How to Tell If Your Mascara Is Expired

November 25, 2020
Alanna Martine Kilkeary
By: Alanna Martine Kilkeary | by L'Oréal
Beauty Q&A: When Does Mascara Expire?

It’s tempting to hold onto that eyeshadow palette from your middle school days or your all-time favorite lipstick, but it’s important to toss old makeup as soon as the expiration date rolls around — especially when dealing with mascara. And after talking with makeup artist Andrew Velazquez, we learned that the expiration date may be sooner than you think. Here, he’s sharing how to tell if it’s time to trade in your old lash-boosting mascara for a new one. 

Color, Smell and Texture Are Key

“You can tell a mascara is expired by smelling it,” says Velazquez, “If it smells bad, you know it’s time to throw it away.” He explains that it’s also important to pay attention to the color and texture of your mascara. If the formula has separated, is dry or comes off the wand in clumps, it’s probably time to replace it.

Start Fresh Every Few Months 

Velazquez notes that you actually should be changing out your mascara every three months regardless, even if it seems to be working well. Because a regular-sized mascara typically lasts longer than three months, we recommend purchasing smaller-size tubes or saving money on drugstore options. Not sure which mascara to try? We’ve been loving the L’Oréal Paris Waterproof Air Volume Mega Mascara.

Pay Attention to Eye Health 

The eyes are extremely sensitive, so using an expired formula may lead to irritation. “Using expired mascara can cause eye infections, such as pink eye or a stye, which can affect your vision long term,” says Velazquez. 

Photography and Art Direction: Chaunte Vaughn

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