How Long Does a Relaxer Last After It Is Opened? The Ultimate Guide

Have you ever wondered how long your hair relaxer actually lasts after opening it? If you’re like most people, you probably just assumed that the product will last indefinitely once the seal has been broken. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. In this article, we’ll explore how long relaxers really last after they’ve been opened and what you can do to ensure that you’re using the product effectively.

Many people assume that because hair relaxers are filled with chemicals and preservatives, they will last forever. However, this is not true. Most hair relaxers will last between 6 and 12 months after being opened. After this period of time, the product will begin to lose its effectiveness and may even become harmful to use. It’s important to use your hair relaxers within this time frame to ensure that you’re getting the best possible results and not causing damage to your hair.

So, how can you ensure that you’re using your hair relaxer effectively and at the right time? One of the best things you can do is to make a note of the date that you opened the product. This will allow you to keep track of how long your hair relaxer has been open and when it’s time to replace it. Additionally, storing your hair relaxer in a cool, dry place can help prolong its lifespan. With these tips in mind, you can be sure that you’re getting the most out of your hair relaxer and keeping your hair healthy and beautiful.

What is a hair relaxer?

A hair relaxer is a chemical treatment used to permanently straighten curly, frizzy, or unruly hair. It works by breaking down the bonds in the hair shaft, allowing it to be manipulated into a straighter shape. The active ingredient in most relaxers is sodium hydroxide, which is a very strong chemical that can cause skin and scalp irritation if not used correctly.

Hair relaxers come in various strengths, depending on the texture and thickness of the hair. They can be used on both natural and previously treated hair, but it is important to note that they are permanent and cannot be reversed without cutting off the treated hair.

How long does a relaxer last after it is opened?

  • Most hair relaxers come in a two-part system that must be mixed together before use. Once mixed, the product will have a shelf life of several months.
  • However, once the product is opened and exposed to air, the shelf life can be significantly shorter. Some manufacturers recommend using the product within 6-8 weeks of opening it, while others suggest a shorter time frame of 4-6 weeks.
  • It is important to check the expiration date and any specific instructions from the manufacturer before using a hair relaxer that has been opened.

Factors that affect the longevity of a hair relaxer

The shelf life of a hair relaxer can vary depending on several factors, including:

  • The storage conditions: Hair relaxers should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or sources of heat. Exposure to heat and humidity can cause the product to break down more quickly.
  • The frequency of use: If a relaxer is used more frequently, it may not last as long due to exposure to air and moisture.
  • The amount of product remaining: A nearly empty bottle may not last as long as a full one, as there is less product to protect from air exposure.
  • The quality of the packaging: If the packaging is not airtight or is damaged, the product may break down more quickly.


When using a hair relaxer, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and to pay attention to the expiration date and shelf life of the product. Using a product that has expired or has been open too long can lead to poor results and potential damage to the hair and scalp.

Do’s Dont’s
Store hair relaxer in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Do not use a hair relaxer that has expired or has been open for too long.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully for best results and safety. Do not overuse hair relaxer, as this can lead to damage and breakage.
Consider consulting a professional stylist for application and maintenance advice. Do not mix different brands or types of hair relaxers.

By following these guidelines, you can keep your hair healthy and looking its best after using a hair relaxer.

Chemical Composition of Hair Relaxers

Hair relaxers are cosmetic products designed to straighten coiled or curly hair. They work through the chemical alteration of the hair composition, breaking the protein bonds of the hair shaft and allowing the hair to be reshaped into straight or wavy styles that can last for weeks to months. This process can only be achieved by using specific chemical compositions that can safely alter the hair without causing permanent damage.

  • The two major components of hair relaxers are the alkaline agent, typically sodium hydroxide or guanidine hydroxide, and the neutralizing agent, usually ammonium thioglycolate or sodium bromate.
  • Other ingredients may include oils, conditioning agents, and preservatives to protect and nourish the hair after the chemical process.
  • It is important to note that hair relaxers can be extremely harsh on the hair, leading to breakage and damage if not used correctly.

