Throw Your Mascara Away Immediately If You Notice This

When you buy a new mascara wand, you kind of expect it to last forever. However, the truth is that mascara — like all makeup products — has a shelf life, and understanding precisely what that shelf life is can be very important.

"Most beauty products are designed to stay fresh and stable only for a limited period of time," explains Jessica Wu, MD, a certified dermatologist and an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Southern California (via Everyday Health). "After that, they start to break down, so your cream might not work as well, your makeup may streak or change color, or — worst case scenario — you could develop a terrible infection."

When it comes to eye products, it's not worth taking a risk. Formulas riddled with germs can cause serious eye infections and styes. So, if in doubt, toss it out. But, how can you tell when your mascara should be thrown in the trash, and what are the signs to look out for? 

Here's when you should throw your mascara away

As Everyday Health reported, eye makeup is particularly vulnerable to bacteria, so being mindful of how long you should keep using eye products such as mascara is especially important. 

Dr Wu explains that, "You use mascara near your eyes, it's liquid — which tends to grow more bacteria — and you double dip every time you re-insert the brush into the tube, all of which increase the risk of eye infection." She goes on to state that mascara tends to have "the shortest shelf life of all beauty products" and should be thrown out "two to three months after opening."

Meanwhile, MD, Jeannette Graf, outlined to Health some other factors to look out for when deciding on whether or not you should throw your mascara out, revealing that you should plan on doing so as soon as it starts to smell a little odd — like melting plastic, for example — or if it becomes a little clumpy and gloopy.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to safeguard your mascara and make it last for longer. After each use, make sure that you're closing your mascara properly and don't push the wand in and out of the tube. It's also important that you never share your mascara with anyone else, as this can also spread bacteria and lead to eye infections.