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How Long is the Shelf Life of Your Liquid Adhesive?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 2:00 PM  |  by HD-Anthony

Most hair wearers have looked at liquid adhesives and debated between purchasing the 2 oz. bottle and that big 7 oz. bottle. You're going to use the glue anyway, so why not go with the larger bottle and save yourself some cash, right?

Those savings are great, but what if you wash them down the drain along with that old, dried out glue?

Shelf Life of Your Liquid Adhesive

The good news is that glue isn't going to expire quickly, or easily, so there's no rush to use up that bottle in your closet. However, we talked to two CEOs in the industry to get their opinions on liquid adhesive longevity, and they even have some tricks to help extend the life of their glues.

Of course we had to include our very own Bill Biesecker, Sr., founder and CEO at Hair Direct. We also talked to Shane Stott, the CEO of Walker Tape Co., which produces a wide array of liquid adhesives for the hair-wearing industry.

Question: What is the general shelf life of clear and white adhesives, and when should they be disposed?

Bill: We suggest up to a year of shelf life, but liquid adhesives can certainly last longer than that. You have to store them properly though. Our ProTouch FusionBond Adhesive is water-based, so it could dry out if the cap is left off.

Shane: We tell people our adhesives last six months to a year with proper storage. I would say to dispose of your adhesives if they don't apply like they normally do.

Question: What problems could arise after that time?

Bill: Over time, liquid adhesives, especially water-based, can dry up and be really tough to work with. Or they can become too thick to use. It can be difficult to apply your adhesive when it gets to that point, which is not ideal when working with something that can be as delicate as a hair system.

If your adhesive arrives in the mail and it's lumpy, that's an indication it was frozen during transport. This can happen with air travel. If this happens, we'll replace it.

Shane: It's not that liquid adhesives can't last longer than a year, but they tend to thicken up over time and become harder to work with.

Question: Can you modify the adhesive to extend the shelf life?

Bill: If water-based adhesives like ProTouch FusionBond start to get dry, you can add a few drops of water to the bottle. As long as it's just thick and not completely dry, this is a quick fix. However, we do advise replacing it at that point.

If the adhesive is solvent-based, sometimes a little 99% isopropyl alcohol can be added to thin the adhesive. However, in the case of solvent-based adhesives, we definitely recommend buying a new one instead of trying to add more chemicals.

Shane: You can modify two of our adhesives for an extended shelf life, but I would recommend calling us if you have a problem with our products. It's likely we can help get them swapped out for some new stuff. If you're in a pinch, however, here are the two modifications:

  1. Mity-Tite is our thinner version of Ultra Hold. So, you can add Mity-Tite to Ultra Hold to thin it out and extend the life.
  2. Liqui-Tape is our thinner version of Soft Bond, so you can add Liqui-Tape to Soft Bond to thin it out, and extend the life.

Question: Do you have any final advice?

Bill: We recommend buying small bottles because folks will be surprised at how long it can last. For example, if you bond your hair for a month at a time, a bottle of glue can go a long way. If at some point you see the glue isn't going bad over time and you want to buy a larger one when it finally runs out, go for it! But we recommend starting with the smaller bottles.

If you're wondering why we recommend purchasing small bottles but also sell bigger bottles on our website, it's because we also deal with high-volume clients (such as hair stylists and salons) and wholesalers. That's not to say the everyday hair wearer doesn't find a use for them, but you want to make sure you like that adhesive and can use that quantity before investing in it.

Shane: Here is my number one piece of advice on keeping adhesives in prime condition: Don't open them until you have to! Once air hits the adhesive, even for the first time, it will start to shorten the shelf life. So, if you are ordering big bottles to save money in the long run, but you're using very small amounts and opening and closing the bottles for months and months, you will ruin the adhesive. Stick to smaller bottles, and open them one at a time.

My second piece of advice is to keep your products in a cool, dark room. Light and heat will also shorten the shelf life.

Liquid Adhesive Quick Tips

There's a pretty good consensus between two industry experts when it comes to the longevity of your liquid adhesive:

  • Buy small bottles
  • Only open them when you need to
  • Make sure you keep lids closed when the bottles aren't in use
  • Liquid adhesives can be modified in a pinch, but it's recommended that they be replaced

As always, we also encourage you to have this discussion with fellow hair wearers in our Community to see what kind of input other people may have!


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