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Mascara is THE product that can be used on its own for a light look and is also essential to complete a fully glammed eye!
Have you found the mascara that makes your lashes curl up to the brow and thick as a bush? Great! Have you been using it for months or years? Not so great!
Have you ever wondered: “Does mascara expire?”
Expiration dates are just as important for cosmetics as they are with food and medicine, especially when it comes to a product applied so close to a sensitive area of our face!
In this article, we will uncover everything you need to know about mascara expiration dates and how long your favorite product will last.
Does Mascara Expire?
Let’s answer this burning question: does mascara expire? Just like all other makeup products, mascara DOES expire.
According to Mayo Clinic, opened mascara that is used frequently should be thrown away after three months of use. This is because the product contains oils, waxes, and water which can become breeding grounds for bacteria if exposed to air or moisture.
One study has found that there was contamination with bacteria or fungi in the majority of mascaras tested. Mascara samples past their expiration date had higher levels of contamination than non-expired samples.
Additionally, volunteers who reported using makeup past its expiration date had higher levels of bacterial contamination on their faces than those who reported using non-expired makeup.
Does Unopened Mascara Expire?
Mascara can make eyes look bigger, brighter, and bolder in just a few strokes. Therefore, throwing away an old but unopened tube can be painful. So, you might be wondering: does unopened mascara expire?
The short answer is yes, unopened mascara does expire. All cosmetics have expiration dates for a reason and should not be used once they are past the manufacturer’s suggested “use by” date.
To ensure that your unopened tube of mascara still has its full potency (and isn’t harboring any potentially harmful bacteria), always check for its expiration date. You will usually find it printed on either the side or bottom of the package.
If it reads far into the future, then you’re good! If you cannot find one, however, store-bought brands usually come with a two-year guarantee, meaning they should be safe up until then, at least.
Most unopened mascara products have a shelf life of 2-3 years from the date of manufacture. Some mascaras last longer than others due to their formulation and packaging materials. On the other side, water-resistant formulas tend to break down sooner than non-waterproof ones.
Err on the side of caution and try not to buy anything older than two years, as it could start breaking down sooner than later, causing problems for your delicate eyes!
How To Tell If Your Mascara Has Expired?
An expired mascara will not always show evident signs of going bad. However, some red flags guarantee your old tube is ready for replacement. Here’s how to tell if your mascara has expired:
Changes In Texture Or Consistency
If your mascara appears too thick or clumpy, coming out in chunks and making your lashes stick together, maybe it is time to let go. The same goes if the texture feels grainy or dry – this could also indicate that the product has gone bad.
Changes In Color
If you notice changes in the product’s color, you should suspect it has gone past its due date. Classic black mascara should always have a deep black hue. However, over time it may start appearing greyish or discolored, which means you should throw that wand away!
Changes In Smell
If you do a sniff test and pinpoint an unpleasant odor coming off the product when you open the cap, this is your sign to stop using it! An unpleasant smell can indicate bacterial growth and further use is unsanitary. Also, unfortunately, no amount of cleaning will help mask such odor!
Changes In The Formula
Certain mascaras contain special ingredients like lash-building fibers, which may require pumping the brush before application. It’s important to observe how easily these fibers move around each time you use the mascara.
If fibers are frequently clumping together and refuse to separate, this may indicate that your mascara has expired and should be replaced soon.
Can You Use Expired Mascara?
I bet that you already own mascara past its expiration date. What now? Do you discard your favorite wand, or can you use expired mascara?
Generally, mascara should not be used after its expiration date (or three months after opening), as its ingredients may break down or become outdated. This means that bacteria can grow in the bottle, leading to eye infections and irritation.
Why Is It A Bad Idea To Use An Expired Mascara?
Expired Mascara Is No Longer Safe
According to the University of Rochester, using expired mascara can cause conjunctivitis (pinkeye) and other eye infections, as well as irritation around the eyes due to the chemicals used in its formulation.
“In rare cases, women have been temporarily or permanently blinded by an eye cosmetic, according to the FDA.”