Factors Affecting the Lifespan of Hair Relaxers

The shelf life of hair relaxers depends on several factors, including the type of relaxer, the brand, and the conditions under which it is stored.

The table below shows the typical shelf life of common types of hair relaxers after they have been opened.

Type of hair relaxer Shelf life after opening (months)
Sodium Hydroxide (lye) relaxers Up to 12 months
Guanidine Hydroxide (no-lye) relaxers Up to 6 months
Thio Relaxers Up to 6 months

It is worth noting that the shelf life of hair relaxers can be shortened by exposure to heat, moisture, and air. Therefore, it is important to store your hair relaxer in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and ensure that the container is tightly sealed after each use.

Process of Applying Relaxer to Hair

Relaxers are chemical solutions used to straighten curly or coily hair. The chemical process works by breaking down the bonds in the hair cortex that give it its curly or coily shape and rearranging them to make the hair strands smooth and straight. Here’s how you can apply the relaxer to your hair.

  • Step 1: Preparation – Before applying the relaxer, you need to protect your skin and the areas around your hairline by applying petroleum jelly or a protective cream. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the chemicals in the relaxer.
  • Step 2: Section Your Hair – Divide your hair into four sections to make the application process easier. Use hair clips to secure the sections.
  • Step 3: Apply the Relaxer to Each Section – Using a brush, apply the relaxer to each section of hair, starting at the roots and working your way to the ends. Make sure all the hair is covered with the relaxer and keep it away from your scalp.
  • Step 4: Time the Relaxer – The amount of time you leave the relaxer in your hair depends on the texture and thickness of your hair. Follow the instructions on the relaxer kit and don’t leave it on for longer than recommended.
  • Step 5: Rinse Your Hair – Use warm water to rinse the relaxer out of your hair until all of it is removed. Don’t shampoo your hair yet.
  • Step 6: Neutralize Your Hair – Apply a neutralizing shampoo to your hair to stop the chemical process and restore the pH balance. Massage it into your hair and scalp for a few minutes, then rinse it out with warm water.
  • Step 7: Condition Your Hair – Apply a deep conditioner to your hair to add moisture and nourishment. Leave it on for the recommended time, then rinse it out with cool water.

It’s crucial to follow these steps carefully and to pay close attention to the timing. Leaving the relaxer on for too long or rinsing it out too quickly can damage your hair and scalp. It’s also essential to use a relaxer that’s suitable for your hair type and to do a strand test first before applying it to your entire head.

Expected Duration of a Hair Relaxer’s Effect

One of the most common questions about hair relaxers is how long the effect lasts. Here’s what you need to know:

  • On average, a hair relaxer can last anywhere from 6-8 weeks before the hair starts to revert back to its natural state.
  • The duration of a relaxer’s effect can depend on several factors, such as the texture of the hair, the strength of the relaxer, and how well the hair is maintained after the treatment.
  • Some people may experience longer-lasting results if they have fine hair or tightly coiled hair, while others may notice their hair reverting sooner if they have thick or coarse hair.

It’s important to note that even if the hair relaxer is still technically effective after 6-8 weeks, it’s not recommended to keep the relaxer in the hair for too long. Over-processing can lead to breakage and damage to the hair, so it’s best to reapply the relaxer before the hair starts to revert too much.

Here’s a general guideline for how often you should relax your hair:

Hair Texture Recommended Time Between Relaxers
Fine or Wavy Hair Every 10-12 weeks
Medium or Curly Hair Every 8-10 weeks
Coarse or Kinky Hair Every 6-8 weeks

Remember, the key to maintaining healthy hair after a relaxer treatment is to deep condition regularly, avoid excessive heat styling, and use products specifically designed for relaxed hair.

