Home Makeup How Long Does Mascara Last Unopened?

How Long Does Mascara Last Unopened?

by Gabbi

How many tubes of mascara do you have right now? If we open our makeup drawers, we all probably have more than we know what to do with.

Maybe you have a favorite mascara, and the others wait blissfully in the drawer waiting for you to run out of your favorite one. But how long does mascara really last? Is it safe to use the mascara that’s been patiently waiting its turn? What about the expiration date?

So, how long does mascara last unopened? Technically, mascara can last around 2 years if it stays unopened and sealed. However, that time length may change based on how you store your mascara, what kind of mascara it is, and the quality of the product itself. 

Even though it may last two years unopened, we don’t recommend using make-up products past their expiration date.

Mascara goes near your eyes, which are super sensitive to bacteria and allergens, so if you choose to use a product after its expiration date, keep that in mind. Now, we can still give advice on how to get the most out of your mascara, and how to keep it fresh, so keep on reading!

How To Keep Mascara Fresh

Let’s start with keeping your unopened mascara fresh. You’re going to want to find a cool and dry spot to store your tube.

If you have drawers, a good space could be in the back corner of that drawer. A drawer is dark and can usually stay pretty dry. You might want to label it with a date of storage though so you always know how long it’s been!

Now, what if you’ve already opened the mascara but you still want it to last as long as possible? You can follow the same rules as unopened mascara, since keeping it in a cool and dark place will make it last longer.

You can take it a step further by storing your opened mascara in the fridge to preserve its quality. There are some small countertop fridges (like this adorable one on Amazon) that are perfect for storing makeup products. 

Dealing With Dry Mascara

Whether you’re opening the unopened mascara from the back of the drawer, or already opened mascara you’re hoping to reuse, you may run into the common problem of dried-out mascara. You might go to put on your mascara and find it looks dry and cakey, which is never a good look.

A simple solution could be to add just a few drops of some eye drops or saline solution. The drops will moisten the dried-up mascara, and since you already use eye drops on your eyes, you don’t have to worry about it irritating you. 

Ways To Make Mascara Last Longer

We thought we’d list some ways to keep your mascara lasting longer and keeping it nice and fresh to frame those beautiful eyes of yours below:

  • Wash the brush off after use and before re-inserting into the tube. Removing the excess mascara that’s been exposed to air will help keep the rest from becoming clumpy.
  • Make sure you are closing the mascara tube as tight as possible before putting it away! Any air getting into the tube will cause the mascara inside to dry up while it waits to be used again. 
  • Don’t pump the brush in and out of the tube to try and get more coverage. Pushing the brush in and out will actually end up wasting mascara and cause the inside to dry out faster. 
  • If you have a couple different mascaras, labeling them to know when you’ve used, stored, or washed them can be a great way to know which one to use first. 
  • Try to reach for the mascara that’s almost done before opening another tube. More upkeep will make it harder to maintain good quality in your mascara. You can separate your mascaras using labels, or simply as opened and unopened.
  • Throw out mascara if you don’t know how long it’s been in your drawer/cabinet/or any other storage area – especially if it’s already opened! Using these might lead to issues with bacteria in your eyes. 
  • Waterproof mascara doesn’t dry out as quickly as regular mascara, so if you know you’ll have it over a long period of time, opt for waterproof! However, we always recommend having an effective yet gentle makeup remover (like this one from Cinema Secrets) on hand for waterproof mascara, otherwise scrubbing and over-cleansing can lead to eyelash and skin damage.
  • Do not share your mascara; you won’t know what bacteria another person has in their eyes. You can end up with pink eye, styes, or worse.

Getting The Most Out Of Mascara

Everyone wants to get the most out of their product before they have to dump it and buy a new one. If you have a favorite product, you probably know the feeling of trying to scrape every last bit of it out in an effort to have just a little more.

Mascara is definitely a product we try to use every last bit of, and sometimes the bottles can seem never ending until the application starts to get clumpy. Here are a few ways to make sure you get every ounce out of your mascara while following the tips above. 

If you want a more volumized look, but you don’t want to pump your brush, you should apply the first coat and then wait for it to dry before applying another coat. This way, you won’t be pushing air into your mascara tube and still get that plush look. 

If your mascara starts clumping up, but you don’t have any eyedrops to mix in to smooth it out or rehydrate it, you can try a warm water method by taking your closed mascara tube and gently setting it in a cup of warm water.

Make sure the water isn’t too hot – you should be able to leave your finger in it comfortably. Let your mascara sit for a few minutes and swirl the brush inside before pulling it out. This should help the mascara glide onto your eyelashes better, resulting in less clumps. 

Eye drops and saline aren’t just for avoiding clumps in your mascara. You can also use eye drops as your mascara begins to run low. Add a few drops into the tube and gently swirl it around for a few minutes.

You can also set it in another glass of warm water for bonus points. Swirl your brush in the tube and you’ll have a few more applications left! 

Make Mascara Application Last Longer

One way to help keep your favorite mascara longer is to find ways to help that first application last longer. If you don’t need to reapply your mascara, then your tube is bound to last at least a little longer than if you had to reapply a few times a day.

The less you have to open your tube the better! So here are some tips on keeping that first application looking fresh all day long:

Waterproof Mascara

We know waterproof mascara is not everyone’s favorite, but if you want the longest lasting application that will look fresh even after running around all day or the occasional eye itch, then waterproof is going to be your go-to. 

However, we always recommend having an effective yet gentle makeup remover (like this one from Cinema Secrets) on hand for waterproof mascara, otherwise scrubbing and over-cleansing can lead to eyelash and skin damage.

Invest In A Mascara Primer

It might take a few extra minutes to do your eye makeup, but we promise it’s worth it. Primer is going to keep your lashes fresh underneath the mascara, and it helps the mascara really cling to your lashes.

You apply a coat of primer before any mascara, wait for it to dry, and then apply your mascara. For extra protection and extra strength grip, you can also apply a clear coat as the last step to really lock in that mascara for the day. 

Try to keep from touching your eyes throughout the day, and instead of layering mascara when you feel it needs a boost, try curling them with an eyelash curler (like our favorite from Japonesque) and adding another clear coat instead. 

Final Thoughts

We know some mascara has an expiration date that only lasts a couple months, and we definitely don’t discourage from following that date. However, with the right care and a little extra attention, you can keep your favorite mascara for much longer. 

If you open your mascara and something doesn’t look right, or it irritates your eyes, you should go ahead and toss it before it does any damage to your eyeballs. Make sure you always apply with care and also take care of yourself!

Related Questions

Will mascara help curl my lashes? 

Mascara helps give your lashes more definition. If you’re looking to make your lashes appear more curled, you could use an eyelash curler that you would clamp and hold for a few seconds on your eyelashes. 

My new tube of mascara is already clumpy – does this mean it’s expired?

Not necessarily. If you’ve had that tube of mascara a long time it could be that the mascara inside settled and dried over a long period of time. Let it soak, closed, in warm water for a few moments and try again. Make sure you look for an expiration date on your make-up to make sure. 

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