How long does hair developer last after opening? Does it have an expiration date?

  • Once you open the developer bottle, you can only use it for up to six months after that.
  • You must keep it in a cool place, away from sunlight and moisture. It is also convenient to write down the date when you opened the container.
  • As long as you do not open the developer container, you can keep it for three years without any risk to your hair health.
  • Using an expired developer can cause your hair to break, and I’ll tell you about that later.


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All hair products have expiration dates, even the shampoos and conditioners you use regularly.

What happens is that since these products are often used, it is very rare that they expire before you finish using them.


But there are other products, like the developer, which we use less frequently and have a long life span. That’s why manufacturers don’t print the expiration date on them.


su_highlight background=”#ffb5e8″]The developer can only be used up to 6 months after the container has been opened. It is always very convenient that when you open it, you write the date on the bottle if you are not going to use all the product. [/su_highlight]

This way, you will avoid confusion, and you will not lose money by throwing away a developer or developer cream that was still working.

What’s the difference between developer and developer cream?


Developer cream is peroxide mixed with hair cream. That creamy consistency makes it less aggressive to hair than liquid developer.

But no matter what consistency of peroxide you use, the care you take about shelf life will always be the same.


So, if you have any doubts about the expiration date of your developer, stay with me because I will tell you:

  • How to know if the developer is expired
  • What the consequences of using an expired developer are
  • How to correctly store the developer until the next use

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How to know if the developer is expired

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Most likely, when you buy the developer in the store, you won’t see the expiration date printed on it. As it is a long-lasting product, it is understood that you will use it before three years.

After all, if you are buying it, it is because you need to use it immediately.

 So, you know that once you open the container, the developer will be useful for six more months. If you don’t open it, it will not expire for at least three years. 


If you have a developer in storage for a long time and you doubt whether it is expired or not, what would you do to verify it?

Would you hold it close to your nose to pick up a suspicious scent?


Don’t even think about it!

That bad habit we, women, have of running our noses through anything that seems to us to be expired.

That technique can be perfect for some food products, like meat or chicken, even dairy products. However, when it comes to finding out if the developer is expired, it can turn into a bomb. Why?


The developer is a potentially toxic chemical. If you smell it directly, it can have health consequences.

Haven’t you noticed that when you apply the dye to your hair, the smell is strong and persistent?


That’s largely because of the developer. So, forget about the nose to find out if the developer is expired.

Once we’ve eliminated the sense of smell, let’s move on to another sense that can give us some good clues about whether or not the developer is expired.

What sense am I talking about?


The sense of vision, and of course, it’s not a matter of bringing the developer closer to your eyes, but of carefully observing the container.

  • If you have a container of liquid developer in your hands, and it is more liquid than usual, do not use it. Unfortunately, that developer is not in good condition.
  • If the liquid developer has a yellowish color because it has been exposed to heat, do not use it because it is not in good condition either.
  • If you have a creamy developer in your hands and its consistency is anything but creamy, don’t use it because it’s expired. Nor will it be in good condition if it has a lot of liquid in it because it has already been degraded.

What should you do if you discover any of these “symptoms” in your developer?


Throw it away!

It is much safer for your hair’s health to buy a new developer, which is not such an expensive product, than to put your hair fiber at risk.


Don’t you believe me? Are you thinking, “what could happen that could be so bad if I use the expired developer?”

Don´t be stubborn! Continue reading or face the consequences.


What are the consequences of using an expired developer?

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Let’s start with the least tragic example. It would be that the developer is not able to fulfill the goal you’re looking for, whether it’s bleaching or dyeing your hair.

From then on, things don’t get any better. It will most likely damage your hair to the extent of leaving it weak and brittle.


Remember that the container that looks so harmless at first glance is actually a chemical that opens the cuticles of the hair fiber to release color during bleaching or absorb color during coloring.


Peroxide is a chemical. If it’s expired or degraded, it’s dangerous to your hair.

You need to be very careful, especially if it’s expired or degraded.


 There are also several volumes of developer: 10, 20, 30, 40 and a few more less used. 

If a 20-volume developer that you use for color or bleach causes damage because it dries your hair and leaves it dull, can you imagine the effect of an expired 40-volume peroxide on your hair?


The effect of an expired developer can be so devastating that your cuticles can break, and your hair will be cut in clumps.

 I know about some of my clients who, when they bleached their roots with an expired 30 volume developer, were left with only 2 or 3 centimeters of hair.  This is not an exaggeration.


When in doubt, if you think your developer is out of date for one-thousandth of a second, throw it away and buy a new one. Money comes and goes, while your hair health doesn’t.


How to correctly store the developer

If you want your developer to remain intact for longer once opened, it will always be good for up to six months. You should keep it in ideal storage conditions:

  • Temperatures between 7 and 20 degrees
  • No direct sunlight
  • An aerated environment
  • No humid environment


Ideally, you should store it in a not too hot place, such as the kitchen, and not too humid, such as the bathroom.  The perfect place could be a cupboard or a drawer in your closet.  

Remember that it is important to write on the bottle the date when you opened and used it for the first time. From that date, you will have six months to use it again.



Once you open the developer container, you only have six months to use it again. It will expire after that time. Once it has expired, not only will it lose its effect, but it can also be dangerous to the health of your hair and scalp.

If you do not open the container, the developer will expire after three years if you store it in optimal conditions, away from sunlight, humidity, and in a cool place.

Now tell me, that developer you’ve been saving for so long, is it expired?

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