How Long Is Too Long?
Over a recent ‘business lunch', a girlfriend admitted to me that she still has a conditioner we'd bought together (over three years ago!) sitting in her shower. After sharing a good laugh, the inevitable question arose: Is there anything wrong with keeping a hair care product that long? My instant reaction was a passionate "Yes!" but I didn't have a proper explanation for my response, so I did a bit of research...
Here's what I found:
* Unused products generally have a shelf-life of approximately 2.5 years, but once opened that number can decrease by as much as 50%.
* If the texture, color, or consistency of a product changes, it's best to toss and replace.
* Styling products tend to last longer when kept out of sunlight or warm temperatures.
* The expiration of naturally based products can vary greatly depending on the amount of plant extracts, botanicals, preservatives/non-preservatives, etc. being used. Be sure to check the packaging for details.
* On certain products, you can find the production date somewhere on the packaging. For example, on Phyto products, the last digit of the code stamped on the bottom of their products represents the year it was manufactured.
I'm sure there are exceptions to the rule, but these are just general guidelines to keep in mind the next time you're tempted to use that fabulous, discontinued [insert product here] from the late 90s which you can't bring yourself to bin.