Does Hair Oil Expire?

luscious hair
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Hair oil is a versatile styling product that can nurture your scalp, eliminate dandruff, promote hair growth, manage your strands and protect them from heat, depending on the oil used and your hair type.

The revival of using natural oils to care for your hair is a trend that won’t fizzle out as people become more conscious of the environment and use fewer products that can even damage your own body and scalp.

Whether your hair is fine, thin, dry, damaged, straight or curly, there is a hair oil that will work to beautify your locks and make them more luscious. But does hair oil expire?

The simplest answer is yes, hair oil can expire. But it depends on the type of oil. We’ll discuss the most common oils here, and how to tell when they’ve gone bad.


Does Hair Oil Expire?

Hair oil can expire, but this heavily depends on the type of oil used.

Expired oil isn’t necessarily harmful. But when it goes off, it will probably turn rancid and give off a bad smell, which you probably won’t want to use anyway.

In addition, rancid oil has the potential to be toxic.

Unlike your hair, which is actually dead, your scalp is part of your skin, which is a living organ. If you have sensitive skin, your scalp can be exposed to potential irritation if the hair oil you’re using has expired. This can result in hair problems due to clogged pores and acne with rancid hair oils.

Different hair oils will oxidize at different rates.

Some oils will turn a different color from their natural state when they turn rancid. Some will give off an unpleasant smell.

Meanwhile, others will look like sticky cottage cheese or even develop black spots, which indicate mold or bacterial growth — not something you’ll want to use on your hair or delicate scalp!

If you’re unsure whether or not to use your expired natural hair oil, trust your instinct and your nose to know if it’s best to just put it in the trash.

Or keep reading to find out how the most popular hair oils can be used safely once opened, even if they’re beyond their expiration date.

Going Loco For Coco

Coconut Hair Oil

The most popular oil used in hair care products is coconut oil, which is a natural oil that can be used to tame and condition most hair types. Coconut oil is everywhere and has a million different uses.

Coconut oil can be used as a pre-wash protector that will help your hair from soaking up too much water, which is great for curly hair.

Coconut oil can also be used as a moisturizing boost that you can add to your conditioner by adding a few drops. Some use it as a styling aid to tame frizz and flyaways. And it can even be used as a deep conditioning hair mask.

All of this makes coconut oil a very versatile oil for using on your hair, which makes it so popular.

But does coconut oil expire? Well, if you live in a cooler climate, then you’ll have to warm the oil in order to use it. Decanting a few spoonfuls into a bowl to warm it will make your oil last longer.

If you live in a warmer environment, then coconut oil will remain a liquid at anything over 74° F. And if it’s stored in a plastic container, this will cause chemical leaching, which can shorten the time it remains usable. So like all oils, it’s best if it comes in glass bottles.

Coconut oil has the ability to turn yellow when it goes off. It will also most likely give off a sour smell. This means you should discard your oil and buy a new one. In general, it does take a while for coconut oil to oxidize.

If you prefer using refined coconut oil, which doesn’t have a smell, it can last for up to 18 months.

However, if you prefer to use the delicious citrusy fresh smell of virgin coconut oil, your jar will last for up to five years. You’ll probably use it up within that period of time.

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Moroccan Delight

Argan oil for hair

Another popular hair oil that has gained in popularity is nutty-smelling argan oil. Grown in Morocco, the oil produced by the argan tree has many benefits it can provide hair, including preserving its natural pigments, which is great if you dye your hair. It also prevents damage to the hair shaft’s cuticles and can leave your hair smooth, shiny, and luxurious.

Argan oil should come in glass bottles with a tint to help prevent oxidation from being exposed to light. Cold-pressed versions also reduce the acidity found in heat-pressed oils, which also helps deter oxidation. Keep your argan oil out of direct heat and sunlight.

This natural oil for hair will last for up to two years once opened if the above measures are followed. If your argan oil becomes very discolored, cloudy and congealed, or gives off a rancid odor, then it’s time to replace it.

Green Dream

Avocado oil

Avocado oil is another natural oil used in haircare products, especially for those with curls. Its smoothing effect is great for taming frizz.

Some people also claim that avocado oil can be used to stimulate hair growth when it’s applied to the scalp, and as it’s a light, odor-free oil, it is unlikely to clog your pores. So this might also work for you.

Storing your avocado oil away from direct heat and sunlight will see it last for up to one year or 18 months if it’s refined.  

Jamaican Wonder

Castor oil

Jamaican castor oil has many benefits when used on your scalp, including promoting hair growth and strengthening the hair follicles.

Even though this nourishing oil is too heavy for most hair types to use daily, many use it for massaging and nourishing hair follicles to promote new growth after washing.

Tropical Jamaican castor oil is a sustainable product, as traditionally, it is still processed by hand. It also has the ability to help curb bacterial growth, so is great for soothing sensitive scalps.

Castor oil generally has a shelf life of up to 12 months, although cold-pressed versions will last for up to five years if sealed and packaged properly.

Using this article as a guide, you now have a better idea of the storage life of different oils and you’ll no longer have to wonder “Does hair oil expire?”

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Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).