Do Hair Masks Expire?

Hair masks might be among the trendy haircare items for 2023, but they're also popular because of the various benefits that they can provide to keep your hair healthy and looking its best. Whether you're planning on stocking up on your favorite hair mask or have a tendency to forget beauty items that you've purchased, there's a good chance that you might be wondering if hair masks are among the beauty products that expire.


Unfortunately, as we've previously covered, shampoo and conditioner can expire, just like many other products you might have purchased. We know, though, that they can have relatively long shelf lives — which is a definite plus.

Fortunately, Hair Instructions writes that hair masks are similar, in that you don't need to hurry to use up your hair masks in the same time frame as you might, say, refrigerated food. Here's what we've uncovered about hair masks and when you should plan to use them.

Hair masks do expire

The bad news, per the website Hair Instructions, is that your hair masks will expire, though that doesn't mean that you need to rush to over-treat your hair with them. Hair Instructions writes that they should be good to use for about three years, which is the same length of time given by The Mestiza Muse on the same subject.


What you should keep in mind, however, according to Hair Instructions, is that you'll need to make sure you're storing your hair mask as instructed on its packaging. Not doing so, as with almost any beauty product, means that you're risking the growth of bacteria and the safety of the product itself.

Once you actually open your mask, that's a different story. Upon opening, The Mestiza Muse cautions, the proverbial timer on your product's expiration date starts ticking, and you have about a year to use it before you can consider it to have expired.

Do not use an expired hair mask

This should go without saying, but we're going to make this point anyway in case you're tempted: You shouldn't use an expired hair mask (or any other expired product), simply because it isn't safe to do so. (The Mestiza Muse adds the important note that what might be harmful to you might not be visible in the first place).


That said, sometimes it will be very clear that your hair mask has expired, even more so than shampoo. Speaking on this, cosmetic chemist Ginger King explained to Allure, "In general, shampoos or powder products are OK beyond six months of expiration, but anything that is a cream or mask — emulsion types — you may experience them turning like cottage cheese or separating and they will not be the best to use."

If you're doubtful that your hair mask is still safe to use — or can't remember when you opened it for the first time — you're better off replacing it with a new one rather than taking a risk.