How Long Does Mascara Last For?

Mascara comes in many forms by many different companies, but most ladies have experienced that panic when you cannot find a bottle of mascara and have to scour through old makeup bags to find an old bottle. But you may not have considered how long does mascara last? 

While I totally understand being caught in a makeup crisis and working with what you have, today we are going to talk about how long the actual shelf life of mascara is to know when it’s time to trade in our current mascara bottle for a new one.

Signs of an Old Mascara Bottle

That dried out mascara bottle sitting in your old makeup bag might not be because you forgot to twist the cap on fully, it actually might be because the bottle is going bad. Mascara bottles tend to get dry after about 6 months, due to their low water content. This is a quick sign that it is time to switch up your mascara. 

Mascara grabs any dirt or bacteria sitting on your eyes and puts it right back into the tube, so be sure that when you apply mascara, your eyes are fully cleaned off beforehand. This includes reapplying mascara on top of each other. Not only does this give a clumpy look to your eyelashes, but it is not hygienic. 

The rule of thumb is 6 months per bottle of mascara if you are using it regularly. If you have special bottles that you use for date nights or big occasions, this can be a bit longer. Just be wary of them and keep in mind the longer they sit, the more likely of drying, especially if the bottle is low. 

Why Switch Out Mascara? 

What is the big deal with using old mascara? Does mascara expire? I’m glad you asked. Old mascara is dry and a feeding ground for bacteria to make its home. This can lead to many things including eye mites when not properly removed each night, eye infections, and deterioration of your natural lashes. Not to mention that it will not properly lengthen and volumize your lashes like it is meant to. 

We all know the best time to use the mascara bottle is with a fresh bottle. It is so exciting to give it a try and each time after just isn’t the same. While I totally understand wanting to get full use of your bottle and saving some money along the way, it is worth thinking about making the switch when it is time. 

Ways to Switch Mascara Without Wasting It

So how can you implement this into your own mascara use without wasting any? There are few ways to accomplish this. First, rather than having loads of mascara tubes on hand, try sticking to one bottle at a time. This will make for less worry of having too much after 6 months of use and keep things simple. While it can be tempting to mix mascaras, repeating the same mascara until the desired length and volume can be just as effective. Plus, you have less to keep up with!

Another way to prevent waste if you aren’t a heavy mascara user, is to try sample sizes of mascaras. This is a significantly smaller amount of mascara for the girls that only use mascara once or twice a week. This is also great for ladies with a love of fake eyelashes or lash extensions. Even if you are a frequent mascara user, I would recommend giving your lashes a break every once in a while. Letting your lashes breath helps growth and prevent loss of lashes. 


Quick answer to how long is mascara good for: let go of the mascara bottle after 6 months. Hopefully, my tips on applying this into daily life makes for an easier transition. Of course, there will be flukes or emergencies where this will not apply, but implementing this into your makeup purging process will have your lashes thanking you later. 

Be sure to stick to ethical and good quality mascaras to keep your lashes healthy. There are also loads of companies working towards high-quality mascara that lower their waste, so consider this when it’s time to switch bottles. Many wildlife centers accept old mascara bottles or wands to help clean the wildlife from oil and other pollutants in the ocean. Clean out the bottle and wand as best as possible before donating. Your old mascara bottle can be used for much more, so do your research to know how you can do your part.

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