How to Tell If Your Mascara Has Expired

May 24, 2022
Alanna Martine Kilkeary
By: Alanna Martine Kilkeary | by L'Oréal
Person applying mascara

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. 

How to Tell If Your Mascara Is Expired


“You can tell a mascara has expired by smelling it,” says Velasquez. “If it smells bad, you know it’s time to throw it away.” 

Color and Texture

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. 

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 Velasquez. 

How to Prevent Mascara From Expiring 

While there’s not much you can do to keep your mascara from expiring, Velasquez notes that you should change out your mascara every three months, 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 trying out drugstore options to save money.

Not sure which mascara to try? We’ve been loving the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Noir Balm Mascara.

L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Noir Balm Mascara

Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn

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