Education, Physical Health, Wellness / Self-Care

Believe it or not, Hair Products do expire

Understanding PAO is important.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Mar 18, 2021

Unlike food, hair products are seldom ever marked with an expiration date. And if you’re anything like us, you have hair products in your bathroom that have never been touched. So how do you know if they are still good to use? More importantly, how long is too long.


Unfortunately, there are no mandates or regulations in the grooming industry requiring brands to list expiration dates. Typically, the shelf life in hair products is a lot greater than the remaining grooming products. If stored properly (in a cool, dry place) some products can last up to three years.


Instead of expiration dates, most products will have a PAO (period after opening) date on the bottle telling you how long it will last once it’s been opened. This date is usually listed on the back of the bottle in a small tiny square. If you notice your product doesn’t happen to have a PAO number, there are other options. For example, your new shampoo or condition that now has clumps, is officially expired. If the smell and texture of your products has also wavered, this is a tell tale sign as well.


If you still feel weird or are questioning your method, there are also a lot of downloadable apps to help track when a product has expired and notify you when it’s time to restock. To be clear – it isn’t terribly bad to use expired grooming products a bit past their shelf life, but just be aware that they might not perform as well as they were designed.


If you want to see the full benefits of your products, it’s a good idea to keep expiration dates in mind.


Photo via Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock