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Does Pomade Expire? (ANSWERED)

All hair products expire. Yes, even that huge collection of hair styling creams in your medicine cabinet. So if you’re sniffing a bottle with suspicion right now and wondering, “does pomade expire?” it’s probably time to purge your horde.

Does Pomade Expire?

Pomade does expire. I know, it’s bad news for pomade collectors everywhere. 

Most hair products have an expiration date, no matter how many preservatives the manufacturers put in the bottle. Over time the scents evaporate, the color fades, and the ingredients become less effective. 

Once you start to notice your pomade turning, it’s a good idea to throw it out. The antibacterial ingredients won’t be as potent. Using it on your hair and scalp can give you a bacterial infection.

Besides, if you’re like me, you invest in pomade because you want great hair, not average hair. Using expired pomade just won’t give you that oomph that a fresher bottle can.

How To Store Pomade

Store your pomade in a cool, dark place that won’t let in moisture. If you buy a brand that uses a screw-on lid for the pomade bottle, even better.

Because some pomades are water-based, they can grow mold if you don’t seal them up properly and keep them out of the elements. Too much sunlight will fade the color, and too much airflow will ruin the scent.

Some hair care experts even recommend that you only touch your pomade with clean hands so that you don’t leave any dust, oil, or other debris from your hands in the bottle. It’s one of the weirder strategies for properly applying pomades and hair clays.

Your pomade will still eventually expire, no matter how well you store it, but storing it correctly ensures that you push its lifespan to the max. 

How Do You Know If Pomade Is Expired?

If you just don’t enjoy your pomade anymore, chances are it’s probably expired. Bad smells, questionable colors, and icky textures are all signs that a pomade is past its prime.

  1. The Color Is Wrong

Did you buy a nice creamy blue pomade? Is it green now? Throw it out! Lots of cosmetics fade in color over time, but if you notice a drastic color change, the product is probably starting to go bad.

  1. The Scent Is Off

After several months, it’s hard to remember what your pomade originally smelled like. Using common sense, if the smell is nonexistent, or it’s so pungent that you don’t want it on your hair, the bottle is probably on the fast track to its expiration date.

  1. The Texture Feels Weird

Hopefully you notice this sign before you’ve started rubbing the pomade into your hair. Look to see whether the pomade has gotten chunky, oily, flaky, or anything other than its original texture. If you’re new to the world of pomades, they’re usually thick, waxy, and dry. Use that as your basis for comparison.

  1. Check The Bottle For An Expiration Date

Hair products are not required to carry an expiration date, but some do include a “use by” label as a courtesy. If you’re on the fence about whether your pomade has truly expired, check the bottle to see if you’re past the best-by date.

If you’re now realizing that you’ve accidentally used an expired pomade, don’t worry! Use all the same tricks you normally would to remove pomade from your hair

How Long Can Pomade Last?

In general, unopened cosmetics are usually good for two years from the day you purchase them, and they’re good for one year after you’ve opened the container.

Some industry experts say three years unopened, but I like to factor in the processing, storage, shipping, and sitting-on-the-store-shelf time. Your cosmetics are probably older than you realize by the time you take them to the cash register.

Most pomades follow those rules, but be more careful if you purchase all-natural and plant-based hair products. Natural ingredients are better for your skin and hair, but they also don’t last as long. You’ll want to use up your pomade faster if it contains more natural ingredients. Try to open it within a year, and use it in 6 months.

If you meant, “how long does pomade last in my hair?” It’s made to keep your hair looking stylish and sleek for a day. You should wash it out after that, or it’ll get matted when you sleep on it, and it won’t mold nicely the next day.

To wash pomade out, use the best best smelling shampoo for men. It’ll leave your hair fresh for the next day.

Does Pomade Expire If Unopened?

Unfortunately, most pomades do expire even if you leave the bottle sealed. 

I recently read about a hair care tragedy on Reddit. Someone had a sample sized bottle of Admiral Fiber pomade, and he was saving it for a special occasion. By the time his night-to-remember rolled around several months later, the pomade had expired. It was sticky, unworkable, and impossible to wash off his hands.

Most pomade brands say the product will last for 3 years unopened, but what they don’t tell you is that pomade can get dry, and the ingredients won’t smell or feel as fresh the longer you wait to use it.

I know, it’s bad news for pomade collectors. You can always gift your unused bottles to family and friends (preferably before they hit the 3-year mark).

Is It Safe To Use Expired Pomade?

Expired pomade isn’t safe for your hair or your scalp. Because its preservatives have worn off, the product is susceptible to bacterial growth.

You might experience the side effects of a bacterial infection, like itchiness, scalp acne, redness, or frizzy hair. It also won’t be easy to work the pomade into your hair, and it’ll be a nightmare to wash it out.

If you’ve made the mistake of using a rotten pomade, try one of the best antibacterial shampoos for men to help your scalp feel better.

I doubt you’ll want to use expired pomade once you feel the consistency and get a whiff of it. As cosmetics age, they do one of two things: the scent either fades, or it turns sour. You’re up for an unpleasant surprise either way.

It helps to think of it this way: if you haven’t used up a small container of pomade within a year, is it really your favorite pomade? Pomade collectors excluded, most of us go through products that we enjoy well within a year.

Don’t think of expired pomade as a loss, but an opportunity to dabble in new pomades, clays, gels or waxes.

Frank Edwards is a men's grooming & style expert who is "internet famous" for being able to simplify complicated grooming routines into easy, yet effective rituals any man can do. As a professional analyst, he has spent years researching the biggest brands, products, experts, best practices, and breaking news in the space. He takes this analysis, tests it out on himself, and then documents everything in his writing. As a result, his experience-based articles are considered by some to be the gold standard in men's grooming and men's style.