Does box hair dye expire? Can I use it again after I’ve opened it?

color kits for home use

  • Box hair dyes have an expiration date and you need to follow it.
  • You can find two ingredients in color kits: dye and developer. Each one will have its expiration date.
  • If you’ve had a kit stored for a while, you must check the expiration date of both ingredients separately. If one of the two is expired, then don’t use the dye because the color won’t take and you’ll have to re-dye your hair, with all the potential extra damage that can have on your hair.
  • What happens if the dye is already open? As long as neither of the ingredients are expired, you can use an open dye with no problem.


All beauty products have an expiration date and sometimes the time before certain products expire is longer than for others.

 So you have a general idea, usually dyes have an expiration date about 2-4 years after their manufacture, which means that the products can sit in your cabinet for quite a while.  


Oftentimes, when you use a dye kit for a simple process like touching up your roots or color, it’s probably the case that you have a little bit of dye leftover.

After all, you only need about half a tube of dye to touch up your roots.

Do you know what you can do with the other leftover half of the dye?


You can keep it until you need it to touch up your roots again, which will always happen within two months.

But, be careful! You should only keep what’s left of the dye, without mixing it with the developer. Once you’ve mixed dye with the developer, the dye’s composition changes, so you can’t keep the leftovers once the ingredients have been mixed. Once you’ve mixed them, you have to get rid of the leftover mix.

Now, what should you do if you’ve used an expired dye?


 I’m going to tell you a little story to help you understand what can happen if you use an expired dye on your hair. 

Maria had balayage in her hair, so she had to get it touched up every 6-8 weeks, and to save herself a little money, she touches up her roots herself.


The first thing that I noticed when I saw her last time were her roots. They had grown in gray. That caught my attention because she’s very careful about touching up her roots.

I asked her what happened, and she told me that she’d used a dye twice, and after two or three washes, the color disappeared.


That seemed really strange to me because I haven’t ever heard of a dye – permanent or semi-permanent – that disappears after two washes, so it occurred to me to ask her if she’d checked the expiration date on the dye.

She looked at me like I was from another planet, so I realized that she had never thought of the expiration date.

And, it turns out, she had used a dye that she’d kept in her house for a while, so it had expired, but, thankfully, it didn’t damage her hair. The only thing that happened was that the pigment didn’t deposit in her hair.


 That’s why if you have had a dye for a while, you should be careful. And lookout for a few things, the number that tells what the expiration date is on the tube of dye. 

Do you want to know more about the expiration dates of dyes?


If so, don’t go away because I’ll tell you:

  • Why it’s important to keep dyes’ expiration dates in mind
  • What can happen if you use an expired dye


I think that after today, you’ll probably pay a lot more attention to the expiration date on your dye, and on all of the products you use, whether they’re beauty products or food.


Tabla de Contenidos


Why it’s important to keep hair dyes’ expiration dates in mind

at home

Keeping in mind dyes’ expiration dates is very important, so you should pay close attention and check the products inside the color kit. You should look at both the tube of dye and the developer.


  • On one hand, there’s the tube of dye’s expiration date, which is the last day the dye should work correctly on your hair.

You’ll see that dye contains ammonia, among other chemicals,  which has a lifespan of 2-4 years, depending on how concentrated it is and how it’s stored. 


  • On the other hand, you’ll see that you also find a developer in your color kit, which also has an expiration date, usually after the dye’s expiration date. In general, it will expire in 3-6 years. 

Peroxide, the chemical in the developer, is almost a non-perishable product, as long as you store it correctly.


 In order for the dye’s pigments to correctly deposit in your hair, both products, both the dye and the developer, shouldn’t be expired.  


  • But the expiration date isn’t the only important aspect in this equation, since the place where you store the dye is also very important.

You should always store dye somewhere where it doesn’t receive direct sunlight and in a place where the temperature will not exceed 75⁰F (24⁰C).

Do you know why?


Because both peroxide and ammonia react at high temperatures. That’s why if you store the kit somewhere where the temperature gets high, the chemical reaction can happen inside the box. 

Can you imagine opening the box and seeing everything dyed brown or blonde?


That would be a true disaster.

That’s why you need to keep both the expiration date and the place where you’re storing the kit in mind.

Because if you don’t store it in the right conditions, even if the dye isn’t expired, the pigment won’t cover your hair’s surface.

And what can happen if you use expired dye on your hair?


Well, the Earth won’t stop spinning, but things you don’t like might still happen. Do you want to know what they are?


What can happen if you use expired hair dye?

Like I said before, there won’t be some kind of Earth-shattering event if you use an expired dye.

It’s not like something horrible like your hair falling out or your scalp getting infected is going to happen, but even so, lesser damage might occur, which of course, you should try to avoid.


  • In order for the dye pigments to deposit correctly, both products, the dye and the developer, should not be expired.

If they’re expired, the color won’t stay in your hair when you use the dye. That’s what happened to Maria.

Something worse can happen, though: pigment degradation.


  • If the dye or developer is expired, you shouldn’t use them because your color might degrade, and your hair will absorb the pure pigment. That would turn your hair green or red because the color is degraded.

Although this isn’t common – it’s more like a one in a thousand chance – it can still happen. Do you know why?


  • Each color dye is made up of a mix of colors. Brown 5, for example, has red in it, and if you use an expired brown dye, then you run the risk of your hair taking on that red color. The chances are small, but do you want to risk it?

That’s why you should always be very careful when you use a dye you’ve had stored away and always read the expiration date before using it on your hair.



Always check the expiration date on both the tube of dye and the developer that comes in a color kit box.

If you only use half of the ingredients in the kit, remember that you shouldn’t keep already-mixed dye, instead, you can save unused dye and developer separately.

And always remember to keep the leftover items from the kit in a cool place away from sunlight.


Have you ever used expired dye? What was your experience?

Deja Tu Comentario