How Long Does Hairspray Last? A Comprehensive Guide for a Lasting Style

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on September 14th, 2023

You’ve nailed that perfect look: sleek, stunning, and stylish. The icing on the cake? A spritz of hairspray to lock in that look for hours. But have you ever wondered, how long does that trusty can of hairspray last on your vanity or in your bathroom cabinet? Understanding the shelf life of hairspray can ensure you’re getting the most hold and shine, minus any issues. Dive into this guide to become an informed consumer, and ensure your hair game remains strong.

How Long Can You Keep a Can of Hairspray?

So, you’ve got an unopened can of hairspray gathering dust on your bathroom shelf. You might be asking, “Is it still good?” Good news: an unopened can of hairspray can usually last for up to three years. However, once you’ve started using it, the clock starts ticking. At this point, you can expect the hairspray to remain effective for about 18 months. The reason? Over time, air exposure, along with other environmental factors, begins to degrade the components of the hairspray, leading to diminished holding power.

Hairdresser spraying woman’s long black hair with hair spray.

Is Using Expired Hairspray a Risky Business?

The natural question that arises after discussing shelf life is the safety of using expired hairspray. While a drop in effectiveness is a given, health risks are generally minimal. Nonetheless, if you detect any alteration in the color, odor, or consistency, it’s advisable to throw the can away. Besides, manufacturers usually provide guidelines and warnings on the product label, which should be your go-to information source when in doubt.

Another concern is that an older can of hairspray might get clogged or jammed. This is more than just an inconvenience; it’s a signal that your hairspray needs replacing. And if you’re using aerosol hairspray, heed this: over time, the can may become over-pressurized, posing a potential safety hazard. Always follow safety instructions to mitigate risks.

Revisiting Unopened Hairspray: What’s the Real Deal?

You might notice some redundancy here, but it’s worth reiterating: an unopened can of hairspray is typically good for up to three years. Manufacturers incorporate preservatives into aerosol hairsprays, contributing to their long-lasting nature. That said, remember to check the expiration date and adhere to it. Optimal storage—cool, dry places—is your hairspray’s best friend in maintaining its shelf life.

When is it Time to Bid Adieu to an Opened Can?

So you have a can that’s been sitting around for a while. How do you know it’s time to part ways? First, an 18-month guideline post-opening should be your cue. If the hairspray has gone past this time, its best days are likely behind it. Signs of expiration may include changes in color, scent, or even the consistency of the spray itself. When in doubt, err on the side of caution. As with food and medicine, better safe than sorry when it comes to personal care products.

Does the Type of Hairspray Affect Its Longevity?

Absolutely, the type of hairspray you choose does impact its lifespan. Aerosol cans typically last for up to three years when unopened but drop to 18 months once opened. In contrast, non-aerosol hairsprays are usually effective for up to a year after they’re opened and can last up to three years if unopened. The ingredients play a role too; for instance, hairsprays containing alcohol may have a shorter shelf life.

Can Freezing Hairspray Be a Life-Saver?

When it comes to prolonging the life of your hairspray, freezing might be a path you’re considering. The good news is, it’s feasible, but only with aerosol hairsprays. However, don’t forget to store the can in a freezer-safe container to prevent any damage. It’s worth noting that freezing may alter the consistency, so shake well before use. While freezing does extend shelf life, it doesn’t turn your hairspray into an eternal youth elixir, so reasonable usage timelines still apply.

Maximizing the Efficacy of Your Hairspray

To get the most bang for your buck and maintain your style for as long as possible, follow these tips:

  • Store your hairspray in a cool, dry spot, far from extreme temperature fluctuations.
  • Steer clear of direct sunlight as it speeds up the degradation process.
  • Prior to application, shake the can well to blend all the active ingredients.
  • Opt for mild shampoos and conditioners that won’t interfere with your hairspray’s effectiveness.
  • Stick to an 18-month replacement cycle for opened cans to guarantee peak performance.


Keeping your hair picture-perfect takes effort and the right products. Hairspray can be a game-changer, but its effectiveness diminishes over time. Knowing its shelf life, understanding how different types affect longevity, and following storage guidelines will ensure you’re making the most out of your hairspray and help keep your hair looking great. After all, your hair deserves the best.


Editorial Staff

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