Factors that influence how long a relaxer lasts

If you’re someone who regularly uses relaxers, you may be wondering how long they last once opened. The truth is, there is no definitive answer to this question. The length of time a relaxer lasts after opening can vary based on several factors.

  • The type of relaxer: The type of relaxer you use can play a significant role in how long it lasts after opening. Some relaxers are designed to last longer than others, so be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Storage: The way you store your relaxer can also impact how long it lasts. If you keep it in a cool, dry place and avoid exposing it to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures, it may last longer.
  • Frequency of use: If you use your relaxer frequently, it may not last as long as if you only use it occasionally. The more often you use it, the quicker you’ll go through the product.

Another factor that can impact the lifespan of your relaxer is its chemical makeup. Some relaxers contain harsh ingredients that can cause them to break down more quickly. For example, relaxers that contain sodium hydroxide can be more prone to deteriorating than those that use other chemicals.

So, how can you tell if your relaxer has gone bad? One sign is that it may become less effective at straightening your hair. If you notice that it’s not working as well as it used to, it may be time to throw it out and buy a new one.

How to make your relaxer last longer

While there is no foolproof way to extend the lifespan of your relaxer, there are a few things you can do to help it last longer:

  • Seal the bottle: Once you open your relaxer, be sure to seal it tightly after each use. This can help prevent air and moisture from getting in and causing it to break down more quickly.
  • Don’t use too much: Using too much relaxer at one time can cause it to run out more quickly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and only use what you need.
  • Consider switching brands: If you find that your current relaxer doesn’t last very long, you may want to try a different brand that is designed to last longer. Experiment with a few different options to find one that works well for you.

Recommended shelf life of relaxers

While there is no set rule for how long a relaxer lasts after opening, most manufacturers recommend using it within 6 months to a year of opening. This timeframe can vary based on the specific product and its ingredients, so be sure to check the label for guidance.

Ingredient Shelf Life
Sodium Hydroxide 6-12 months
Lithium Hydroxide 12-18 months
Potassium Hydroxide 12-18 months

Remember, the shelf life of your relaxer can vary based on a number of factors, so always use your best judgement and don’t use any products that look or smell off.

How to Tell If a Hair Relaxer Has Gone Bad

It’s essential to know whether your hair relaxer has gone bad or not, as using expired relaxers can cause severe damage to your hair and scalp. Here are some signs that indicate your hair relaxer has gone bad:

  • The consistency has changed. If the relaxer has become lumpy, runny, or sticky, it’s a clear sign that it has gone bad.
  • The smell has changed. If the relaxer smells sour, has a strong chemical odor, or smells different from when you first bought it, it’s time to toss it out.
  • The color has changed. If the color of the relaxer has darkened or discolored, it’s a sign that it has oxidized and is no longer effective.

No matter how tempting it may be, never use a hair relaxer that has gone bad. Using expired relaxers can cause hair breakage, scalp damage, and even permanent hair loss. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

If you’re not sure whether your hair relaxer has gone bad or not, it’s always best to consult a professional stylist. They can help you determine whether the relaxer is still safe to use.

Precautions to take when using opened hair relaxers

Using an opened hair relaxer can be risky if not handled with care. Here are some precautions to take when using opened hair relaxers:

  • Always wear gloves to protect your hands from the chemicals in the relaxer.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling too many fumes. Consider using a fan or opening windows to improve air circulation.
  • Read the instructions carefully to make sure you’re following the correct procedure.

It is also important to be aware of the expiration date of your hair relaxer. Typically, an unopened hair relaxer can last for up to two years if stored in a cool, dry place. However, once opened, it should be used within 6-12 months to prevent the chemicals from losing their potency.

If you’re not sure how long your opened hair relaxer has been sitting around, it is better to be safe and avoid using it altogether. Using an expired or weakened hair relaxer can lead to hair breakage, damage, and chemical burns.

Lastly, be careful when handling the hair relaxer and avoid getting it on your clothes, skin, or other surfaces. The chemicals in the relaxer can cause discoloration and damage to fabrics, and may also cause skin irritation or burns.

