The Ordinary PAO & NIOD

  • Buffet 12M
  • Buffet + Copper Peptides 6M
  • Matrixyl 12M
  • Argireline 12M
The Ordinary PAO

The Ordinary PAO, Period After Opening, Expiry Date & Shelf Life

What is The Ordinary PAO?

The Ordinary PAO

PAO stands for “period after opening”. You will find the above symbol with 3m, 6m, 9m, 12m etc., somewhere on the product or box. This means that once you have opened your product, it should be used within 3 months, 6 months or 12 months. It’s worth writing the date you opened it on the box or bottle.

The Ordinary PAO (period after opening), expiry date & shelf life will vary from product to product.

The Ordinary PAO Period After Opening

The Ordinary & Deciem Products Expiry Dates

The majority of the Deciem products have PAO, but some of The Ordinary and other Deciem products have expiry dates.

  • The Ordinary Sun Cream
  • Niacinamide Powder
  • L-Ascorbic Acid Powder
  • NIOD CAIL Copper Amino Isolate Lipid
  • There may be some others

The Ordinary & NIOD PAO

Below are some of the products I currently own, and I have added the PAO for you to see. Please be aware that Deciem updates the formulas regularly, so your PAO may differ depending on when you purchased it.

I have an Ascorbyl Glucoside from over a year ago, and it says 12M. My latest one says 6M.

The Ordinary Peptides PAO Period After Opening

Argireline 12MBuffet + Copper Peptides6M

The Ordinary Acids PAO Period After Opening

Glycolic Acid 12MAHA 30% 12M
Lactic Acid 10%12MLactic Acid 5%12M
Mandelic Acid12MAzelaic Acid12M
Salicylic Acid Masque6M

The Oils & Hydrators PAO Period After Opening

Squalane Oil 6MNatural Moisturising Factors12M
Hemi Squalane6MHyaluronic Acid12M
Borage Seed Oil6MMarine Hyaluronics12M
Chia Seed Oil 6MAmino Acids12M
B Oil6MRose Hip Seed Oil 6M
Sea-Buckthorn Fruit Oil6M

The Ordinary Retinol & Retinoid PAO

Retinol 1% in Squalane3MGranactive Retinoid 2%3M

The Ordinary More Molecules PAO

Niacinamide 10%12MNiacinamide PowderExpiry date (side of box)
Alpha Arbutin12MCaffeine Solution 12M

The Ordinary Antioxidants PAO

EUK 1346MPycnogenol6M
Resveratrol & Ferulic Acid6M

The Ordinary Vitamin C PAO Period After Opening

Vitamin C 23% 6MEthylated Ascorbic Acid 15%12M
Ascorbyl Glucoside 6MAscorbic Acid & Alpha Arbutin6M

The Ordinary Cleanser, Concealer, Foundations, Hair Serum & Primers PAO

Multi-Peptide Hair Serum12MSerum Foundation12M
Squalane Cleanser6MCoverage Foundation12M
High-Adherence Silicone Primer12M

NIOD PAO Period After Opening


Does everyone stick to the PAO?

I asked this question on Instagram Stories and here are the results! 65% of people do not stick to the period after opening.

What is the shelf life of The Ordinary & NIOD

Deciem say the shelf life of the brands (unopened) are as follows;

  • The Ordinary products – 3 years
  • NIOD is between 18 and 24 months

From personal experience, if you purchase Copper Peptides, I would advise you to use them as soon as possible as we have found they turn black rather than stay the gorgeous blue if you store them for too long.

How long does a bottle of The Ordinary last?

If you use a 30ml bottle at least once every day, then you´re probably looking around 3/4 months. But if you have numerous products on the go and only use them once or twice a week, you will probably find that you go over the PAO. When it comes to buying masks, particularly the NIOD masques, I recommend purchasing smaller-sized products where possible if you are only going to use them once or twice a week. I asked the Deciem Addicts on Instagram how long a bottle of The Ordinary lasted them, and here are all their answers.

Some Tips

  • Write on the bottle or box the date you opened the product.
  • Don’t have too many products open at once.
  • Retinol & Retinoids now need to be kept in the fridge and have a PAO of 3 months.
  • Wipe the neck of the bottles after using them. Some products can get quite gloopy, particularly the oils and the caffeine solution.
  • The smaller sizes of NIOD work out more expensive, but I think are better to purchase as you are more likely to use it all up in time.
  • Don´t stock up on Copper Peptide products just because they’re cheap! We have found they don´t stay the gorgeous blue if stored too long.