Korean Beauty Expiry Dates


It starts off as a slight nagging in the back of your mind: how long have I really been using this product for? Does it feel weird on my skin or smell different? Then it evolves into mild paranoia and anxiety as you turn to check for the expiry date. We’re all familiar with the moment of panic when we brave through and glimpse at the worrisome number at the bottom of the bottle. How can the date on this product be from 6 months ago when I just bought it last month??

As much as we’d like our products to live as long as our never-ending conquest for eternal youth, the reality is, unfortunately, a little harsher and products will go bad after a period of time. Expiry dates can be a finicky thing to deal with, especially when the Western and Asian beauty products have different ways of labeling them. The last thing you want is to put on a product that’ll harm your delicate skin, cause unnecessary irritations or worse, cause a reaction that’ll leave behind permanent scarring. Here’s the beauty breakdown on Korean beauty product dates to save your face (and potentially your purse too!) the hassle.

What should I be looking for?
Before we get into terms and signs, let’s first talk a little about the format of the dates Korean products use: they follow the YYYY/MM/DD format, which is different to that of Western products. There are three main terms you should be looking look out for. These are:

  • 제조 (Jae-jo) - Manufactured Date
  • 까지 (Kka-ji) - Expiration Date
  • 사용기한 (Sa-yong Ki-han)- Best Before Date

The first one is pretty self-explanatory: that’s the date when the product was made or manufactured. However, there’s a significant difference between Expiration Date and Best Before Date. The Expiration Date refers to the last day your product should be used. After that date, the product will be considered as spoiled and not safe to use on your skin. Best Before Date refers to the period of time when the product works at its best. Passing the Best Before Date means that the product may not be at its freshest or work as well anymore, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the item is no longer safe to use. Below are a couple of examples of what to expect:




There’s also this little guy which helps you figure out how long you have to use up your product after it’s been opened!


Meet the Period After Opening (PAO) sign. This handy picture indicates how long the product will be good for use after breaking its seal. In the example above, the product will be good for 12 months after it’s been opened, so you should try to finish up your product within the period indicated according to your product.

How long are my beauty babies going to last?
Sometimes due to wear and tear or storage, these dates may get rubbed off the packaging, or the sticker containing that information may go missing. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Now that you know all the terms and lingo, here’s a general guide on how long your beauty “goo” is going to last:

Cleansing Products: Foam, Cream, Oil, Wipe
  • Before opening: Up to 36 months
  • After opening: Up to 12 months
Skincare: Toner, Essence, Lotion, Cream, Eye Cream, Sunscreen
  • Before opening: Up to 36 months
  • After opening: Up to 12 months
Liquid Face Makeup: Foundation, Primer, BB/ CC Cream
  • Before opening: Up to 36 month
  • After opening: Up to 12 months
Powder Face Makeup: Setting Powder, Powder Foundation, Bronzer, Highlighter, Blush
  • Before opening: Up to 5 years
  • After opening: Up to 3 years
Powder/ Pressed Eyeshadow, Pencil Eyeliner, Eyebrow Pencil
  • Before opening: Up to 36 months
  • After opening: Up to 12 months
Cream Eyeshadow, Liquid Eyeliner, Mascara
  • Before opening: Up to 18 months
  • After opening: Up to 6 months
Lip Products: Lip Balm, Lipstick, Lipgloss
  • Before opening: Up to 36 months
  • After opening: Up to 12 months
Lipliner
  • Before opening: Up to 5 years
  • After opening: Up to 3 years
Note that these are just estimates of how long your products will last. If it starts turning a different colour, texture or smell, then it’ll be best to throw it out even if it hasn’t reached its deadline yet. We’ve come up with a couple of tips for you to ensure that your product stays as fresh as it can, for as long as it can:
  1. Liquid or cream type products will last longer if you scoop out products with a clean small spatula compared to your fingers as this prevents and reduces contamination.
  2. Spraying your pressed powder products with rubbing alcohol once in a while will kill any nasty bacteria in there. Make sure you allow it to dry before using it again.
  3. Ensure all cosmetic products are kept in cool, dry places away from any harsh direct sunlight as this can alter the formulation of your product, making it spoil sooner than it should.
  4. Wash your hands before you use your products, and keep your brushes clean by washing them regularly to reduce bacteria build-up in the cosmetics you dip them into.
We know how heartbreaking it can be to toss out a well-loved product, but it’s better to be safe than be sorry! How often do you cleanse your stash of expired goods? Do you have any other tips to ensure your products keep fresh for as long as possible? Let us know and if you found this guide helpful in the comments below!

Have a magical day!

xx
Syd
Althea’s Mermaid

31 comments

  1. Can I know when Althea will restock Etude House, Onsaemeein and other product? Really need them ������

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes we will be restocking soon, the holiday period in Korea for mid-Autumn the elves went to holiday

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    2. Thank you! Really loves to spend money at Althea...

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  2. Thanks for posting this Syd,it helps alot.;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey there! Thanks for reading, and I'm glad you found this helpful. :) Have a magical day!

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  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  4. I've been using and loving K-beauty products lately especially the ones I bought from the Althea online store. This post is really informative knowing that most of the products have Korean/Hangeul texts in their description. Thanks for this! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're very welcome! Fantastic to know we've helped a couple of you out there <3

      xx
      Mermaid

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  5. Can you give the ingredients of your products. It's actually hard reading Hangul. I always check the ingredients since I encounter an allergy before when I purchase a certain western skincare. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey there, we'll definitely try to relay to the team. Thanks for the feedback!

      xx
      Mermaid

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  6. Thank you for sharing, this is really thoughtful

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome! Hope this helps

      xx
      Mermaid

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  7. Hi :) you've mentioned everything but EXFOLIATORS! like skin food brown sugar or white rice . when is the expiration? before and after opening ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! Oh, you're right, we did miss that out :O exfoliators generally come with an expiry date, but a safe period would be up to 12 months after opening, and up to 36 months before opening. Hope this helps!

      xx
      Mermaid

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  8. Replies
    1. You're welcome! Hope you have a magical day :)

      xx
      Mermaid

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  9. great article. thank you althea :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome! Hope you have a magical day :)

      xx
      Mermaid

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  10. Thank you for posting this, it is helpful, I have printed a copy and save it in my computer for reference.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! That's a handy tip for future reference :) You're welcome! Hope you have a magical day :)

      xx
      Mermaid

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  11. hello i was wondering if Althea ships to new zealand? thanks

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    Replies
    1. Hello! Yes we do :) Shipping charges may apply depending on your location. Hope this helps! Happy shopping ;)

      xx
      Mermaid

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  12. Replies
    1. You're welcome! Hope you have a magical day :)

      xx
      Mermaid

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  13. Can i know when althea will restock nature republic aloe shooting gel, it's my peeling wash and other product? I really need them 😟

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! Unfortunately that's up to our fairies in K-land and out of our control :( Don't worry, we'll put in a good word for ya. ;) Meanwhile, be sure to check out our latest offerings on Althea!

      xx
      Mermaid

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  14. thankyou for your information. this is really helpful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome! Hope you have a magical day :)

      xx
      Mermaid

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  15. Really appreciate all the stuff made by this blog to let people know more about this topic. I added little more relevant points to my knowledge which definitely going to help me in coming future.
    ครีมลดริ้วรอย

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  16. How about sheet masks?Ok got mine and its manufacturing date was last year,can I still use it now?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sheet masks should be fine up to 24 months before opening :) hope this helps!

      xx
      Mermaid

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