Most cosmetic products are made to last a long time. But it is not always clear for consumers just how long is a long time. From March 2005 the new PAO symbol was introduced that shows the number of months within which the industry, in conjunction with European Union guidelines, recommends a product remains usable. This period is referred to as the Period After Opening (PAO).
The lifespan is designated in months (M) and appears as follows:
Information concerning the lifespan of your product will appear on all products except:
- products which only last 30 months or less as these products already carry a best before date
- single use products (e.g. samples, hair colorants etc.)
- products contained in packaging that prevents contact with the external environment (e.g. aerosols)
- some very long-lasting products which cannot deteriorate over time in a way that affects their safety.
Useful Product Tips
- Always read the instructions carefully; including any warnings for use.
- Keep lids on products when not in use and use the product within the recommended timeframe (if a date or PAO is shown on the product).
- Avoid storing your products in direct sunlight or near sources of heat and choose dry, cool (but not freezing) storage areas where possible.
- Never dilute products or mix with other products (unless directed to do so by the product instructions).
- Apply cosmetic products with clean hands or an applicator and routinely wash all applicators thoroughly with soap, detergent or a mild shampoo.
- Allow applicators to dry completely before use.
- Avoid sharing your personal cosmetic products with another person.