Tips for storing hair relaxers to prolong their shelf life

Hair relaxers are a popular choice for people who wish to straighten their hair. However, storing the relaxers improperly can cause them to lose their effectiveness, leading to a waste of money and time. Here are some tips to help you store hair relaxers properly and prolong their shelf life:

  • Keep the relaxer in its original container: The container used to package the hair relaxer is designed to keep the product fresh. Once you have opened the container, make sure to keep the relaxer in it so that it stays protected from external elements that can affect its quality.
  • Store in a cool, dry place: Heat and moisture can cause the ingredients in the hair relaxer to break down, lose their effectiveness, and develop a harsh odor. Therefore, it is best to store your relaxers in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, humidity, and other sources of moisture, such as the bathroom or kitchen.
  • Avoid freezing or refrigerating: Freezing or refrigerating hair relaxers is not recommended as it can cause the formula to separate and reduce its effectiveness. Therefore, it is best to store the product at room temperature.

With proper storage practices, hair relaxers can last between six months to one year after opening, depending on the product’s ingredients and packaging. Additionally, here are some other tips

  • Never mix old and new products: Mixing old and new products can alter the formula and cause it to lose its effectiveness.
  • Do a patch test before use: Before using any hair relaxer, make sure to perform a patch test to ensure that you are not allergic to the ingredients, and that the product works well with your hair type and texture.
  • Keep out of reach of children: Since hair relaxers are chemical products, it is important to keep them out of the reach of children to avoid possible accidents and ingestion.

Below is a table showing the approximate shelf life of some of the most popular hair relaxers after opening:

Product Shelf life after opening
Mizani Butter Blend Relaxer 8-12 months
Luster’s Pink Shea Butter Relaxer 6-8 months
ORS Olive Oil Relaxer 6-8 months

In conclusion, storing hair relaxers properly is crucial to maintaining their effectiveness and prolonging their shelf life. By following the tips provided above, you can ensure that your hair relaxers last longer and work better, saving you money, time, and effort.

Benefits of Using Hair Relaxers

Hair relaxers are chemical preparations used to straighten curly, coiled, kinky or frizzy hair. They are popular among women of African descent who wish to attain a more manageable, straight hair. Hair relaxers work by breaking down the keratin protein in the hair shaft and reshaping it. There are several benefits to using hair relaxers:

  • Manageability: Hair relaxers make hair easier to manage by reducing tangles and knots. This is particularly important for women with thick or curly hair, which can be difficult to handle without regular straightening.
  • Styling Versatility: Relaxed hair can be styled in a variety of ways such as straight, wavy, or curly. This versatility allows women to switch up their look without having to undergo major hair changes.
  • Long-Lasting: When applied correctly, hair relaxers can last for up to six weeks. This means that users do not have to frequently apply the product, which can help to maintain the health of their hair and reduce the risk of chemical damage.
  • Time-Saving: For women with busy lifestyles, hair relaxers can be a time-saving solution. Straight hair requires less time and effort to maintain, which means more time can be spent on other activities.
  • Increased Confidence: Women often report feeling more confident and beautiful with straight hair. This boost in self-esteem can have a positive impact on other areas of their lives.

How Long Does a Relaxer Last After It Is Opened?

The shelf life of a hair relaxer varies depending on the product and how it is stored. However, once a hair relaxer has been opened, its lifespan is reduced significantly. On average, opened hair relaxers can last from 6 to 12 months before they begin to lose their effectiveness.

The exact duration that a relaxer lasts after it has been opened depends on the type of relaxer, the brand, and how it is stored. Some manufacturers may provide specific instructions on the product label, indicating a recommended use-by date after opening. Others may recommend that the product is used within a set time frame to achieve the best results. Failing to follow these guidelines can result in the product becoming ineffective, potentially causing harm to the hair and scalp.

