is if there is a color change. For instance, if your liquid developer has a tinge of yellow, it is no longer good. So, you should not use it.
Swelling of the container.
Sometimes, you do not have to open the developer to know that it has expired. Instead, you will simply notice that there is swelling on the container. If you notice this, get rid of the developer immediately.
What happens to your hair if you use an expired hair developer?
You now know the signs that indicate an expired hair developer. So, when you notice any of the signs you should not use them. You are probably wondering what will happen to your hair if you use an expired developer. These are some consequences of using a hair developer that has exceeded its shelf life.
The developer won’t work.
Let us start with the least damaging effect. If you use an expired developer with bleach or hair dye, it simply won’t work. Using an expired developer will either not make the color in the dye stay on your hair or give you a different outcome entirely. So to avoid color nightmares, ensure you stay away from an expired hair developer.
It could damage your hair
Remember we said that hair developers have harmful chemicals. Now, imagine how harmful the chemical will be when it expires. Exposure to your hair can cause damages such as split hair, overly dry hair, and even breakage.
Cause hair loss
The hydrogen peroxide in a hair developer forces the hair cuticle to open so it strips off the natural color. If the developer is expired, the chemical might damage the hair follicle and make you lose a chunk of hair. So, think of the health of your hair before using an expired product.
Irritation and infection
The skin on the scalp is more sensitive; this is why you should be careful of the product that you use on it. If you use an expired hair developer on your hair, it could cause irritation on your scalp which often causes itching. If you scratch your itchy scalp, you might end up scratching it open, giving room for bacterial infection. If you notice any form of infection on your scalp, ensure you see your dermatologist
What to do if you use an expired hair developer?
Nobody is above mistakes. In case you have started using the expired hair developer before noticing that it has exceeded its shelf life, here is what to do;
Rinse off immediately
If you start bleaching or dyeing your hair and notice that the hair developer has expired, ensure you rinse it off immediately. This will help you mitigate the damages the developer has done to your mane.
Avoid using hot styling tools
If you use an expired hair developer, ensure you avoid using hot styling tools like flat irons, blow dryers, etc. This is because the expired developer has already made your hair overly dry and using hot tools will add to that, which is not good for the health of your hair. So, avoid hot tools; if you can’t avoid them, ensure you use a quality thermal protectant.
Use restorative products.
If your hair is damaged due to the use of an expired hair developer, then you need to restore it by keeping it hydrated. To do this, you must mask your hair and use deep conditioners at least once a week. Then make sure you use moisturizing shampoos to wash your mane. This will help restore the health of your hair in no time.
How to store hair developer right away?
You need to store the hair developer the right way to ensure that it lasts longer. Here is a guide on how to do that.
- Keep it at the right temperature: make sure the temperature is between 7 to 20 degrees celsius. This means that you should avoid keeping it in hot places like the kitchen or where there is direct sunlight.
- Avoid humid areas: ensure you keep the hair developer away from humid areas such as the bathroom.
- Make sure you store the hair developer in an aerated area.
Yes, hair developer expires. The shelf life of an unopened hair developer is 3 years while that of an opened hair developer is about 6 months. However, when you see signs that a hair developer has expired, ensure you do not use them to avoid hair damage. To store your hair developer properly, keep it away from direct sunlight and humid areas.