If bodycare products have a shelf life of less than two and a half years the symbol of an hour glass or egg timer in conjunction with a date is mandatory for packaging. Photo: Wikimedia
Did you know that? What packaging symbols really mean
Dates and symbols are printed on most cosmetics packaging but do cream jars with stated years, half-full hour glasses, labels with marked-down prices and sequences of numbers really ease purchasing decisions for shoppers and retailers? Let us shed some light on this.
Receptacles containing bodycare products that have a shelf life of less than 30 months feature a best-before date in the EU. This means: up to this point in time the products can fulfil their original function subject to appropriate storage. In addition to this, an hour glass or the words “Best Before” have to feature on the packaging. If specific conditions for storage are required these also have be indicated.
Does Lipstick Go off?
Cosmetics labelled with an open cream jar symbol have a shelf life of over 30 months when not opened. They do not have to feature a best before date. As soon as they are opened the so-called PAO – Period after Opening applies. The latter shall be indicated as a number of months (M) or years (A). Exceptions include bodycare products that have to be consumed immediately (e.g. vials), products that cannot be opened (e.g. spray cans) and products that actually cannot go bad such as lipstick.
An open cream jar with a number indicates the shelf life of the cosmetic product after opening. Photo: Melanie Streich