It is recommended that users store hair relaxers in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and other sources of heat. Exposure to heat and moisture can cause the product to break down, reducing its lifespan. Additionally, avoid storing relaxers in areas with fluctuating temperatures or with other products that contain chemicals, as this can also cause the relaxer to degrade more quickly.

Type of Relaxer Storage Temperature Shelf Life (after opening)
Lye Relaxer Below 40°F (4°C) 6-8 months
No-Lye Relaxer Below 85°F (29°C) 8-10 months
Thio Relaxer Below 32°F (0°C) 10-12 months

It is important to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and dispose of any expired hair relaxers. Using old or expired hair relaxers can lead to undesirable results such as hair breakage, scalp irritation, and damage.

Risks and side effects of using hair relaxers.

While hair relaxers can provide smooth, straight hair, it is important to be aware of the potential risks and side effects that come with using them.

  • Chemical burns: The chemicals in hair relaxers are strong and can cause burns or irritation to the scalp if not used properly.
  • Damage to hair follicles: Relaxers can weaken the hair shaft and cause damage to hair follicles, leading to hair loss or breakage.
  • Health concerns: Some studies suggest that the use of hair relaxers may be linked to an increased risk of certain health issues, such as uterine fibroids or breast cancer. However, the evidence is not conclusive and more research is needed.

If you decide to use a hair relaxer, it is important to follow the instructions carefully and consider having a professional stylist perform the treatment. It is also recommended to do a patch test before applying the product to your entire head to check for any allergic reactions.

In addition, it is crucial to properly care for your hair before and after a relaxer treatment. This includes deep conditioning treatments, avoiding excessive heat styling and tight hairstyles, and using products specifically designed for relaxed hair.

Protect your scalp and hair from relaxer damage by: Make sure to avoid these things when using hair relaxers:
Applying petroleum jelly or a protective cream to your scalp before the application process Using a relaxer if you have any scalp conditions such as cuts or abrasions
Stretching out relaxer treatments to every 8-12 weeks instead of every 4-6 weeks Leaving the relaxer on for longer than recommended
Using a neutralizing shampoo after the relaxer process to stop the chemical reaction Applying the relaxer to hair that has already been chemically treated or colored

Overall, it is important to weigh the risks and benefits before using a hair relaxer and to take the necessary precautions to protect your scalp and hair from potential damage.

FAQs: How Long Does a Relaxer Last After It Is Opened?

Q: How long can I keep an opened relaxer?
A: It varies depending on the brand, but most opened relaxers have a shelf life of four to six months. Make sure to check the product label for specific guidelines.

Q: Can I still use my relaxer if it has expired?
A: It’s not recommended to use an expired relaxer, as it may no longer be effective and can even cause damage to your hair and scalp.

Q: Should I refrigerate my opened relaxer to make it last longer?
A: No, relaxers should not be refrigerated as they require a consistent temperature to remain effective.

Q: How can I tell if my opened relaxer is still good?
A: If the texture or consistency has changed or there is an unpleasant odor, it is best to discard the relaxer and purchase a new one.

Q: Can I store my opened relaxer in a different container or transfer it to a smaller bottle?
A: It is not recommended to transfer relaxers to different containers, as the product may react with the new container and cause irritation or instability.

Q: What should I do if I accidentally leave my opened relaxer in a hot environment?
A: If the relaxer has been exposed to extreme heat, it is best to discard the product and purchase a new one, as the heat may have altered the formula and made it unsafe to use.

Q: Are there any warning signs or red flags that I should be aware of when using an opened relaxer?
A: Yes, if you experience any burning, itching, or irritation while using the product or notice any unusual changes to your hair or scalp after application, discontinue use immediately and seek medical attention if necessary.

Closing Thoughts

We hope these FAQs helped answer any questions you may have had regarding how long a relaxer lasts after it is opened. Remember to always check the product label and follow all instructions for use to ensure safe and effective results. Thanks for reading and please visit again for more helpful hair care tips and tricks!