Does mascara expire (expiration guide)

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When was the last time you threw away your favorite makeup product before it ran out? 

If you are like most women, you probably never think of ditching your go-to makeup products. This is especially true when it comes to mascara. 

Mascara’s expiration is around 3-6 months and  experts recommend you trash and replace it even if the tube is still filled with product.

Check the following details to find out why you need to pay attention to your mascara’s expiration date. 

Does mascara have an expiration date?

Yes. Mascara usually expires within 3-6 months. It actually has the earliest date of expiry among makeup products.

Will my mascara make it to the Expiration Date?

Factors like improper usage, storage, and maintenance may affect its quality.  So you might need to replace it prior to the date of expiry.

how to tell if mascara is expired

You can quickly spot an expired mascara because it displays specific properties such as the following: 

Change in odor

One of the quickest signs that tell you your mascara is expired is if it has a weird smell. It may smell bad the moment you open the container. 

If you observe any change in odor, it’s a clear sign that your mascara has expired.

Change in color

Mascara comes in dark pigments like black and brown. It can also come in vibrant colors like pink, green, purple, blue, etc.

If you observe that the product’s color does not look like the original one, you might want to toss it out. It may be past its recommended date of use.

Change in texture and consistency 

You can also tell that your mascara has expired if its texture and consistency are not good anymore. 

For instance, if it’s too dry or runny, it may be an indicator that the product has already gone bad.

When Does mascara Expire?

Typically, mascara lasts around three to six months. It is highly recommended that you don’t use it past this duration. You might be risking your health and safety if you do. 

Mascara can also go bad quicker depending on other factors like temperature, frequency of usage, maintenance, and storage. 

Its expiry date may also depend on whether you have already opened the product or not. 


Opened mascara can last around six months if you don’t use it daily. 

However, if you frequently use the product, it may go bad within three months or less. 

Mascara can quickly go bad when opened even if you follow proper use, storage, and maintenance because It is often exposed to air, dirt, and bacteria. 

You might also need to throw it away the moment it gets smelly, dry, or runny.


Unopened mascara can last 2-3 years, especially if it remains completely sealed. It can also last longer if you store it in a cool, dry place. 

Before purchasing, you need to make sure that the product is not past or close to its expiration date. 

makeup brands print expiration dates on their products. So, you need to find the printed expiry date on the tube.

 This way, you can rest assured that the ingredients and formulation of the mascara are still safe to use.

Can you use expired mascara?

You should never use expired mascara or any makeup product. Remember that expiration dates printed on the label are not a suggestion, it’s a rule. 

It’s important to take note of the expiration date of your mascara because you need to throw the product away on or before that date. 

Keep in mind that mascara is used on your lashes. 

It’s too close to your eyes, and it may cause infections, irritations, and redness when used past the expiry date.

What happens if you use expired mascara?

It’s unsafe and unhygienic to use expired mascara. 

it may feel frustrating to toss it out if the tube still has a lot of product left. However, throwing it out will do you more good than bad. 

Here are a few scenarios that may happen if you continue using expired mascara:

You won’t be able to achieve a flawless makeup finish

Expired mascara tends to get flaky and dry. If you continue using it, you can expect that it won’t perform as well. 

You may see product clumping whenever you swipe mascara to your lashes. 

Product residue may also fall on your cheeks and other parts of your face. 

This will be really difficult to remove, especially if you are using dark-colored mascara.

Bacteria may get into your eyes

Your mascara may be exposed to dirt and bacteria, especially with prolonged use.

 If you keep using expired mascara, you might be spreading germs and bacteria on your lashes. 

This may even get to your eyes. When this happens, you might develop sty or other eye and skin problems.

You might experience breakouts

Remember that the ingredients of the mascara may be too old. That may cause serious skin issues such as breakouts, including acne and pimples with continued use. 

The skin around your eyes may turn red or get irritated

In worst scenarios, expired mascara may seriously harm your eyes and the skin around it. 

The expired product may bring irritants and infections to your eyes, so you have to ditch the product as soon as possible.

Can you Prolong the life of your mascara?

Some makeup products go bad before they even hit their expiration date. The same goes with mascara. 

If you want to ensure they can last longer, you need to follow specific steps such as the following:

Close it properly after every use 

You need to ensure no air will enter the container, especially if you are not using the mascara. 

Keep it properly closed so the ingredients will not be exposed to air and dirt.

Don’t pump your mascara wand in and out of the container

Avoid pumping your mascara brush too much. 

If you need to get more product, move it using a scraping motion. 

This helps avoid exposure to air, which may only dry out your mascara.

Don’t let anyone use or borrow your mascara

You should avoid sharing your makeup products with other people for hygienic purposes. 

Whenever you let someone else use your mascara, you are increasing the  possibility for contaminants to get near your mascara.

The more germs, bacteria, and contaminants get to your mascara, the quicker the product will go bad. 

So, do your best to avoid the habit of letting others borrow your makeup.

Consider placing it in the fridge

You can also prolong the life of your mascara by placing or storing it in the fridge. 

It may get thick or cold, but it can effectively retain your mascara’s quality. 

If not, find a cool, dry place such as a drawer or a cabinet that is not exposed to extreme temperatures. 

This way, the ingredients of your mascara will remain in good quality.

Find ways to undry mascara

You can also try effective tactics to soften your macara’s consistency. 

Sometimes, the product just needs some added oils or liquid, so it doesn’t get dry or flaky. 

So, try and find ways to undry mascara through this post: “How to undry mascara”.


Though you may be tempted to use every last bit of your favorite mascara, it’s best that you avoid doing so. 

This is especially true if your mascara has already expired. 

Keep in mind that mascara only lasts 3-6 months. You should avoid using it past that date because you might end up experiencing problems like irritations and infections. 

Toss your mascara the moment you observe a change in color, smell, and consistency. 

Hopefully, this post has also helped you find tactics to prolong the life of your mascara.