Food labeling is about as clear as mud when it comes to expiration and best-by dates. But when the labels is on our beauty products, it gets even more murkier.

You may have noticed that there is rarely an expiration date or freshness date on beauty products. All we get is a little can with a number next to it.


But what does that mean exactly? A good guess is that your skin or hair will fall off if you use the product for 12 months after you open it. Or after it was made.

Or, that it won’t work so well by 12 months after you open it? Or after it was made.

So not sure about this…

Lucky for us, we have learned the answer…from a MEME. It asks the question: How old were you when you found out that this means how long you have to use that product from the date you break the seal before it’s not longer considered “a good product”?

The photo shows exactly what I’m talking about here. The cans with the numbers next to them are circled.

Posted by My Gedagtes on Tuesday, May 28, 2019

For those of you saying, “duh,” that’s great. But the rest of the world appears to be just learning this – or at least that’s what the commenters are saying.

Photo Credit: Facebook

If you only found out today, you definitely are not alone.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, there are no legal obligations to use expiration or freshness dates on beauty products. But they say it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to determine the safe shelf life of their products.

Shelf life refers to how long a product looks and works safely after the date of manufacture. Personal care products all have varying shelf lives after they have been opened. So, yes, the little can indicates the amount of time it should be used after it’s been opened by the consumer.

But it’s up to the consumer to store and use the product carefully. Meaning, leaving the product open or using it during an infection can cause problems with bacteria earlier than what the label says. When in doubt, pitch it.

Mystery solved! One less thing to wake you in the middle of the night.