why are shampoo bottles not sealed

Why Are Shampoo Bottles Not Sealed?

Why are shampoo bottles not sealed? When you’ve purchased shampoo in the past, online or in-store, you may have noticed that there is no tamper-proof seal. The same applies to conditioners and most other cosmetic and hygienic products.

There are several reasons why shampoo bottles don’t come sealed. This article will review all the reasons why this is the case and—surprise—there is a lot more to it than the customary sniff test. 

Why Aren’t Shampoo Bottles Sealed?

Shampoo bottles aren’t sealed for several reasons. Generally, tamper seals are only on products that could prove to be harmful if tampered with. Certain medications, food items, and some cosmetics come with a tamper-proof seal in place.

As cited by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the only cosmetics that require tamper-evident sealing are “liquid oral hygiene products … and all cosmetic vaginal products” (Section 21 CFR, 700.25).

Otherwise, it is fair game. There is no current federal law in place that requires shampoo to be tamper-proof sealed. Most manufacturers aren’t going to spend the additional money required to seal shampoo, especially because tampering is so uncommon.

The primary reason shampoo bottles aren’t sealed is that the product is not ingested and should only be used externally. Sure, someone could be rude and add hair dye, Nair, or some other thing to the hair wash beforehand.

However, these aren’t life-threatening. Cruel? Yes. Unusual? Definitely. Poisonous? No. We should also add that the lack of a seal allows consumers to “sniff” the product.

It may sound odd, but tons of folk out there check the scent of body washes and hair products prior to purchasing. After all, you don’t want to smell like coconut when your goal is vanilla.  

How Do You Tell If Shampoo Has Been Tampered With?

Unfortunately, there is no real way to tell if a shampoo has been tampered with. While you can always keep an eye out for any unusual color, consistency, or scent, tampering isn’t always obvious.

Most of the time, it will be difficult to tell that a shampoo has been tampered with until it is already too late. Three years ago, a woman in Virginia began to lose clumps of her hair after using shampoo she purchased from Walmart.

Police suspect that her conditioner was tampered with in-store. Now, you may have picked up on the risk of in-store shampoos lacking a seal. Sorry to disappoint you, but online is no better. 

Although her hair smelt terrible in the aftermath, she didn’t immediately realize something was off about her usual shampoo. In a similar incident, a woman in Wisconsin lost a handful of hair after trying out a new conditioner.

Countless online stores advertise salon-quality products at a fraction of the in-store cost. We know how it is! Salon-quality products are to die for but can be pretty pricey. Online retailers are a good alternative. 

It is disappointing to admit, but sellers on the internet aren’t always the most reliable. Tons of reviews exist on products that are being advertised as salon-quality, only to have them fumble the ball.

Among chief complaints were an unusual color, burning, and itchiness after use and the product having been watered down. If you do find yourself in the position of suspecting that your shampoo has been tampered with, then don’t use the product.

There are testing labs available to test the shampoo in the case of tampering. Luckily, there are steps you can take if you believe that your shampoo has been tampered with.

What Do You Do If Your Shampoo Has Been Tampered With?

If your shampoo has been tampered with, do not continue use. It is even better if you can identify tampering prior to use. First things first, you need to know if your shampoo has been undoubtedly tampered with (i.e. lab confirmed evidence).

Unnatural hair loss can also act as evidence as long as there are no underlying health conditions plausibly responsible. An unusual smell, color, or texture can also indicate that something is awry. Next, you will want to contact an appropriate party.

The appropriate party depends on the situation. In the instance that your shampoo has been tampered with straight from the store, then you can likely return it. Whether or not you can get a refund is based on the individual store’s refund and/or return policies.

Most of the time, stores won’t refund products that have been used or altered. They will instead allow you to swap it out for an untampered shampoo. Now, the same rule generally applies to online marketplaces as well.

What you are capable of doing (or not doing) is completely up to the seller. Prior to purchasing, always make sure you are well-versed with the store’s return policy. One of the more frustrating parts about purchasing a shampoo that has been tampered with is proving that it wasn’t you.

For this reason, refunds and returns for tampered products can be complicated. If you suspect that an individual you are familiar with has been tampering with your shampoo, then get it tested.

Labs that perform content testing will be able to check whether or not something like hair remover is present. Based on the result, you can file a report to your local police on account of personal injury.

Can You Get A Refund If Your Shampoo Has Been Tampered With?

Whether or not you can get a refund if your shampoo has been tampered with depends on the company. Stores—both in-person and online—have unique policies. These can usually be found posted at the front of the store or under “Returns and Exchanges” online. 

When online, it may be difficult to locate the store’s return and exchange policy. If not immediately stated or linked, a good place to look is the “Q&A” section.

If all else fails, send the owner (or company, depending on the online store) an email for clarification. Under California law, you will likely be able to get a full refund or equal exchange within 7 days of the purchase if there is no stated return policy.

It is worth noting that you will need your receipt in order to fulfill the refund or exchange. Other states may have opposing laws, so always check ahead of time.

How Common Is Shampoo Tampering?

Shampoo tampering is not common. At least, in-store shampoo tampering isn’t. Most of the time, shampoo tampering happens between two individuals that already know each other and have access to one another’s hygienic products.

It is rare to purchase a shampoo that has been tampered with in a physical store. As for online marketplaces, they are a bit of an unknown territory. 

If you check on reviews from some Amazon products, you will be able to find plenty of peeved individuals who think their shampoo has been tampered with. The best bet you have is to purchase online from a verified manufacturer or brand.

Final Thoughts: Why Are Shampoo Bottles Not Sealed?

In all, shampoo bottles are not sealed because manufacturers are not legally obligated to seal them. This includes shampoo from an online shop or marketplace: they do not require a seal either. 

If you are concerned about tampering, you can rest well knowing that it is an exceedingly uncommon crime. The likelihood of your shampoo being tampered with after purchasing is significantly higher than purchasing an already tampered product.

However, you should always stay aware. Keep an eye out for deviations from the shampoo’s usual formula, especially if you are familiar with the brand.

Any unusual color, texture, or scent should be a cause for concern. You should never risk using a potentially tampered-with product; we recommend submitting it to a lab for testing. Additionally, a tampered-with shampoo isn’t a guaranteed refund.

You may be able to get an equal exchange, but it all comes down to the return policies of the specific store. This counts for in-person and online purchases. If you enjoyed reading this article, check out the next article in the series: “Why Does Shampoo Have Instructions?