5 signs that your hair dye is expired and you shouldn’t use it

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  • If the hair dye has a tiny puncture in the bottle, its consistency is lumpy, its smell is too pungent or invasive, and its color isn’t white, your hair dye is expired.
  • One of these characteristics is enough to discard the hair dye because it obviously expired and is in bad condition. So, it won’t dye your hair.
  • You have to learn to differentiate a good hair dye from an expired one. The coloring result will depend on that.


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Today received one of my regular clients, Romina. She comes in to dye her hair every thirty to forty days.

When I saw her come in, I realized it had actually been almost two months since I had last seen her.


After greeting me, she said upset: “Gabriela, I have a confession to make.”

Well, my mind took me to every imaginable corner, but what I least expected was a confession in the hair field.


She looked at me and said, “I dyed my hair five days ago.”

The truth is that it wouldn’t have been bad if the gray hair hadn’t been there. I could see that the growth meant two months without applying hair dye.

How could this be?


As she continued talking, I understood a few things.

  I came to a conclusion: the hair dye Romina had used was expired.  I didn’t need to see any expiration date to know it.

Do you know why?


Because Romina told me that when she put the hair dye in a plastic container to mix it with the developer, the hair dye color was already brownish. Also, it had such a strong and pungent smell that it looked like bad food.

And since the hair dye was expired, the pigments had degraded. That’s why the gray hair was still there.

Have you stored hair dye for long, and you think it may be expired?


It’s time to put those feelings aside because fear only paralyzes us.

Here’s all about you knowing how to spot the signs that a hair dye is past its sell-by date. Let’s get started!

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First sign: A small puncture on the hair dye bottle

measure amount of dye

If you can’t find the expiration date on the hair dye box or bottle, or it’s not clearly visible, check the hair dye bottle thoroughly before opening it. When I say thoroughly, I mean that if you are short-sighted, look for glasses.

You have to look at the bottle very carefully.  If it has a small puncture, even if there isn’t a loss of liquid, you should discard it. 


Air may have entered the container, even if the puncture is minimal. That air alters the fundamental properties of the hair dye. So, the coloration will be affected.

Also, even if the expiration date means that it’s still valid, you should discard it if the container is cracked.


Second sign: Lumpy texture

black and white

If you didn’t find any breakage in the container, it’s time to open it. Check its texture and consistency.

How does regular hair dye look? It will always be creamy, uniform in color, and without lumps.


 If you observe that it has lumps, even if only a few, it means that the hair dye expired. So, it won’t be useful for you. 

You should discard it immediately. Otherwise, if you use it, it may not do its job, i.e. it won’t change your hair color.


Third sign: Pungent and almost nauseating smell

after hair dye

Unlike the past hair dyes, they don’t have a strong smell nowadays. Most manufacturers add floral or fruity scents to the formula.


The aim is for these fragrances to counteract the lingering ammonia smell.

Therefore,  if you notice a strong and penetrating aroma, which reminds you of spoiled food, the hair dye is expired. Of course, you shouldn’t use it. 


Fourth sign: The hair dye’s color isn’t white

In addition to the consistency, you should also look at the color when placing it in the plastic container. Almost all hair dyes are white.


 If your hair dye is dark, such as brown or black, it is expired and should not be used. 

When you open the hair dye bottle, you may notice a dark color in the first few drops.

If this is the case, and the rest of the hair dye is white, you can use it as long as the smell is not strong and the consistency is creamy.


Now you know what the most important signs of an expired hair dye are. But I think you should also know how to store the hair dye to avoid spoiling it before its expiration date.


How to store hair dye so that it retains its properties and doesn’t expire

a lot of humidity

Tell me the truth. Where do you usually store your hair dye?

Don’t answer me. Let me guess. Do you store it in the bathroom?


I figured because most people do the same. They keep the hair dye containers in the bathroom. Actually, it’s the worst place to do it. 

The dye pigments can’t stand humidity, heat, or light. So, forget about your bathroom if you want to keep the hair dye in good condition.


You should always look for a cool place away from sunlight and anything that can radiate heat because:

  • Heat or direct sunlight can initiate chemical reactions in the hair dye and cause the pigments to degrade. In other words, the product degrades.
  • Exposure to water or air will cause oxidation making it useless.
  • Leaving the hair dye container improperly closed leads to the development of bacteria in the product.



A hair dye whose properties are unchanged or that is not expired should always have a creamy consistency, a white color, and not smell too pungent or strong. One thing is the characteristic ammonia smell, but another thing is an almost nauseating odor.

If it doesn’t have any of these characteristics, discard it. At best, it won’t change your hair’s color. At worst, it can cause an allergic reaction.

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