What are the date of minimum durability and PaO

2020-09-24T10:41:22+02:00 September 24th, 2020|Pratical tips, Regulations|0 Comments

Minimum durability and PaO are mandatory indications that must be affixed to cosmetic products according to Regulation (EC) no. 1223/2009. Let’s see together when one or the other applies, the differences and possible exceptions.

What are the date of minimum durability and PaO

According to the European Regulation, the date of minimum durability is the date until which the cosmetic product, stored under appropriate conditions, will continue to fulfil its initial function. This date can be presented by the symbol of hourglass or expressed as «Use preferably by:».

Symbol of date of minimum durability: 

For products with a minimum duration of more than 30 months, however, an indication must be given relating to the period of time in which the product, once opened, can be used without any harm to the consumer, which is the PaO (Period after opening). Graphically PaO can be expressed in PAO symbol of an open pot with inside the numbers followed by the letter M (months). The numbers indicate how many months the product is still safe to use after it has been opened. It is also possible to indicate the number of months preceded by the acronym “PaO”.

PaO symbol:


The responsibility for determining the minimum duration lies with the Responsible Person who places the product on the market. Generally this data is established by the manufacturer during the development of the cosmetic product.

For a product with a minimum duration less than 30 months it is mandatory to put the expiry date on the package. Instead, the PaO is mandatory for cosmetic products whose expiration date is greater than 30 months, or for those cosmetics for which the indication of the expiration date is not mandatory.

There are some categories of product are subject to possible exceptions, such as: single-dose products, products packaged in such a way as to avoid contact between the cosmetic and the surrounding environment (e.g. aerosol) and products for which the manufacturer certifies that the formula is such as to prevent any risk of deterioration.


At the moment there are no standardized and officially recognized methods for determining the PaO for all cosmetic products: It necessary to evaluate case-by-case and takes into account various factors such as the type of formulation, packaging material, destination and intended use, as well as the chemical-physical and microbiological stability of the formulation and its possible interaction with the packaging material.

Contact us for a specific evaluation and find the best method for your product.

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