mascara expiration and detection

How Long Does Mascara Last? How To Tell if It's Expired 

Are you curious about how long your mascara will last before it expires? Well, here's an interesting statistic for you: mascara typically lasts between 3 to 6 months after opening.

That's right, after a few months, it's time to say goodbye to that tube of mascara. But why is it so important to replace it?

Using expired mascara can lead to irritation, infection, and less than satisfactory results. In this article, we'll explore the signs of expired mascara and why it's crucial to replace it for your safety and the quality of your makeup.

Key Takeaways

  • Mascara typically lasts 3 to 6 months after opening, as indicated by the Period after Opening (PAO) symbol.
  • Signs of expired mascara include a bad odor, clumping or dry texture, and redness or irritation after application.
  • Using expired mascara can lead to irritation and infection and may not provide satisfactory results.
  • Factors such as oily eyelids, heat, humidity, and lack of eyelash prep can affect the longevity of mascara on eyelashes.

The Lifespan of Mascara: Understanding Expiration Dates

To understand the lifespan of mascara, you need to familiarize yourself with expiration dates and the Period after Opening (PAO) symbol. Proper storage is essential for prolonging the lifespan of mascara. Keep it in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Avoid pumping the wand in and out of the tube, as this can introduce air and bacteria.

As for the shelf life of different types of mascara, the formula does affect how long it lasts. Waterproof and sweatproof mascaras tend to have a longer lifespan compared to regular mascaras. However, regardless of the formula, mascara should be replaced after 3 to 6 months of use, as it becomes prone to bacterial growth.

Signs of Expired Mascara: How to Spot a Bad Tube

Check for these three signs to determine if your mascara tube has expired and is no longer safe to use:

  1. Clumping and Dry Texture: If your mascara has become thick, clumpy, or dry, it's a clear sign that it has expired. Expired mascara can make your lashes look clumpy and may not provide the desired volume or length.
  2. Bad Odor: Mascara shouldn't have a strong, unpleasant smell. If you notice a foul odor when you open your mascara tube, it's a sign that it has gone bad and should be discarded.
  3. Irritation or Redness: Using expired mascara can lead to redness, irritation, and even eye infections. If you experience any discomfort or notice redness after applying mascara, it's a warning sign that the product has expired and should no longer be used.

To ensure the longevity of your mascara and prevent it from expiring prematurely, store it properly in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and heat. It's also important to avoid common mistakes when using mascara, such as pumping the wand in and out of the tube, which introduces air and can lead to drying out the product faster.

Usage Frequency and Mascara Longevity: How Often Should You Replace It

Applying mascara daily and using it frequently can contribute to its shortened longevity. To ensure that your mascara lasts as long as possible, it's important to store it properly.

Keep your mascara in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Heat can cause the formula to break down, leading to a shorter lifespan. Additionally, temperature fluctuations can cause the mascara to dry out or become clumpy.

It's best to avoid storing your mascara in the bathroom, as the humidity can also affect its quality. By storing your mascara properly and being mindful of the impact of temperature, you can extend its lifespan and get the most out of your favorite mascara.

Factors Affecting Mascara Longevity: What Impacts Its Wear Time

When it comes to the wear time of mascara, factors such as humidity and oily eyelids can impact how long it lasts on your lashes. Here are three factors that affect mascara longevity:

  1. Environmental influences: High humidity levels can cause mascara to smudge and transfer onto the skin, leading to a shorter wear time. On the other hand, dry environments can make mascara more prone to flaking and crumbling. It's important to consider the climate and choose a mascara that's appropriate for the conditions you'll be in.
  2. Oily eyelids: Excess oil from your eyelids can break down the formula of the mascara, causing it to smudge and lose its staying power. To combat this, make sure to properly cleanse your eyelids before applying mascara and consider using an oil-control makeup or primer to create a barrier between your eyelids and the mascara.
  3. Proper application techniques: The way you apply mascara can also affect its wear time. It's important to curl your lashes before applying mascara to help them hold the curl and prevent them from straightening out throughout the day. Additionally, applying a lash primer as a base coat can help the mascara adhere better to the lashes and prolong its wear time.

Tips for Prolonging Mascara Wear: How to Make It Last Longer

To make your mascara last longer throughout the day, try curling your lashes before applying it. This simple step helps to lift and shape your lashes, creating a better base for the mascara to adhere to.

Another tip for prolonging mascara wear is to apply a lash primer before mascara. This creates a smooth surface for the mascara to cling to, helping it to last longer without smudging or flaking.

Additionally, dusting translucent powder under the eyes can prevent the dreaded raccoon eyes caused by mascara smudging.

Remember to properly cleanse your face before applying mascara to remove any excess oils that can cause the mascara to break down.

Lastly, be sure to store your mascara properly by keeping it tightly closed and away from heat and humidity. Common mistakes with mascara application include pumping the wand in and out of the tube, which introduces air and causes the mascara to dry out faster. Instead, swirl the wand inside the tube to pick up product.

Another mistake is applying too many coats, which can lead to clumping and flaking. It's best to apply two to three coats, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Safe to Use Expired Mascara on Occasion if It Still Looks and Smells Fine?

Using expired mascara, even if it looks and smells fine, is not safe. It can cause irritation, infection, and unsatisfactory results. Properly storing mascara and replacing it every 3 to 6 months minimizes risks.

Can I Use Expired Mascara on My Lower Lashes if I Only Use It on My Upper Lashes?

Using expired mascara, even on your lower lashes, poses risks such as irritation and infection. It's best to avoid using expired makeup altogether to ensure safety and quality.

How Can I Prevent My Mascara From Drying Out Before Its Expiration Date?

To prevent mascara from drying out before expiration, tightly close the tube after each use. Avoid pumping the wand, which introduces air and dries it out faster. Store it in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.

Can I Mix Different Brands of Mascara Together to Create a New Shade?

Mixing mascaras from different brands can be fun for shade experimentation. However, it is important to consider compatibility and formulation. Some combinations may not work well together, affecting the performance and longevity of the mascara.

Is It Necessary to Replace Mascara if I Only Use It Occasionally?

Should you replace mascara after a certain amount of time, even if you haven't used it? Yes, expired mascara can cause harm to your eyes, even with occasional use. It's best to prioritize safety and replace it regularly.


In the world of makeup, mascara holds a special place, enhancing our eyes and overall look.

However, it's crucial to remember that all good things must come to an end, including mascara.

Knowing the signs of expired mascara and replacing it after the indicated period is essential for safety and quality reasons.

So, keep an eye out for those telltale signs and bid farewell to your old mascara, making way for a fresh and vibrant look.

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