Here's How Long Your Mascara Really Lasts

Makeup products have a relatively short life span, according to what it usually says on the packaging. If you're a makeup lover, there's a chance you have quite a few expired products in your collection. They might be your favorite limited edition pieces or discontinued products that are no longer available for purchase. For whatever reason, you just can't seem to part with them.

With some makeup, you do have the time to spare. Powder products like blushes and eyeshadows can last up to two years, some even longer. Celebrity makeup artist Britty Whitfield tells Byrdie, "Ideally, from personal experience, powders can be extended for longer periods of time if you're actively and regularly cleaning your brushes. Otherwise, you're putting old makeup, germs, and skin cells into that powder product every time when your tools are dirty." So, to get the most out of your powder products is why you should be regularly cleaning your makeup brushes.

Unfortunately, that's not the case with any makeup product. Cleaning a mascara wand or using a disposable one isn't doing anything if you're still putting it back into the same tube. Is it time to get rid of your mascara?

Lifespan of mascara

According to the expiration symbol on most mascara tubes, a tube of mascara generally lasts about six months. Unfortunately, it may be even shorter than that. Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital, confirms the time span. "Generally speaking, if you are regularly using your mascara it should be replaced every three to six months," he shared with Allure.

To know whether your mascara has gone bad, check for the telltale signs. "If the mascara does not look, feel, or smell the way it did when you bought it, or if you've used it after having an eye infection, discard the mascara even if it is before the three to six month recommendation," Zeichner tells Allure.

The eyes are the most sensitive area of the face where makeup is used, so better to be safe than sorry. Zeichner advises, therefore, to be extra careful with any formula. "While the water content in mascara is low, making the risk of bacterial contamination low, you should still exercise caution on any product applied around the eye area," he told Allure.

The risks of using an expired mascara

While you may think it's not that serious to use expired makeup products from time to time, think again. Celebrity dermatologist Fazeela Abbasi, MD, says expiration dates are there for a reason. "For many, it's not uncommon to use the same makeup product for years, especially if it's something you use sparingly, but I would always recommend that you take expiry dates seriously," she told Grazia.

The most serious risk of using expired mascara is not looking bad; it's getting an eye infection. According to All About Vision, styes and pink eye are the most common complications of wearing old eye makeup. If you feel any type of discomfort or irritation in or around your eyes, don't wait to go see a doctor. And replace your mascara! Make it an interesting thing to do by learning about your eyes and picking the best mascara for you.

Most eye infections should be easily treatable by your eye doctor, so don't worry. Still, you don't want to risk any serious health problems just because you were too careless to get a new tube of mascara. If you're a makeup hoarder, get a friend to help you throw out old makeup. Now you have an excuse to buy that new mascara you haven't yet tried!