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When to clean or ditch your hair products and accessories

cleaning your hair accessories

It’s Spring, which means many people will be looking to get rid of the old to welcome the new, clearing out unwanted or old items and giving their homes a good ‘spring clean’.

But when it comes to hair products and accessories, when is it time to say goodbye?

Well, for products with an expiry date of fewer than 30 months, you can always find the period after opening (PaO) on the packaging.

Look for a small symbol in the shape of an opened pot. Inside will be a number followed by an M (months) or Y (years) – this will tell you how long the product will remain safe and effective to use after it’s first opened.

Here’s a rough guide on when to ditch or clean popular items…

Hair Dye: After 1 hour

While some manufacturers suggest that hair dye doesn’t expire, it generally has a shelf life of around three years before you open it.

You’ll likely use a box of dye all in one go, but if, for any reason, you don’t, its lifespan can vary from up to six weeks (unmixed) and within one hour (mixed).

If contaminated by bacteria, it will start to emit a strong smell, look a strange colour, or like the liquid has separated.

Using expired or oxidized hair dye could result in hair going a darker colour than anticipated, taking on a green tinge, or, worst case, an allergic reaction.

cleaning your hair accessories

Hairbrush: After 6 Months

As you use your hairbrush every day, often multiple times, it’s important to replace it every six months.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to look after it in between times, as brushes are a breeding ground for bacteria, and dirty brushes can cause scalp irritation.

To prolong its lifecycle and avoid any issues, remove hair after each use and clean it once a week using baking soda, water and a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove product build up, followed by a mild shampoo and warm water.

Brushes on their way out will start to look worn down, with melted, separated or missing bristles. To avoid hair damage caused by broken bristles, get a new brush.

Hair Extensions: After one year

Clip-in extensions can last up to one year if cared for well, while professional options require regular salon maintenance appointments and can last a similar amount of time if cared-for appropriately.

Hair extensions need different care than your natural hair, so it’s always worth checking if it’s recommended to wash your specific extensions or not. At Milk + Blush, we advise against washing our clip-in wefts because if it’s done incorrectly, you can end up causing more damage than good.

Instead, we recommend you use RemySoft Daily Refresher. This spritz coats the hair in silicone, which replenishes them in a similar way to how natural hair oils soften your hair.

However, if you decide to wash them, remember, unlike your natural hair, they don’t need to be washed regularly – perhaps every 20-30 wears or if they have product build-up.

Use a sulphate-free shampoo and avoid scrubbing too hard. Rinse thoroughly before blow drying on low heat or air drying all the wefts on a flat surface and gently pat away excess moisture from the hair using a microfibre towel.

Shampoo and Conditioner: After 18 months

Unopened products can last up to three years if stored properly, but once opened, most should be used within 18 months.

Most shampoos contain preservatives to protect them against bacterial contamination and make them last longer, but even the most carefully stored products will see preservatives wear off with time.

If a product has expired, the liquid may be discoloured or lumpy, smell less or lose its ability to cleanse or condition your hair well.

Hairspray and Dry Shampoo: After 18 months

Similarly, unopened hairspray or dry shampoo will last up to three years and a maximum of 18 months once you start using it.

But unlike shampoo and conditioners, there’s often a lack of information displayed to tell you how long it will last.

To get the most out of them, store them at room temperature and ensure the nozzle is placed back on firmly when it’s not in use to avoid bacteria from your hands filtering through and breaking down the chemicals. If it’s expired, you’ll notice changes in its effectiveness.

By Hair Expert Alice Dawkins of Milk + Blush

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