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The Ordinary PAO & NIOD

Updated March 2024 – The Ordinary PAO Period After Opening

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

The Ordinary PAO Period After Opening & NIOD PAO – To ensure your skincare is at its best, it´s good to pay attention to the PAO, expiration date and shelf-life. PAO is the period after opening. Once you have opened your product, use it within the number of months mentioned on the packaging. You will see the sign below or something similar somewhere on your product.

Your Quick 30-Second Guide To PAO

The Ordinary PAO Period after opening
  • You will see 3M, 6M or 12M on the box and bottle. This means that once opened, you can use your products within that number of months.
  • Write the date you opened your products on your bottle.
  • Retinol/Retinoids have a PAO of 3 months and should be kept in the fridge.
  • Retinal has a PAO of 6 months (no need to be refrigerated).
  • Oils & Vitamin Cs have a PAO of 6 months.
  • Antioxidants 6 months.
  • Acids between 6 months and 12 months.
  • Peptides 12 months. Copper Peptides 6 months.
  • Eye products 6 months.
  • Cleansers & Haircare between 6 and 12 months.
  • The Ordinary says the shelf life of products unopened is up to 3 years.
  • NIOD says the shelf life for unopened products is 18 months to 2 years.

What is The Ordinary PAO?

PAO stands for “Period After Opening“. You will find this little symbol somewhere on your box and product with 3M, 6M, 9M, 12M etc. 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 when you open it on the box or bottle.

The Ordinary PAO Period after opening

The Ordinary PAO (period after opening), expiry date & shelf life will vary from product to product. Some will say 3M, 12M, and some with actual expiry dates.

The Ordinary PAO Period After Opening

The Ordinary & NIOD Products Expiry Dates

The majority of The Ordinary & NIOD products have PAO, but some of The Ordinary and NIOD products have expiry dates.

These NIOD & Ordinary products have expiry dates.

  • The Ordinary Sun Creams
  • Niacinamide Powder
  • L-Ascorbic Acid Powder
  • NIOD CAIL Copper Amino Isolate Lipid

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 The Ordinary & NIOD update 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 but my latest Ascorbyl Glucoside says 6M.

The Ordinary Peptides PAO

Multi-Peptide Serum + HA
12 Months PAO
Multi-Peptide Eye Serum
Multi-Peptide Serum + Copper Peptides
6 Months PAO

The Ordinary Acids

Glycolic Acid
AHA 30%
Lactic Acid 10%
Lactic Acid 5%
Mandelic Acid
Azelaic Acid
Salicylic Acid 2%
12 Months PAO
Salicylic Acid Anhydrous
Salicylic Acid Masque
6 Months PAO
Build A Regimen

The Ordinary Oils & Hydrators PAO

NMF + PhytoCeramides
NMF + Beta Glucan
Hyaluronic Acid
Marine Hyaluronics
Amino Acids
12 Months PAO
Squalane Oil 
Rose Hip Seed Oil
B Oil
Argan Oil
Marula Oil
6 Months PAO

The Ordinary Retinol, Retinoid & Retinal

These should be refrigerated, so think before you buy any of these! Will you go to the fridge, put the product on and then put it back in the fridge?

Retinal 0.2% Emulsion6 Month PAO
Retinol 1% in Squalane
Retinol 0.2% in Squalane
Retinol 0.5% in Squalane
Granactive Retinoid 2%
Retinoid 5% in Squalane
3 Months PAO

The Ordinary More Molecules PAO

Aloe 2% + NAG 2%
Niacinamide 10%
Alpha Arbutin
Caffeine Solution
12 Months PAO
Niacinamide PowderExpiry Date

The Ordinary Antioxidants PAO

EUK 134
Resveratrol & Ferulic Acid
6 Months PAO

The Ordinary Vitamin C PAO

Vitamin C 23%
Ascorbyl Glucoside
Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution
Ethylated Ascorbic Acid 15% Solution
100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder
6 Months PAO

The Ordinary PAO Period After Opening

Cleansers, Hair Care & Primers

Multi-Peptide Lash Serum6M
Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density
Natural Moisturizing Factors for Scalp
The Ordinary Shampoo
The Ordinary Conditioner
12 Months PAO
Squalane Cleanser6 Month PAO
Glucoside Cleanser
Glycolipid Cleanser
Silicone Primer
High-Spreadability Primer
12 Months PAO

NIOD PAO Period After Opening

All NIOD products say 6M, so they should be used within 6 months of opening. I find some of the masques do go a bit crusty once they pass the 6 month period.

NIOD CAILExpiry Date

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 unopened?

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

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

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

Build A Skincare Regimen

Some Tips – The Ordinary PAO

  • Write the date you opened the product on the bottle or box.
  • Don’t have too many products open at once.
  • Retinol and retinoids must be kept in the fridge and have a PAO of 3 months. The new Retinal 0.2% in a pump doesn´t need to be kept in the fridge and has a 6-month period after opening.
  • Wipe the neck of the bottles after using them. Some products, particularly the oils and the caffeine solution, can get quite gloopy.
  • NIOD Masques – I would advise buying the smaller sizes to be sure you use them in time.
  • Don´t stock up on Copper Peptide products just because they’re on sale! We have found they don´t stay the gorgeous blue if stored 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 at 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 buying masks, particularly the NIOD masques, I recommend purchasing smaller-sized products where possible if you only 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.

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