Period After Opening (PAO) symbol on beauty products


To my great surprise, I found out the other day that many people do not know that there is an expiration date on cosmetics and skincare products. This has been compulsory in the EU since 2005.

This small symbol shows how long after opening you can safely use the product.  For this type of labelling to work, you have to remember more or less when you opened a product. In many ways it is much easier with a ‘best before’ date.


Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

3 thoughts

  1. This is amazing! I had absolutely no idea! I always need to check labels to see how they are meant to be recycled and I had noticed that symbol but I thought it was for the number of times the packaging had been recycled already… That was very naive of me!… I definitely need to start writing down the date when I use my products. I tend to buy quite a few to try and then I forget to use them on a regular basis and I see them season after season and I’m pretty sure that some of them must be off… THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!

      1. Yes! Same here! I always mean to do this for ketchup and mayo but I always forget… I’ll make sure I have a pen right next to where I store all unopened containers so that I can write the number down more easily. Looking for a pen is so unmotivating!…

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