Throw Your Eyeliner Away Immediately If You Notice This

If you're a beauty lover, you might never pass up on an opportunity to peruse your local Sephora while at the mall. (Okay, so you strategically plan your walking strategy to pass by the store; we completely understand). You may follow tons of beauty influencers on Instagram and YouTube like Patrick Starrr, NikkieTutorials, Tati and Manny MUA, and you could even let yourself be #influenced by their makeup recommendations. If you're on TikTok, the same probably applies. 

Scrolling through videos on our FYP has led to us buying tiny soap boxes to fluff up our brows and Vaseline to make on-the-fly lipstick and liner out of eyeshadow. No matter how many platforms and influencers are getting us to buy the new makeup products our beauty-obsessed minds crave, we're still loyal to the products that work best for us. We definitely have a slew of favorite makeup products that we would take with us to a desert island.

Your favorite makeup round-up might include a to-die-for foundation that stays on for hours on end, a concealer that blends perfectly into your undereye, that nude lipstick that gives you "your lips, but better," an impossibly fluffy mascara, and, yes, that best-ever eyeliner. That being said, if you've had your eyeliner for quite some time, you should know all the signs that it's time to throw it away stat.

Signs your eyeliner has become a breeding ground for bacteria

You should always take a good look at all of the makeup products you use on a daily basis to make sure they aren't showing signs of being infested with bacteria. While the thought of that alone makes our skin crawl, there's a good chance your eyeliner has some bacteria in it that can harm your eyes and cause infection. Of course, you want to avoid this possibility at all costs. To help out, we found all the warning signs to watch out for to ensure your liner stays in tip-top shape and isn't risking your eye health. No amount of gorgeous smokey eye looks are worth the risk.

What should you watch out for to determine if it's time to throw out your liner? According to Health, a pencil eyeliner should be trashed as soon as you see the tip begin to ooze with any unfamiliar substance. This might look oily or like a "white film." Either way, it's a surefire sign your liner is way past its expiration date. It could also be a symptom of sharing eyeliner with other people, which is a big no-no. Meanwhile, liquid liners show they're expired once the substance gets thicker or they start to smell like decay. As per Insider, a liquid liner may also dry out.

Thankfully, there are some general tips to follow when it comes to the life expectancy of an eyeliner.

Pencil eyeliners expire after approximately 12 months

Eyeliner is a favorite product for creating smokey eyes that make your gaze pop. You can also swipe liner directly on the water line. We'll never get over our high school days of drawing eyeliner heavily around our eyes until we looked like a raccoon. However, we've since learned that keeping it simple is key. And now that we actually know how to apply it, it is a definite must-have in our makeup collection.

Nowadays, we might not always be looking to Avril Lavigne's "Complicated" era for inspiration (even though gothic e-girl chic is definitely back on TikTok). But a smokey liner still makes us feel like our queen J.Lo in all of her glowy, almond-eyed glory, or even like Twiggy with her wide, expressive eyes. Long story short, we love our liner, but we need to know how long it is safe to use it before it needs to be thrown out.

The shelf life of eyeliner depends on whether you're talking about pencil or liquid liner; each has different protocols and best practices. According to Insider, pencil eyeliners should be thrown away after around a year of use. The reason pencil liners last so long is because you shave off the tip with your sharpener. Don't forget to do that two to three times a week (via Health).

Liquid eyeliner has a shorter lifespan

You might have nixed your pencil eyeliner years ago. If liquid eyeliner is more your thing, you probably have a tube from your favorite brand on your counter right now. Finding the perfect liquid liner isn't easy; each comes with a different level of finish (matte vs. glossy), potency, and hue. Once you find The One it's like a match made in heaven, and you might never want to part with it. Some of us have the dedication to swipe on our gel liner every single day, but it's not always obvious how long we can use each tube for.

Much different than pencil liner, liquid eyeliner comes in a tube. The applicator is extremely thin and takes a small amount of liquid to allow users to draw on a desired shape with precision. Pencil liners are shaved off with sharpeners, which keeps them "cleaner," but a liquid liner's applicator brush harbors more bacteria. As per Health, this applicator is in "constant contact" with your eyes and has a shorter shelf life. You should throw away liquid eyeliner after at most six months of use. 

Here comes a couple more things to watch out for when it comes to your favorite eyeliners!

If you feel any of these symptoms, throw your eyeliner away

We now understand that eyeliner has an expiration date and know warning signs of aging to look out for on products in our collection. While a general expiration rule is helpful, there's another kind of alarm signal to watch out for: If you feel any discomfort in your eye area, it may be a sign that your liner has bacteria in it. It could be so bad that you unfortunately develop irritation or an infection.

"When putting on eyeliner ... allergens and bacteria can float in the tear film and cause itching or redness of the eye itself," Dr. Johndra McNeely explained to HuffPost. This kind of irritation from allergens or infections from bacteria can endanger your eye health. Dr. McNeely warned that "using old products on the eyelid can also introduce bacteria into the glands inside the eyelids and cause a painful stye." If you've noticed a stye as of late, check your eyeliner. Is it past its expiration date? Does it smell strange? Is it thicker than usual? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, you may need to throw it away stat.

According to All About Vision, eyeliner can also cause conjunctivitis — also known as pink eye — so watch out for that as well!