Young, old and expired products: how do you know the ‘best before’ dates of your products?


Who hasn’t happened to find a half-used product in a forgotten corner of their bathroom cupboard? And what about that travel size product from last year’s holidays that you hadn’t finished? There is rarely a trace of an expiration date on products, and wondering if these products are still safe is a must, and not at all trivial. So, let’s learn how to date our products and get the most out of our cosmetics!

Do conceptTM products have an expiry date?

We do not have an expiration date on our products. Not because we have forgotten to do so, but because the European Regulation EC 1223/2009, recognized as one of the strictest cosmetic regulations in the world, does not require an expiration date for products that last more than 30 months. And all our products last more than 30 months, with the exception of the milk_shake® natural care milk / yogurt / cocoa / papaya hair masks, consisting of food-grade powders, whose expiration date is indicated by an hourglass symbol, expressed with month and year, and printed on each single dose sachet and on their box. This is the date by which the masks, if properly stored, can be used while remaining safe and continuing to fulfill their intended function.

ARTICOLO 1120x960px6

Generally speaking, water represents the ideal environment for the growth and proliferation of microorganisms, and for this reason the water content in formulas is also the worst threat to the preservation of the product. The milk_shake® natural care masks are freeze-dried powders, they do not contain water, therefore they do not constitute a fertile ground for the development of bacterial and organic contaminants. And this is also why there are no added preservatives. However, in order to avoid even the remote possibility of risk associated with the presence of water absorbed by environmental humidity, we subject the powders to a precautionary sterilization process to eliminate any bacterial content, as well as other contaminants. To ensure maximum life expectancy and promote the best user experience, we also recommend that you store the product in a cool, dry place.


What about all the other products without an expiry date? Do they have unlimited shelf-life? What about their water content?

If not properly stored, it only takes a few hours for high water content formulations to transform into a microbial culture broth. We know this very well, which is why our cosmetics contain carefully studied mixtures of preservatives: they are real defence systems with which we equip the products to ensure prolonged microbiological stability. Prolonged, of course, but in any case, not eternal.

All cosmetics deteriorate over time and even the most stable formulations in the world sooner or later degrade. After opening, elements such as light, bacteria, humidity and oxygen present in the air interact with the product, altering its characteristics. For example: the colour can change, the scent fades, the consistency can vary. It can take a long time for these transformations to become noticeable, but they can also be fast enough to transform the product within a few weeks.

The behaviour of each cosmetic product depends on numerous factors and each is a story in itself. Precisely for this reason each product must be accompanied by an “indicator” that tells us when it is best not to use it anymore. Its formal name is Period after Opening (PaO) or post-opening period and is defined as “the time in which the product, once opened, can be used without harmful effects”.

For conceptTM cosmetics, we establish the duration of PaO product by product, by considering an infinite number of factors, and in particular by analysing the profile of the individual ingredients, studying the chemical-physical stability, and challenging the microbiological stability of the formula by means of a challenge test. You can find the PaO on the side or on the back of the packaging: it is that open jar with a number inside followed by the letter M indicating the months within which the product can be used from the opening date.

So, do all products that don’t have an expiry date have to have the PAO stated on the packaging?

In EU countries, the PaO is mandatory for cosmetics with a minimum duration of more than 30 months, but the legislation provides exceptions in cases where the information is deemed not relevant. This is what happens with single-dose products such as milk_shake® and simply zen vial lotions and with NO INHIBITION age renew revitalizing maintenance filler for hair, intended to be opened and used immediately in a single application, or with the hairsprays in milk_shake® lifestyling and NO INHIBITION styling lines, for which it is not possible to allow elements from the outside to get to the inside, as they are products under pressure.

There are non-cosmetic products, subject to different regulations and therefore not affected by the classifications indicated. This is the case, for example, of room fragrances, such as candles, diffusers and sprays from the simply zen sensorials line.

ARTICOLO 1120x960px5

Are expiry dates and the PAO sufficient to guarantee product safety?

They are concise, immediate and useful indications. The fact remains that, for all cosmetics lasting more than 30 months, it is not possible for the consumer to precisely define their age.

This is where our business choices come into play: we believe it is our responsibility to offer maximum safety and performance to hairdressers and to everyone who chooses us. This is why we adopt an ISO 9001: 2015 certified quality management system, which provides for a high turnover of products in our warehouses to avoid prolonged storing periods. We also encourage our distributors and hairdressers to do the same by asking to reduce stocks, respect storage instructions and not to exceed a shelf-life of 3 years.

This does not mean that all the products you find in your conceptTM salon are immortal, but they are certainly young, arrived recently, and are carefully monitored at all stages of their life cycle.


  • products with a duration of no more than 30 months have an expiry date;
  • products with a duration of more than 30 months report the PaO which indicates the time within which they can be used from the date of opening;
  • we favour high product turnover, avoid prolonged storage periods and pass on these good practices to those who work with us to always guarantee fresh products of the highest quality.