Expired Mascara Is No Longer Effective
It’s not just about hygiene, either. Expired mascara often contains dry ingredients that are difficult to apply on lashes without clumping or flaking off easily. This compromises their ability to add length and volume.
However, if you store your mascara properly, you might be able to prolong its life to six months if you suspect that your mascara bears signs of expiration, you should throw it away even before that three-to-six-month window.
If you have an old tube of mascara lying around that does not have an expiration date printed on it but appears discolored or clumpy (signs of age), discard it immediately!
What Is The Shelf Life Of Mascara
The shelf life of mascara depends on several factors, such as the formulation and frequency of application. But generally, mascaras have a shelf life of two to three years.
According to FDA, it does not “require cosmetics to have specific shelf lives or have expiration dates on their labels.” It is up to the manufacturers to label an expiration date, and some don’t.
Therefore, searching for an expiration date on the packaging of your mascara might prove fruitless. It is important to write down the manufacturing date, which will be marked, and count about two years from then.
Of course, if you don’t preserve your mascara in optimal conditions (more on that later), it will likely go bad much sooner.
What Can Affect The Shelf Life Of Mascara?
Several factors can affect the shelf life of mascara, such as:
- Frequency of use
- Storage conditions
Frequency Of Use
Using mascara frequently is one of the main contributors to reducing its shelf life. If you use your mascara every day, even if it’s just a few strokes here or there, you may need to replace it more quickly than someone who uses their mascara only once a week.
This is because each time you open your mascara tube, air enters, allowing bacteria and other dirt particles to contaminate the product.
Another factor that affects the longevity of mascaras is their place of storage. Whether you keep your mascara in bathroom cabinets or makeup bags, leaving it exposed to direct sunlight or heat sources can shorten its lifespan.
Mascaras are highly temperature-sensitive products and tend to dry out faster when exposed to high temperatures and humid conditions. These conditions also promote bacterial growth, contributing to expiration.
How to Properly Store Mascara For A Longer Shelf Life
I bet you hate the idea of throwing away your favorite mascara before you have to. However, if it isn’t stored properly, it will check itself out before its expiration date. Knowing how to store your mascara correctly is the key to getting the most out of it.
Are you wondering how to properly store mascara? Here are some useful tips for prolonging your loving relationship:
Keep Mascara Away From Heat Sources
To store your mascara properly, you should keep it away from direct sunlight or heat sources, such as lamps and radiators. Heat can speed up the degradation of the formula, making it less effective and potentially dangerous for the sensitive skin around your eyes.
Avoid Storing Mascara In Humid Environments
Avoid placing your product in humid areas, like bathrooms. The moist environment can also speed up degradation rates tremendously. Instead, keep your mascara somewhere dry and cool, like inside a dresser drawer or cupboard shelf.
Seal That Cap!
Ensure that all caps are tightly sealed between uses. This will minimize air contact, which promotes bacteria growth inside the tube and reduces product effectiveness over time.
Use The Right Container For Your Mascara
Storing your mascara tubes properly in an airtight container will help prolong their shelf life. Make sure to place the tubes upright to prevent spillage.
Keep The Product Clean
After application, clean off any excess product on the applicator bristles by wiping them gently against tissue paper. This helps contain bacteria build-up in the tube and keeps the contents in better shape during periods of non-use.
You should also wash makeup brushes regularly with mild soap and warm water. This can help prevent unwanted germs from transferring and multiplying in your product!
Try not to share your mascaras with others since there is a risk of transferring germs from one person’s eyes onto another’s, even if using clean applicators each time!
Does Mascara Expire? A Conclusion
Mascara is a staple piece in most makeup routines. It is also a product that comes in intimate contact with a very sensitive part of our face. Therefore, it is essential to pay attention to the mascara’s expiration date.
Mascara DOES expire and can become a breeding ground for bacteria due to its composition. Opened mascara should be thrown away after three months of use, while unopened mascara can last up to two years.
Signs of expired mascara include changes in texture or consistency, color, smell, and formula. Using expired mascara can lead to potentially serious eye infections and irritation.
Therefore, it is crucial to get rid of old and expired mascara. Better safe than sorry!
Frequently Asked Questions