Skincare is an essential part of our daily routine, and choosing the right products can make all the difference in maintaining healthy and glowing skin. However, it's not just about choosing the right products, but also knowing when to use them and how long they can be safely and effectively used.

In this article, we'll be discussing "the Ordinary" skincare brand (Available at Q-Depot with English Packaging) and crucial aspects of its products:

  • The Period After Opening (PAO)
  • The manufacturing date using the LOT number
  • Where to find the LOT number
  • What to do if it's not on the product packaging
  • General expiry and unopened shelf life  
  • Tips 

Before we move to the main part, you may also like to read these important blogs about "the Ordinary".

1. Top 10 "the Ordinary" products to sell in 2023. 

2. How to Find Top-Selling Brands by Yourself with Q-Analytics

3. Magic of "the Ordinary" Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density

Expiry After Opening | Period After Opening (PAO)

Have you ever noticed the symbol on skincare product packaging that looks like an open jar (as shown in the image below) with a number and the letter "M" inside it? That's the PAO symbol, which stands for "Period After Opening." It tells you how long the product can be safely and effectively used after it has been opened. The recommended period of use is usually expressed as a number followed by "M," such as "6M" or "12M." It's really important to follow the PAO guidelines and discard skincare products after the recommended period of use because using expired products can be ineffective or even harmful to your skin.

How to Check The Date Using Lot Number

The Ordinary now uses a digit and letter combination for LOT numbers on their products.

  1. The first digit represents the year of production.
  2. The second letter refers to the month of production.
  3. The third digit refers to the date of production.

Here's how to check the manufacturing date of The Ordinary products using the lot number:

Look for the lot number on the product packaging or on the product for example, if the lot number is 3A46 Use the following chart to determine the year, month, and date of production:

0 = 2020
A = January1 = 1st 
1 = 2021
B = February2 = 2nd
2 = 2022
C = March3 = 3rd
3 = 2023
D = April4 = 4th
4 = 2024
E = May5 = 5th

So, for lot number 3A46, the date of manufacturing is the 4th of January, 2023.

Where to Find The LOT Number

The lot number of a product of "The Ordinary" is typically printed by the distributor and can be on the bottom of the product's packaging as shown in a picture from our stock. It can also be on the product itself or anywhere. There is no specified location for that by the manufacturer. You may need to flip the product over and look closely to find the lot number, but it should be there somewhere. If you're still having trouble finding it, read on.

What if No LOT Number on the Product/Packaging

As I mentioned above, the LOT number is usually printed by the distributor. This does not really happen but If you still cannot find the LOT number on the packaging or product itself, it does not necessarily mean that the product is fake. What it might mean is that the distributor may have only it printed on the product carton box or on the pallet packaging as shown in images from our stock below.

PAO For Common Products

The Ordinary - Retinol & Retinoids (PAO)

Retinol 1% in Squalane3MGranactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane3M

The Ordinary - Peptides (PAO)

Multi-Peptide + HA Serum (formerly Buffet)12M Argireline Solution 10%12M
Matrixyl 10% + HA 12MBuffet + Copper Peptides 1% 6M

The Ordinary - Antioxidants (PAO)

Pycnogenol 5%6MEUK 134 0.1%6M
Resveratrol 3% & Ferulic Acid 3%6M

The Ordinary - Vitamin C (PAO)

Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%6MAscorbic Acid 8% & Alpha Arbutin 2%6M
Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Sphere 2%
Ethylated Ascorbic Acid 15% Solution 12M

The Ordinary - More Molecules (PAO)

100% Niacinamide Powder Expiry date on the boxAlpha Arbutin 2% + HA12M
Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG 12M

The Ordinary - Hair Serum, Cleanser, Concealer, Foundation, Primers (PAO)

Squalane Cleanser6MHigh-Adherence Silicone Primer12M
Multi-Peptide Serum For Hair Density12MCoverage Foundation12M
Serum Foundation12M

The Ordinary - Acids (PAO)

Lactic Acid 10% + HA12MLactic Acid 5% + HA12M
AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution12M
Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%12M
Mandelic Acid 10% + HA  12M
Salicyclic Acid 2% Masque 6M
Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution 12M

The Ordinary - Oils & Hydrators (PAO)

100 Organic Virgin / 100% Plant Derived / 100% Organic Cold Pressed

Chia Seed Oil6M

Sea-Buckthorn Fruit Oil


"B" Oil

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B512M
Plant-Derived Squalane6M
Marine Hyaluronic12M
Hemi Squalane6M

Natural Moisturising Factors + HA

Borage Seed Oil6M

Amino Acids + B5

Rose Hip Seed Oil6M

General Expiry | Unopened Shelf Life

"Unopened shelf life" refers to the amount of time a skincare product can remain safe and effective while it is still sealed and has not yet been opened. According to the DECIM, if you do not open a product and store it, The Ordinary’s products will expire within 3 Years of the manufacturing date. This time period can vary depending on the formulation of the product, packaging, and where and how you store it. Generally, unopened skincare products can last up to 3 years. However, it's important to always check the expiration date before using any skincare product, even if it hasn't been opened yet, as the product's effectiveness and safety can decrease over time. Proper storage of unopened products in a cool, dry place away from sunlight can also help to maintain their effectiveness and extend their shelf life.

Life-Saving Tips

Keep a skincare journal

Create a journal or spreadsheet where you can log the name of the product, the date you opened it, the PAO, and any other important information. This can be especially helpful if you use a lot of different skincare products.

Label the product with the date of opening

When you open a new skincare product, write the date on the packaging with a permanent marker. This will help you keep track of how long you've had the product and when you need to discard it.

Use products consistently

If you use a product consistently, you're more likely to remember when you opened it and when it's time to throw it away. Try to establish a routine and stick to it.

Store products properly

Proper storage can help extend the life of your skincare products. Store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, and avoid leaving them in hot, humid environments like the bathroom.

Set reminders

If you're prone to forgetting things, set a reminder on your phone or calendar to check the PAO of your skincare products every few months. This will help ensure that you're using them safely and effectively. Write on the bottle or box the date you opened the product.

Why Q-depot

Why should you buy from us, you ask? Simply because we are the best! Here, take a look.

✅ Vast selection of “the Ordinary” products (English Packaging)
✅ Top rated on Google and Trust Pilot  
✅ Ready stock (various items)
✅ 300+ Korean brands
✅ Best prices
✅ 200+ Japanese brands
✅ Fast and reliable shipping
✅ 30,000+ products
✅ Customs handling
✅ 55,000+ customers
✅ Excellent customer service
✅ 9+ years of experience

If you're in the market for “the Ordinary” at wholesale prices, Q-Depot is the perfect choice for you. We supply a vast selection of the Ordinary products at the best prices with fast and reliable shipping throughout the globe. We also have ready stock for some products whereas some are shipped directly from Canada. We are also going to bring CeraVe by L'Oreal for wholesale very soon. Also, we are a leading Korean cosmetics wholesaler and offer a vast selection of top-quality Korean skincare and beauty products from popular brands such as COSRXMissha, Etude (House), Laneige, and more. We are committed to providing our clients with the best possible service, offering fast and reliable shipping, competitive prices, and excellent customer support. With years of experience in the industry, Q-Depot has built a reputation for delivering top-notch products and services that meet the needs of customers worldwide. So if you're looking for a reliable and trusted Korean cosmetics wholesaler, look no further than Q-Depot.

If you want to know more about "the Ordinary", post a question down below and we will be more than happy to help you.