Decode cosmetics manufacture date on iPhone

Have any of you come across this Cosmetics Tester By KomSoft for iPhone? I was alerted to this application by agnieszka over the weekend. Apparently, this interesting application helps you to read manufacture date of your cosmetics and it is determined on the basis of the batch/lot code. Sounds pretty cool! I wrote about the secret batch codes of beauty products back in 2007 and while there are some online tools to help us decifer the codes, their database are not up to date.

Why the need to read manufacture codes?
So why is it important to understand the manufacture codes? First, it is a good indicator of whether a product is fake and that is why each company has its own format for manufacture code which is pretty much tough to crack. Second, by knowing when the product was manufactured, you’ll be able to determine the expiry date more accurately. The open jar symbol indicating in months or years of how long the product will remain suitable for use once it has been opened is useless if the product has been on the shelf for a long time. Most products without a use-by date should be used within three years of leaving the factory.  If you keep them longer than that, they no longer work well and you will increase the risk of contamination, particularly because of the repeated microbial exposure during use. In fact, eye care products have even shorter shelf life and items like mascaras are recommended to be replaced 3 months after purchase.

Where are batch codes found?
Batch codes are usually  printed or embossed on the package, ink-stamped onto the container, printed on the label, embossed in the crimped end of tubes or printed at the bottom of the bottle.

Why are the manufacture codes so complicated?
A reason that I mentioned earlier is that manufacturers use the codes to prevent the issue of counterfeits. Unlike natural products which are required to indicate their use-by date, other products that can last longer than 30 months need not do so. So unless you’re using mostly natural products like me, otherwise, you’ll probably be interested to know the manufacture code just to have peace of mind.

Cosmetics Tester By KomSoft
I don’t have an iPhone and so I haven’t tried this application. But I found out that it cost US$2.99 and was just released on Apr 12, 2010. It’s in English and is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is available at the App Store. And since it’s on a mobile device, it means that you can use it to check the manufacturing date of products on the go, before making that purchase!

If you’ve tried the application, do leave a comment to let us know how user friendly this application is.

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  1. zhenling says:

    they spelt bobbi brown wrongly haha.

    i wonder if this app. provides info for asian brands as well

  2. sesame says:

    They probably thought Bobbi Brown is a man! And it did make me wonder if the creator doesn’t know cosmetics.

    I have the same question on the brands as well – wonder how comprehensive they are cos it doesn’t say how big is their database.

  3. Esther says:

    Wow this is indeed useful! I’m going to try it!

  4. AtelierGal says:

    +1 more reason to buy iPhone T.T

  5. Tine says:

    What an interesting idea and application! I don’t have an iPhone (although I do have an iPod Touch, but without a camera, this wouldn’t work).

    I wonder if this is available on Android as well. Time to Google! ?

  6. Crystal says:

    Wow! I really want an iphone then. I wish this can be tested online – I’d be willing to pay $2.95 for that piece of mind.

  7. kiwi says:

    IPHONE!!111 Not that I have $$ to buy an iphone and not to mention all the applications. But I think this software is really useful for those who are conscientious about finding out expiry/manufacturing dates.

    But you said that they have batch codes to prevent counterfeiting right? I don’t think it works though. How many people will go online to check (wherever it is available) that the batch number is correct. I think there might be another reason – somewhere along the lines of not being transparent enough?

  8. sesame says:

    You could be right about the transparency. As for counterfeits, my guess is, it’s more a deterrent to the copycats or in times when the fake products create problems for the customers and the customers try to make claims from the companies not knowing the products are fake.

  9. sesame says:

    If you click through my old article, there are some links to sites like Cosmetics Wizard which collection some database. But it’s pretty limited.

  10. sesame says:

    So it needs a camera to work…

  11. sesame says:

    I’m not so keen on iPhone though…don’t mind if I get it free of course…haha…

  12. sesame says:

    Do give some feedback if it’s useful to you.

  13. chenyze says:

    i just checked – nope not on Android Market!

  14. niki says:

    It doesn’t need a camera to work. You just type your batch code in your iphone or ipod and choose the brand ? and you get answer: date (and possibly warnign if product is more then 3 years) or info that code has incorrect format

  15. sesame says:

    Ah…I see. Thanks for the info! I don’t have an iphone and have no idea.

  16. jing yi says:

    how does this application work?
    everytime you used it u pay $2.99 ? or its forever ?

  17. sesame says:

    It is one-time but I am not sure if you need to pay for updates.

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