Beauty & Skincare

Korean Cosmetics Expiration Dates – All You Need To Know About

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When it comes to expiration dates of Korean cosmetics, including skincare and beauty products, you are most likely reading it wrong! Let us make it simple for you and help you get it right!

Most of us have some or the other time received a Korean product and had a major panic session after seeing the date on the bottom of the product, believing we’ve got an expired product. Don’t worry – you’re not the only one experiencing this. It is easy to forget how things are different in different cultures. And sometimes, a lot of it can get lost in translation. Let’s dive into how expiration dates work in Korean skincare and beauty products.

Korean Product’s Expiration Dates

Essentially, Korean cosmetics have three words that are related to product expiration dates – 제조, 까지, and 사용기한.

Product FamilyProduct TypeShelf Life
Basic CosmeticsSkin, lotion, cream, essence, eye cream, sun creamBefore opening: 30 months
After opening: 12 months
CleansingCleansing foam, cleansing cream, cleansing oil, tissueBefore opening: 30 months
After opening: 12 months
Color CosmeticsLipstick, lip glossBefore opening: 30 months
After opening: 6-18 months
Mascara, eye linerBefore opening: 24 months
After opening: 6 months
Eye shadow, blush, concealer, base, foundationBefore opening: 36 months
After opening: 12 months
Color CosmeticsPowder pactBefore opening: 60 months
After opening: 36 months
PackSheet pack (sheet mask)Before opening: 12 months
After opening: Immediately after use

제조

This Hangeul character is the one responsible for causing most confusion!

제조 refers to manufacturing date instead of expiration date.

So, if you get a product with this date – 2024.05.20 제조 – and already the month of May 2024 is ending. No need to panic! It just reflects the date on which it was manufactured.

Korean products usually carry manufacture date instead of expiration dates to ensure their consumers that they are getting a freshly packaged product.

All that is well and good, but how will you know when the products have expired? Well, usually, most skincare and beauty products have a shelf life of about 30 months. And they are good to use for about 10 to 12 months after opening the pack.

제조 is essentially helping you, the consumers, and the distributors to track when the product has become too old and it needs to be discarded.

This information is also depicted in another way in Korean cosmetics. There’s a tiny cap opening with a number inside it along with the letter ‘M’ in some products like Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum. It signifies the number of months you can use the product for after you open it for the first time. After that, it is considered expired.

So, if you have a product with this symbol, take a sticker or write it on the bottle itself the date that you’ve opened it. It will help you keep track of how long it can be used for.

까지

This is the most official indicator of expiration dates in Korean skincare and beauty products.

까지 essentially means ‘until’ in Korean language.

You will see this character on Korean products meaning you can use them ‘until’ that date.

So, next time you get a Korean product with 까지 symbol, you can easily know the expiration date in the YYYYMMDD format. For example a tag of 20240805까지 tells you that you can use the product until 5th August 2024.

사용기한

Some Korean products also have another symbol for expiration dates.

사용기한 is ultimately same as 까지 but it translates to ‘the deadline of use’ or basically expiration date.

You will find this one also on the bottom of the product like the other two.

Sometimes, this date and manufacturing date are both mentioned in some labels.

In conclusion

It can get pretty confusing when it comes to understanding Korean expiration dates because of language barriers. But, we hope that this guide will help you get a better idea of what these dates mean on your favorite Korean skincare and beauty products.

Do remember, the expiration dates are ultimately a suggestive indicator. There are many other factors that you must consider such as how you are storing the product, hygienic conditions of use, and so on. All these can impact expiration dates of cosmetic products. So, for ensuring the best and longest life for your faves, keep them in dark spaces – which means not your bathroom – and use the scoops to use and not dip in your fingers every time you use them!

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About Anyaa M

Anyaa is a versatile writer passionate about capturing the diverse facets of Korean lifestyle, beauty, fashion, tech, and everything in between. As a wordsmith, she possesses the unique ability to delve into the intricacies of the Korean lifestyle, sharing valuable insights and personal experiences that resonate with readers. Whether it's exploring the vibrant streets of Seoul, uncovering the latest beauty trends, curating fashion inspiration, or delving into the world of cutting-edge technology, readers are always captivated and informed.

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