Vegan Hair Care

Does vegan hair dye expire?

5 Mins read

This is a common question that I see come up on vegan hair dye forums and blogs.

Going through color phases and having to dye over my grays really made me wonder, do natural hair dyes expire?

I decided to investigate.

Does vegan hair dye expire?

Yes, vegan hair dye does expire. Just like any other hair dye, the ingredients which cause the color to be deposited onto your hair are going to eventually degrade and become ineffective.

This isn’t a problem with a semi-permanent or permanent color, as those colors don’t rely on chemical reactions for their pigmentation.

However, if you’re using something like a box of Manic Panic or a jar of Directions, it’s important that you pay attention to the expiration date.

How long does vegan dye last?

Based on the ingredients, vegan dyes can last anywhere from 6 months to 5 years. The shelf life of a dye is dependent on a variety of factors such as its chemical makeup, the type of material it’s used on, and storage conditions.

The biggest factor in determining how long a vegan dye will last is the way it is stored.

If the dye is stored in hot, humid conditions, then it will be subject to degradation more rapidly than if it is stored under stable conditions.

For example, vegan indigo fades over time due to exposure to sunlight and air.

Indigo also reacts with sulfur compounds in rubber and can cause it to become brittle and crack.

In order to reduce these effects, keep your vegan dyes in a cool, dark place that does not experience temperature swings or drastic humidity changes.

Can you use expired vegan hair dye?

Yes, you can use expired vegan hair dye. Just don’t expect it to turn out the way you want it.

You may have heard that expired vegan hair dye is bad for you and will give you cancer or something.

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This is not true. Vegan hair dye can be used after the expiration date has passed.

The reason why it expires is because of the chemicals in the dye which over time will break down and lose their effectiveness.

Hair color expiration dates are set by FDA because they don’t want people to use bad dyes on their hair.

If a dye has been sitting on the shelf too long, they don’t want someone to use that on their head thinking it will work.

It won’t. It will either leave your hair looking like an oozy mess or even worse, make it fall out.

In reality, there aren’t really enough chemicals in vegan hair dye to cause any damage to your health once it’s expired.

Dye manufacturers add preservatives and other chemicals to keep the dye from going bad before its expiration date.

However, if you notice a change in color, texture, or smell when using an expired dye, then there may be issues with using the product.

How do you know if your vegan dye has expired?

Vegan dyes typically have a shelf life of three years. You can test your dye for freshness by mixing it with water and stirring. If you see the dye starting to separate, it needs to be replaced.


The color is too pale

If the color is coming out pale, try using more dye or using less water. The amount of dye needed depends on the type of fabric being dyed and how intense you would like the color to be.

It’s a good idea to always use a little extra dye if you want a deeper color.

The color is blotchy

If the color you are getting is blotchy, don’t worry! This sometimes happens, especially when new or different dyes are used.

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To fix this problem, add a little vinegar or salt to the dye bath and stir until it has dissolved.

Be sure not to add too much salt as this will cause your dye to come out uneven. Your fabric will end up with light spots where the salt was added.

Let your dyed fabric sit in the dye bath for at least 20 minutes and stir very frequently during this time period so that it doesn’t become unevenly dyed.

How to get the most out of your vegan hair dye

Here are a few tips from vegans who have done it before you, so you can make sure you get the most out of your new dye:

1. Look at the ingredients. If they’re animal-based and you don’t want to support that, it’s best to stay away.

2. Look for “cruelty-free” or “not tested on animals” as a selling feature.

3. Depending on the color you choose, some vegan dyes may fade faster than others.

4. If you have darker hair, expect it to take longer to cover with vegan dye.

5. Vegetarian dyes may not work as well in your hair as they do in others’ hair.

6. Color removers may not work on vegan dyes, so be sure to use one designed specifically for vegan hair dye.

7. A lot of the time, vegan dyes are translucent and don’t produce a very dramatic effect.

8. Vegan dyes may leave behind a slight smell after being rinsed out; however, it should go away after your first wash.

9. Be sure to apply an acid-balanced shampoo after dying your hair with a vegan dye.

10. Make sure your hands are clean when applying the dye, as it can stain your nails if you don’t wash them afterward.

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How to properly store your vegan hair dye

First off, you want to make sure that your dye is stored properly in a cool and dry place.

You want to avoid any heat or moisture. Heat and moisture can both cause your dye to break down faster and create a less effective product.

TIP 1: Use a pump instead of the tube.

This will help keep the dye from getting exposed to air and light, which will cause it to expire faster.

If you’re using a tube, make sure that you have as little air in it as possible before storing it.

If you have too much air in the tube, simply roll up a piece of paper towel and shove it into the tube to remove some of that air space.

TIP 2: Keep your hair dye out of direct sunlight, in a cool place away from heaters and radiators.

Sunlight contains UV rays that can damage your dye – just like it damages your skin!

TIP 3: Make sure that no one has touched the cap after you applied the dye to your hair.

The oil from their fingers can get into the cap and contaminate the rest of the bottle causing it to turn rancid quicker than normal.

To avoid this just wash your hands thoroughly before touching or adjusting anything on or around your head or hair!

Final Thoughts

The shelf life of vegan hair dye varies from product to product, but many brands recommend using the product within a year of purchase to ensure the longest possible lifespan.

Vegan hair dye does not expire in the sense that it will simply vanish, but it does need to be used before its expiration date for maximum quality.