How to know when hair-care products go bad

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- How long can we really keep hair products before they go bad? Unopened bottles of hair products have a shelf life of about three3 years. Depending on the product, bottles that have been opened usually last up to two years 

More organic products have a shorter shelf life than those considered regular.

The shelf life of styling products last a little longer thanks to the preservatives and alcohol used.

That being said, heat seems to be the biggest problem for what we use on our hair here in Arizona.

That's why Valley hair stylist Michele Rene of Salon Michele Rene says it's important to keep your products in climate-controlled areas and away from the sun.

"Products  in clear bottles, especially, have to be taken care of,"  she said.

She also says, it is a must to keep them out of direct sunlight.  She shares a few ways to know when its time to toss products out.

  1. Color change: Pravana Beach Wave Mist is excellent in showing the difference. This is a wonderful product to give extra wave or curl in your hair. I love it. I didn't take care of it and I had it in my show bag. It was left in the car more than a few times and the color changed entirely.
  2. Viscosity or the thickness/ thinning: Loreal Color Conditioner shows that if you have it long enough, moisture will leave. This color conditioner is great for in-between professional coloring to keep it from looking washed out, especially in the Arizona summer heat.
  3. Separation: Lanza Shampoo is really effective for maintaining clean hair but only when the ingredients are held together. When the product starts separating, it's time to throw it out!
  4. Cracking: Prive Sculpting Pomade is my all time favorite pomade. However, when left in my show bag, put it in and out of a hot car, the product will start cracking and the effectiveness will diminish as well.
  5. Smell: When you have protein in products, especially shampoo and conditioners, the protein goes bad and gives off an icky smell. It's a tell-tale sign to toss it out.

Bottom line? Heat and sun are bad for your hair-care products.

If you take care of your products, they will take care of you!

Michele Rene is a expert hair stylist based in Phoenix at Salon Michele Rene, insides Spark Salon Suites, 2501 West Happy Valley Rd. Bldg #40, Suite #1115 (inside Suite #102), Phoenix . She can be reached at 623-399-6344 or via email at