Mascara is a cosmetic staple for many, designed to darken and elongate lashes for a more dramatic look. How long does mascara last, though? Knowing the answer is essential, not only for achieving the best makeup results but also for maintaining eye health.
From the manufacturer’s expiration date to signs of wear and tear, this article will explore the factors that determine the longevity of your mascara. Let’s delve into why you may need to part ways with that well-loved tube sooner than you’d like.
Signs Your Mascara is Expired
One telltale sign that your mascara is past its prime is a noticeable change in smell. When it starts to emit a strong, chemical-like odor, that’s your cue to replace it. An off smell is more than unpleasant; it’s a signal that the formula has deteriorated, increasing the risk of eye infections or irritation.
Texture can also be a big giveaway. Mascara that once glided on smoothly but has now turned clumpy, dry, or separated is screaming for retirement. A significant shift in texture means that the integrity of the product has been compromised. These texture changes can not only impact the effectiveness of the mascara but also pose a risk to your eye health.
Last but not least, your own body may sound the alarm. If applying mascara starts to cause eye irritation—stinging, burning, or excessive watering—consider it a red flag. It’s likely that bacteria have made their way into the tube, which can lead to more severe issues like conjunctivitis or other eye infections.
Proper Storage to Extend Shelf Life
Keeping your mascara in good condition starts with proper storage. First off, let’s tackle temperature. Storing your tube in a cool, dry place is key to maintaining its formula. Exposing mascara to heat can cause it to dry out, while humidity can encourage bacterial growth. So, think twice before stashing it in the bathroom, where steam from hot showers can wreak havoc on its longevity.
Next up, make sure to seal the tube tightly after every use. Oxygen is not a mascara’s friend; it can quicken the drying process and degrade the product. A loose cap also invites dust and bacteria into the mix, which is a surefire way to shorten the mascara’s shelf life and possibly compromise your eye health.
Finally, avoid pumping the wand in and out of the tube. This action pushes air into the mascara, leading to faster drying and a higher risk of contamination. Instead, gently swirl the wand inside the tube to coat it evenly with the product. Following these storage guidelines can make a noticeable difference in how long your mascara retains its quality and effectiveness.
The Three-Month Rule and Other Guidelines
As you’ve probably heard, many beauty experts recommend the three-month rule for mascara. This means that you should aim to replace your tube every three months to minimize the risk of bacterial contamination. But why is the timeline so short?
Bacteria and germs thrive in moist environments, and mascara tubes are no exception. With each use, you introduce new bacteria into the tube, accelerating the expiry process. So, while it might be tempting to keep that expensive mascara a little longer, cutting corners on this timeline can put your eye health at risk.
Some brands print a small “open jar” symbol with a number on their packaging to indicate the product’s lifespan after opening. For example, “6M” means the mascara should be good for six months after you first use it. But even if the packaging suggests a longer lifespan, it’s wise to stick to the three-month rule as a precaution.
When in Doubt, Toss It Out
So there you have it—everything you need to know about how long mascara lasts, from understanding its shelf life to recognizing the warning signs of expiry. The key takeaway? Mascara isn’t forever, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Remember, using expired makeup products, especially around the sensitive eye area, is not worth the risk. So, when you start noticing changes in texture, smell, or application, don’t hesitate to part ways with that mascara tube. A fresh start can be as simple as a new swipe of mascara, but it can make all the difference in how you look and feel.