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Beauty Basics: Replacing Your Mascara

Did you know that your mascara is the perfect environment for growing bacteria? The humidity and darkness within the mascara tube offer optimal conditions for breeding bacteria, such as Staphylococcus epidermidis, Streptococcus species and fungi.

Bacteria bring infections and when it comes to mascara, your eyes are the main victims. So, next time you’re doing your makeup, stop and take a look at your mascara: it might be already expired.

But do mascaras have an expiry date? Well, if we’re talking actual numbers written on the products, then no. But we can easily work it out by ourselves. Here’s how you know it’s time to be replacing your mascara.

  • 3 Months as a general rule

Any expert will tell you to replace your mascara as often as your toothbrush: every 3 months. This should be a safe timeline to keep in mind once you’ve opened the mascara tube for the first time. 3 months from that day, and you should chuck the mascara away (it even rhymes!).

However, there are a few guidelines — things to take into consideration and keep an eye on every time you use your mascara so that you can notice if it has expired before the 3 months deadline.

  • Odour

One little tip is to smell your mascara the very first time you use it. Learning to recognise what the product should smell like will help you notice when it goes off. A bad smell is one of the first things you’re going to notice if it’s time to throw away any makeup.

  • Dryness and Flakiness

Of course, if your mascara starts to perform badly, the day has come to replace it. Because of the air entering the tube every time you apply the product, the liquid will get drier and drier as you use it, and the mascara will soon not be as good as it once was.

If you notice unusual flakiness when applying the mascara, it also means you need a new one. There is no way to redeem a dying mascara, so it’s much better to accept its fate and throw it out — chances are it’s passed the 3 months mark anyway.

  • How to avoid premature departure

If you’ve noticed your mascaras do not even last the 3 months, chances are there’s something you’re doing wrong.

Although most of us apply their makeup in the bathroom, storing it in the same room is strongly discouraged. The bathroom is just another damp, humid place where bacteria’s growth is frolicking. Instead, try to keep your makeup in a fresh, dry environment like a linen cabinet.

Another trick to make sure your mascara lasts longer is not letting air in when taking the product out. Instead of pumping the wands, which causes the air to get trapped inside the tube, twist it and scrape the interior, picking up the product with the brush.

  • How to stop spreading bacteria

Honestly, bacteria growth is unavoidable — it’s everywhere and it cannot be stopped. What you can do about it, however, is stopping unnecessary infections. It is a universal rule that makeup should never be shared among people, but again, special care must be taken when it comes to eye makeup.

Keep your eye makeup clean: wash your brushes as often as possible and don’t pass it around. Don’t share your liquid eyeliner or mascara, as you don’t know if other people are carrying infections or other harmful bacteria.

Throw away any eye product if you’ve developed an infection. We know makeup can be expensive, but your health is much more important. Once the infection has come in contact with a product, there is no way to get rid of it completely without throwing away anything that has touched it.


If you have any suggestions for topics you want us to cover, email us and we’ll be happy to talk about it next time!