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Do Korean Face Masks Expire?

Jason Park
Published by: Chung-Ae
Last updated:

Yes, like all face masks manufactured in any country, Korean ones do expire. As a matter of fact, all beauty products have expiration dates. Generally, it can take about one to two years once opened. But this will depend on several factors like active ingredients.

You have a great face mask or other skincare product from Korea. But you’ve had it for quite some time, and it might have already expired.

You paid a lot of money for it, so you’re finding it difficult to let it go. Since it provided such great beauty results, you’re not ready to toss it away just yet.

How Do You Determine the Expiration Dates?

Most face mask companies will include a date on the bottom or back of the container. The PAO or “Period After Opening” will also have a number next to an “M.” This number indicates how many months of use you have after opening it. So if you see PAO 18M, this means you have 18 months to use the mask.

Clay: Hydrating Beauty Masks

Clay masks can dry out, and hydrating masks can contain unstable ingredients. Both types of masks expire sooner than others. Unstable and organic ingredients can degrade over time and can become less efficacious.

These take about two to three years to expire, with some hydrating masks having expiration dates in as little as six months.

Ingredient Considerations

But, any mask with activated charcoal will take longer to expire than clay or hydrating ones. These types of masks expire in four to five years.

Even in this case, however, if you accidentally leave the container open for too long, it will cause the product to go bad quickly. Even if it’s only for a day, don’t expect it to stay very fresh.

What about Sheet Masks, Do They Go Bad?

Korean sheet masks have an expiration date too. Like other masks, there should be an indicator of the product’s shelf life on the package with a PAO.

What makes these different than ones produced in the US or France is that they indicate the manufacturing date rather than a guesstimated expiration. Some even give both an expiration and manufacturing date. Sheet masks last two to three years.

Unopened Packages

Even if the manufacture date was a while ago, you could still use a Korean sheet mask. However, this can only happen if the package remains unopened. You should only question using it when air has come into contact with the masks.

To check to see if your sheet masks are still good, do a patch test on your hand or forearm. Also, smell it and feel its texture. If anything seems off in any capacity, throw the sheet masks away.

How Can You Keep Korean Face Masks Fresher for Longer?

There are several things you can do to keep your masks, or any beauty products, fresh for a longer time period. First, don’t dip your fingers into the jar or container. Use a facial spatula or spoon.

Storing all masks in the fridge will keep them for longer and extend their shelf life. Also, keep all masks away from heat and direct sunlight or freezing temperatures. Ensure you close all containers tightly.

Also, write the date you opened the mask on the jar or container. This will help you determine a more accurate expiration for you to understand whether you should keep using it or throw it away.

Should You Use a Korean Face Mask Past its Expiration Date?

Generally, using expired Korean face masks or any skincare products is not a good idea. Now, that said, although all skin care products do have a limited shelf life, some will still be okay to use for a short time.

However, others will cause skin irritations, purging, rashes, breakouts, and infections from bacteria and microbial contamination.

Checking Expired Products

To determine an expired beauty product, it’s going to come down to the mask and what the constituents are. The best way to tell is first by smell. If there’s a funny odor that wasn’t there before or the smell changes entirely, throw it away. But, if it smells okay, you might be able to continue using it.

However, if there’s discoloration, fuzzy growth, separation, clumping, or any kind of texture change, don’t use it and throw it out.

Are Expired Face Masks Still Effective?

As a routine matter, of course, expired face masks are not effective once they’ve reached their maximum shelf life. However, this will depend on what the mask comprises, its active ingredients, organic compounds, and when you opened the product.

If you’ve stored a mask in a proper way and haven’t opened the container or package, it will generally still be good to use even if its creation was a long time ago.

What about the Shelf Life Other Korean Products?

Just like with all variations of Korean face masks, other skincare products like toners, exfoliators, cleansers, and moisturizers all have an expiration date. Unfortunately, not all companies will indicate an expiration or a manufacturing date.

This is why it’s best to label your products with the date you opened them. Believe it or not, your opening of the product is more important than what the manufacturer can provide for expiration or manufacturing dates. Refer to the PAO as well.

The method for checking to see if they’re good to use is the same as well. If there’s any nasty odor emitting from the product or there’s a change in the product’s appearance, throw it away and avoid using it at all costs. But this will depend on the product, what the ingredients are, how well you store it, and when you opened it.


Because toners come in a wide array of ingredients, their expiration times will vary. If you know the toner is only witch hazel and some essential oil, your toner should last for more than three years. But, if it’s a special formulation, always refer to the smell, feel and patch tests before you decide to use it.


Like toners, exfoliators come in a host of forms and various constituents. In general, anything that has activated charcoal will last much longer past the expiration date than others. This will be true for things like fruit juices or ground fruit stones (i.e., peach or apricot pits). Plus, where you store the exfoliator will make all the difference.

It’s important to note that not all exfoliators should go into the fridge. This is because the cold temperatures will cause the components to change. Once the chemistry alters dramatically, the product expires.


The good thing about many cleansers is that most won’t expire for three to four years. Since we use cleansers more often than masks, we’ll end up using them faster and within their general shelf life.

But, if it’s really expensive and luxurious, you may only use it on a sparing basis. In this case, it’s important to check the product before using it if you have any questions about how good it is. This will be especially true if you’ve opened it once or twice and it’s sat there for many months.


Of all Korean skincare products, moisturizer is the one thing you should be meticulous about in monitoring the expiration date. These are often made of water and, even though there are preservatives, begin to break down after 30 months. 

Although water is the best and most hydrating aspect of moisturizer, it’s what breaks down all the other good stuff mixed within it.


Regardless of what kind of Korean beauty products you have, they will generally expire at some point in time. But this is going to be more about when you opened the container rather than the manufacturing or expiration date.

This is why it’s imperative that you locate the product’s PAO indication, if available, and then write down the date you opened it.

Also, keeping things like face masks stored the right way along with using tools like spoons and spatulas will prolong their shelf life. When in doubt, smell it for anything funky, then see how it looks and feels. If anything appears amiss, just throw it away. You run a great risk of having a horrible interaction that you will regret later on.

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    About The Author

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    Hi, I'm Chung-Ae. I love Korean skincare products and Kpop! My favorite Korean beauty brands are Innisfree and Etude House because they offer a lot of affordable products with good quality ingredients.

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