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The importance of checking expiration dates on Japanese cosmetics

The importance of checking expiration dates on Japanese cosmetics

As a beauty enthusiast, I understand the joy of trying different cosmetics, especially those from Japan. Japanese cosmetics have gained popularity around the world due to their high-quality ingredients, unique formulas and beautiful packaging. However, it is important to pay attention to the expiration dates of these products to make sure they are safe to use. In this article, I will discuss the importance of checking expiration dates on Japanese cosmetics, understanding expiration dates, the differences between Japanese and Western cosmetics, the risks of using expired cosmetics, popular expiration date symbols, proper storage, how to extend the life of these cosmetics, tips for buying Japanese cosmetics, and the importance of checking expiration dates on Asian cosmetics.

Importance of checking expiration dates of cosmetics

All cosmetic products expire. Expiration dates on cosmetics indicate the period during which the product is safe for use. Using cosmetics with expired expiration dates can lead to skin irritation, infections and other adverse effects, especially for sensitive skin. That's why it's important to check expiration dates before buying or using any cosmetic product, including Japanese cosmetics.

Understanding the expiration dates of Japanese cosmetics

According to Japan's MHLW (Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare), cosmetics do not have to include an expiration date on the package if the unopened product is safe for use for at least 3 years from the date of manufacture under optimal storage conditions. To give you some perspective, the EU only requires an expiration date if the product has a shelf life of less than 30 months (PAO is required for products with a shelf life of more than 30 months). In the U.S., on the other hand, there is currently no law or regulation that requires cosmetics to have expiration dates, a specific shelf life or PAO on their labels. Japanese cosmetics often have a different expiration date system than Western cosmetics, which can be confusing for those unfamiliar with the symbols. The period after opening (PAO) symbol is not used in Japan. The recommended PAO varies from product to product, from brand to brand and from formula to formula. Most Japanese sources say that products should be used within 3-6 months (or at least within a year) after opening, unless otherwise indicated. Japanese cosmetic products typically have a shelf life of three years from the date of manufacture, indicated by the symbol "製造年月日" (seizou nengetsu hi). Please note that this symbol indicates the date of manufacture, not the expiration date.

Here's a breakdown of how long each J-beauty product is good after opening:

- Cleansing oil: 1 year

- Lotion (aka tonic) and serum: 3 months

- Milk type moisturizer (emulsion, lotion): 4-5 months

- Face cream: 6 months

- Sun protection (filters): 3-6 months

- All other skin care products: 6-12 months

- Primer, liquid/cream foundation and concealer: 6-12 months

- Liquid mascara and eyeliner: 2-3 months

- Lipstick and gloss: 6-12 months

Differences between Japanese and Western cosmetics

Japanese cosmetics differ from Western cosmetics in several ways. Japanese cosmetics often have lighter formulas, containing ingredients such as rice bran, pearl extract and green tea. They also focus on texture and fragrance, often using traditional Japanese scents such as yuzu or cherry blossom. In addition, Japanese cosmetics contain more natural ingredients, which is beneficial for those with sensitive skin.

Risk of using expired Japanese cosmetics

Using expired Japanese cosmetics can lead to several risks, including skin irritation, infection and allergic reactions. These risks arise from the breakdown of the product's active ingredients, leading to changes in texture, color and odor. Out-of-date cosmetics can also harbor bacteria, leading to infections, especially on sensitive skin.

Popular expiration date symbols on Japanese cosmetics

How to determine the date of production? Remember that dates in Japan are in YYYY/MM/DD format. Some companies use the Japanese calendar. Japanese cosmetics may have different expiration date symbols, depending on the specific product. The most common symbols are "使用期限" (shiyou kigen), which indicates the recommended useful life after opening the product, usually six to twelve months. Another symbol is "賞味期限" (shoumi kigen), which is often found on skin care products, indicating the shelf life of the product after opening.

How to properly store Japanese cosmetics

Proper storage of Japanese cosmetics can help prolong their shelf life and prevent them from expiring quickly. Store products in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight, heat and humidity. In addition, make sure the product is tightly sealed after use to prevent air from getting into it. Normal storage conditions are defined as a dry, well-ventilated place at 15-25 °C (59-77 °F). No major temperature fluctuations. Contrary to popular belief, cosmetic products should not be stored in the refrigerator. The temperature must be constant and stable to maximize shelf life, which a standard household refrigerator does not provide.

How to extend the life of Japanese cosmetics

To prolong the life of Japanese cosmetics, it is essential to use and store them properly. Make sure to use clean hands when applying products, avoiding contact with water or other contaminants. Additionally, avoid exposing the products to extreme temperatures or sunlight, which can affect their quality.

Tips for buying Japanese cosmetics

When buying Japanese cosmetics, it is crucial to buy from reputable sellers to ensure the authenticity of the product. Additionally, check the expiration date symbols to make sure the product is not expired. It is also important to read the ingredients list to avoid any allergic reactions or sensitivities to specific ingredients.

Japanese cosmetics are not the only Asian cosmetics that require attention to their expiration dates. Other Asian cosmetics, such as Korean and Taiwanese, also have different expiration date systems that may be unfamiliar to Western consumers. Checking the expiration dates of these products can help prevent skin irritation, infections and other unwanted effects.


In conclusion, checking expiration dates on Japanese cosmetics is essential to ensure that they are safe to use. Understanding expiration date symbols, the differences between Japanese and Western cosmetics, and the risks associated with using expired cosmetics can help prevent adverse effects. Proper storage, prolonging the life of Japanese cosmetics and tips for purchasing these products are also key. In addition, checking expiration dates on Asian cosmetics, not just Japanese cosmetics, is essential for safe use.


As a beauty enthusiast, it is very important to take care of our skin and make sure that the products we use are safe to use. Checking expiration dates on Japanese and other Asian cosmetics can help prevent skin irritation, infections and other unwanted effects. Understanding expiration date symbols, the differences between Japanese and Western cosmetics, and proper storage can help extend the life of these products. Additionally, buying from reputable vendors and reading the ingredients list can help prevent allergic reactions and sensitivities to specific ingredients. Taking these steps can help us enjoy the benefits of Japanese and Asian cosmetics while keeping our skin safe and healthy.

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Don't delay and invest in long-lasting Japanese cosmetics today. Your skin will thank you, and you will enjoy a beautiful and healthy appearance for many months. We invite you to our store and wish you a successful shopping experience!