Can Hair Conditioner Freeze?

Dove hair conditioner and shampoo in a grocery store in Grovetown, Georgia, USA

Can hair conditioner freeze? Yes! It’s safe to freeze most hair conditioners. Should you freeze it? Eh, probably not. Let us tell you why!

It is well known in the beauty community that beauty products should be kept in a cool environment. Room temperature is fine, but the cooler the temperature, the more stable a product will be. This little fact makes heat the enemy. Right?

The higher the temperature, the faster the molecules move, and the likelihood of broken chemical bonds increases. Disrupted bonds can lead to ineffective, unsafe products. However, freezing isn’t entirely the way to go, either. 

Freezing a hair care product like a conditioner can negatively impact several aspects of the conditioner. Longevity, appearance, and containment are just to name a few. 

If you’re curious to know more, you’re in luck. Continue reading below to understand why, while it’s safe to freeze hair conditioner, beauty experts don’t recommend it.

Does Hair Conditioner Freeze?

Yes, hair conditioner does freeze. Since most conditioners and other hair care products are water-based, they can freeze. Other beauty products that include water in their ingredient list can freeze, too. 

If you’re planning to seriously stock up on hair products à la freezer, there are things to keep in mind. Primarily, the texture will change. A change in texture doesn’t mean that the product has gone bad. 

When something like a hair conditioner freezes, the molecules stay intact, and your product will not lose effectiveness. However, it may feel a bit watered down after thawing. This is standard! 

To combat funky texture after thawing hair conditioner, give the bottle a good shake. It may just need some extra help in the mixing department. If you’re still struggling with the texture change afterward, try not to stress about it too much. Your conditioner still will do its job. 

Be warned that the preservatives of your conditioner will not freeze. Therefore, upon thawing, your conditioner will become more susceptible to mold growth and bacteria. 

What Is The Freezing Point Of Hair Conditioner?

Hair conditioner freezes at approximately -3 Celsius (26.6 Fahrenheit). Since there are other ingredients besides water in the product, the freezing point is somewhat lower than plain old H²O.

At this rate, something as simple as forgetting your conditioner in the trunk overnight can make it freeze. Keeping a stash of conditioner in your garage can likewise cause product freezing.  

For reference, most emulsion blends can become unstable when frozen and then thawed. Permanent emulsions like body lotion are not intended to be separated (something that freezing will do).

Whereas the water portion of the product will freeze, the other, oily ingredients will not. They will become further concentrated rather than remain dispersed. Cosmetic chemist, Dr. Michelle Wong, the mastermind behind Lab Muffin, explains the separation of ingredients beautifully. 

In her article “Can You Freeze Beauty Products,” Michelle explains that emulsion separation is akin to drinking “a frozen bottle of drink before it defrosted … it starts off super sweet as all the flavour and sugar was squeezed together … at the end you’re left with a bland block of ice.”

The liquid freezes, leaving behind all else. Preservatives that are in your conditioner will also separate. Thus, some pockets of the product will have more preservatives than other areas. The imbalance could lead to bacterial growth. 

Despite the instability of emulsions after thawing, you do not need to fear any adverse effects. You will not experience hair loss or any sort of chemical burn. The conditioner will remain as useful as it was in its previous state. 

Will Hair Conditioner Freeze If Left Outside?

Yes, hair conditioner will freeze if left outside in cold enough weather. And winter is coming, so cold weather is inevitable. That being said, if a gnarly polar vortex is headed your way, you may want to bring in your conditioner.

Annual polar vortexes—periods of freezing winds, low pressure, and biting air—have become increasingly common. Staying one step ahead of them can save your conditioner from freezing.

If a conditioner is left outside, either intentionally or accidentally, the bottle can crack. Whenever the hair conditioner manages to thaw, the container could burst.

Unless you’re a fan of cleaning up clumpy conditioner from the sidewalk, porch, or … wherever, we recommend keeping your conditioner indoors.

Will Hair Conditioner Get Ruined If It Freezes?

It is complicated. The hair conditioner won’t necessarily be ruined if it happens to freeze. It will still be effective. On the other hand, there are risks involved since it is an emulsion.

The product will not become instantaneously ruined. However, freezing and thawing will open up your conditioner to bacteria growth.

The texture and scent of the product in question will also change after thawing. While these are tell-tale warning signs of bacteria, the above changes are likely from product separation. 

In all honesty, you run a greater risk of busting the hair conditioner bottle than ruining the product itself. Indeed, freezing hair conditioners isn’t ideal, but it isn’t the end of it all either. 

Final Thoughts: Can Hair Conditioner Freeze?

In conclusion, hair conditioners can safely be frozen and thawed. There are after-effects to keep in mind, but none pose a severe threat to your health. We’ll quickly review the contents of this article one final time to set the record straight. 

First things first, hair conditioner will freeze at (roughly) -3 Celsius, or 26.6 Fahrenheit. It will have to dip below the freezing point for water to compensate for other elements. Once frozen, product separation will occur. As an emulsion, this is to be expected. 

While frozen, the bottle holding the conditioner will expand. This can lead to bursting, cracking, or breaking. The container is trying to compensate for the separation of previously combined elements. 

Secondly, your hair conditioner will not look, smell, or feel the same once thawed. It will still do its job, but something will seem off. Thawed conditioners can have a strong smell, appear a slightly different color, and be runnier than before.

Unless you suspect bacterial growth—unlikely, unless the product sat for many months after thawing—this is normal. Pretty much, avoid freezing your hair conditioner to save your future self from trouble.

If you don’t mind your conditioner’s longevity taking a hit and can deal with the change in appearance, go ahead. Whether or not to freeze beauty or hair care products is up to the individual. Once they learn it is safe, of course. 

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By Daphnie Bachmann

Daphnie Bachmann is a licensed esthetician and beauty writer at Kintegra Research. She loves beauty and skincare. She always has her eyes open for the next new beauty or skincare product to test out and review. She's driven by her passion for the beauty industry and is always willing to share her beauty secrets!