There’s a good chance you’ve come across the topic of freezing shampoo in your research about hair care products. It’s an odd topic that invokes a polarizing debate.
Does shampoo freeze? Some say that shampoo definitely does not freeze.
Others not only state that it does, but they recommend that you freeze your shampoo to make it last longer. In this article, we’ll clear things up for you so you’ll know for sure whether shampoo freezes.
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Does Shampoo Freeze?
When the temperature drops low enough, shampoo does freeze (e.g., in seriously cold weather). Although it has other ingredients, most shampoos are made up of about 80% water. As a result, it starts to freeze at around negative 3 degrees Celsius, or 26.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
You may notice that this is lower than the regular freezing point of water, and there’s a good reason for that! Some oils, alcohols, and other compounds don’t freeze unless the temperature falls extremely low.
Depending on the formula, your shampoo might not freeze 100% or may freeze unevenly. You might even notice your shampoo separating in cold temperatures, with the water portion turning into ice while the remainder of the ingredients remains a thick, viscous liquid.
Note: You may also be wondering, does hair conditioner freeze? Conditioner does freeze along with most hair products that are water-based. Many dish soaps and cleaning supplies can also freeze.
Is Shampoo Good After Freezing?
Although freezing doesn’t usually have too much of an impact on how effective the ingredients are, it can easily make the preservatives less effective. Additionally, the process of freezing and thawing will affect the texture of the shampoo.
Your shampoo might separate or become runnier. While these can impact the shampooing process, your shampoo will probably still be good after freezing.
Whether or not a shampoo is good after freezing varies, depending on the product’s formula and how long it was kept frozen.
So, before you attempt to thaw and use a previously frozen shampoo, examine it. Look for any indications that it is no longer suitable for use. Some signs that you should look out for are:
- An overly lumpy or watery consistency
- An unpleasant or strange smell
- A dramatic color difference
- Visible mold or bacteria growth
The main takeaway is that even though your shampoo is probably okay, you should treat the situation on a case-by-case basis.
Shampoo that has been ruined by freezing will not get your hair as clean as it used to and can even dry your locks out or cause scalp irritation.
How Long Can You Freeze Shampoo?
Although freezing your shampoo is possible, shampoo isn’t meant to be frozen. There isn’t a set length of time that shampoo can be frozen.
It depends on how old the shampoo is, the temperature it was frozen at, and the shampoo’s ingredient list. Avoid freezing your shampoo when possible and try to limit the amount of time it spends frozen.
Does Dry Shampoo Freeze?
Unlike regular shampoo, dry shampoo contains very little water. Dry shampoo won’t freeze, even if you leave it in your car during winter.
However, most dry shampoos are in aerosol bottles. Aerosol cans are highly flammable and can even explode if they overheat. Avoid storing your dry shampoo in a warm or sunny location.
Pros and Cons of Freezing Shampoo
While we don’t necessarily recommend it, there are a few positives to consider when deciding whether you should freeze your shampoo. Use the information in this section to see if it’s something you want to try.
Pros of Freezing Shampoo
While it is usually the result of an accident, there are a few advantages to letting your shampoo freeze. Here are the pros of freezing shampoo:
- It will help your shampoo last longer – On average, shampoo expires after six months to 2 years after opening it and 2 to 4 years if it’s unopened and properly stored. If you go through shampoo slowly or come across a good deal and suddenly have an excess, freezing some of it will help extend its lifespan. Otherwise, your shampoo may spoil by the time you get around to using it. The risks of using expired shampoo include:
- Skin irritation
- Dry or damaged hair
- Diminished cleaning ability
- It can save you money – When you hang onto your frozen shampoo, you won’t have to go out and buy a replacement. Additionally, freezing your shampoo allows you to take advantage of discounts and coupons. You can stock up when it’s inexpensive and rack up the savings!
- It can create a relaxing experience – Washing your hair with an ice-cold shampoo might be just what you need to cool down on a hot summer day. Using a cold shampoo will also increase scalp blood circulation and help you get cleaner, shinier locks. If you want to try this technique, stick your shampoo in the freezer for an hour or two. Avoid letting it freeze all the way through, or it might be too difficult to squeeze out.
Cons of Freezing Shampoo
While freezing your shampoo can have some advantages, it’s not usually the best idea. Here are some of the negative consequences of letting your shampoo freeze.
- Your bottle might explode – When liquid freezes, it expands and takes up more room. When your shampoo freezes, it may expand so much that the container bursts. Once the shampoo thaws, it will start to leak out and create a mess.
- The preservatives may become less effective – Not all preservatives respond to freezing well. After freezing and thawing, you may find that your shampoo goes bad much quicker than you expect. Once you defrost your shampoo, watch out for evidence of bacterial or fungal growth.
- It can ruin the shampoo’s consistency – Shampoos have a number of ingredients, not all of which blend well with each other. These ingredients are combined through emulsification to create a smooth, even texture. Freezing and thawing may undo this effect and cause the product to separate.
- Freezing your shampoo takes up space – Most of us have limited freezer space and might not have the room to store shampoo bottles. Since freezing shampoo is more of a long-term solution, you might not have the room to spare.
- The active ingredients may degrade – In addition to the preservatives, freezing your shampoo may make the active ingredients less effective. Most of us purchase hair products based on their ingredients and effects. Once these degrade, your shampoo won’t work the way you want.
How to Defrost Shampoo
Now that you know that you can use shampoo after it freezes, you’re probably wondering how you should go about defrosting it. To defrost your shampoo, all you have to do is let it sit out at room temperature until it thaws out.
If you’re in a rush, put your shampoo in a bowl of warm water to speed things up.
Once the shampoo has defrosted, shake it for as long as possible. Keep shaking until the color is uniform and all the ingredients appear to be blended.
Keep in mind that once the ingredients have separated from the freezing process, they may not stay emulsified for long. You’ll likely have to give your shampoo a good shake before each use.
Freezing your shampoo can cause it to burst, spoil or develop an unpleasant texture, so we don’t recommend that you do it intentionally. Most shampoo products should always be stored at room temperature.
However, if you accidentally freeze your shampoo and defrost it, it will probably be fine to use thereafter. Even so, keep an eye out to make sure it hasn’t gone bad.
We hope this article has answered your questions about whether or not shampoo freezes and clearly explained its effect on your product!
Kenneth Byrd holds a BS in Accounting and Management Information Systems and an MBA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is a serial hair blogger that has been writing about hair care since 2008, when he co-founded Curl Centric and Natural Hair Box. Curl Centric is a website operated by a husband and wife team that encourages healthy hair care.