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How Long Does Hair Developer Last After Opening?

aida turner

Published by Aida Turner

Fact checked by Annie

Once the bottle has been opened, the hair developer can be used for only six months. During this period, you must store it in a cool, dry place that is far from sunlight and moisture.

It will also be crucial to note down the day that you opened the container. You will be able to avoid confusion and losing money by disposing of a developer that could still work efficiently.

If you don’t open the container with the developer, it can last for up to 3 years without posing any risk to your hair health.

But if a hair developer has expired, it poses a risk to your hair. Hair products have expiry dates too.

Hair developer
Hair developer (Image: wella.com)

Even the shampoos and conditioners you like to use regularly have expiry dates. The thing is, we use these hair products so regularly, so they rarely last long enough to expire.

The developer, on the contrary, is used less frequently, but it has a longer lifespan. For this reason, many manufacturers don’t see the need to put expiry dates on their containers.

Does hair developer expire?

When you buy a hair developer from the store, most likely, there will be no expiration date printed on the container.

Because it is a product that is meant to last long, you will probably finish it before the three-year expiration date ends. If you are buying it, the chances are that you need to use it immediately.

If you store a developer for some time now, have you ever doubt whether it has expired? Or what can you do to verify this? Are you thinking of holding it close to your nose to check if it has a suspicious scent?

Well, don’t even try it.

Hair developers are potentially toxic. I mean, they are a mixture of several chemicals combined. Smelling it directly could have health consequences.

To test whether a developer has expired or not, use your vision. This is not about bringing it close to your eyes, but about the careful observation of the contents of the container.

  • Hold the container with the liquid developer in your hand and check if it is more liquid than usual. If it is, do not use it. The developer is not in good condition.
  • If you observe a yellowish color, then that developer has been exposed to heat, and it is not suitable for use either. It is not in good condition also.
  • If the nature of your hair developer was creamy and the consistency right now is not creamy, avoid this developer because it has probably degraded already.
  • If there is any swelling in the packaging container, then you must throw away the developer immediately.
    If you mixed the developer with the dye already, it will only last for a few hours, after which you should avoid re-using it.

If you see all or one of these signs, throw the developer away immediately.

What happens if you use expired developer?

The first and most obvious consequence is that the hair developer will not be able to do what it was manufactured for. It will not be able to dye or bleach your hair.

Even worse is the fact that expired developer will damage your hair. It will leave your hair dry, brittle, weak, and broken.

consequences of expired developer
Expired developer will damage your hair

You may not know what an expired product will do to your hair. It might change your hair color or even burn it out and damage it to the point where you end up losing it.

The developer looks harmless at first glance, but remember that this chemical actually opens up the hair cuticles to change your hair color when you are dying or bleaching your hair.

Peroxide is a chemical that can be harmful when it has expired or degraded.

The effects of using an expired developer can be so harmful that it breaks your cuticle and cuts your hair in clumps. You risk having your hair fall off. (See also: Top 19 organic shampoos for hair loss)

This is one of the most serious side effects of using expired products. Some people have tried bleaching their hair with an expired developer, and they ended up with only 2-3 centimeters of hair left on their heads.

You may end up with a bacterial infection on your scalp. If you have a sensitive scalp or damaged skin, you must avoid expired hair products at all costs.

The most common side effects of using a developer past its expiry date might be an itchy scalp.

The side effects of using expired products also depend on the ingredients used for manufacturing the developer, the type of developer used, and your hair type.

If you have some doubts, even for one second, your developer has expired, throw it in the trash and buy a new one immediately.

You will always get money, it comes and goes, but the health of your hair doesn’t.

But if you unfortunately used expired developer (six month after opening), you’ll need some hair products to restore your hair.

Refer: How to make hair poofy?

How to store hair developer correctly?

If you want your developer to stay in good condition once you have opened it, you must keep it in ideal conditions.

  • Do not expose hair developer to direct sunlight.
  • Don’t keep it in an aerated environment.
  • Make sure the temperature around the storage area is around 7-20 degrees.
  • Keep product far from humidity.

Store your hair developer in a place that is neither too hot nor cold, like the kitchen. Avoid storing your developer in the bathroom where it is too humid.

Your closet or a cupboard would be the ideal place to store it. Once opened, you only have six months until you can no longer use it again.

Store developer hair in cupboard
Store developer hair in cupboard to extend shelf life

You should also keep in mind that there are cheap and quality developers in the market. You will mostly find quality developers in the salons.

Affordable developers are sold in in-stores, and they are way less expensive than other hair products.

The cheaper version is no doubt terrible for your hair. It can easily damage your hair.

You love your hair and you will do all it takes to make sure it stays healthy. For this reason, you must avoid using expired hair products, developers, or anything else.

aida turner


Founder & Hair Beauty Specialist

I’m Aida and this is my blog where I write mostly about beauty and make up related stuff, but I like to spice it up a bit with lifestyle and photography posts. Or with whatever that comes to my mind. Hope you will enjoy the reading enough that we will ‘see’ each other more often!