Your Say: Do you toss out your mascara after 3 months? It could be 3 months too early!

by Paris B on · 115 comments

in Discussions,Mascara,Musings,Tips

toss mascara Your Say: Do you toss out your mascara after 3 months? It could be 3 months too early!

Ladies, lets have a show of hands here.

How many of you abide by the “Toss your mascara after 3 months” rule? This is a “makeup rule” that we’ve been indoctrinated with and have had it drummed into us for so long its become “the norm”. The primary reason, we’re told, is that this is to protect our eyes, and prevent infections.

This “3 month rule” is also the reason for many people to go with a pharmacy or drugstore brand mascara. What’s the use of buying a more expensive mascara (never mind that it may look nicer) if we’re just going to toss it after 3 months anyway right? It’d be a waste of money! There’s a lot of truth in all that.

So come on, don’t be shy – Do you toss your mascara after 3 months? Even if its not gone bad or dried out? icon smile Your Say: Do you toss out your mascara after 3 months? It could be 3 months too early!

Well I have a confession. I don’t icon smile Your Say: Do you toss out your mascara after 3 months? It could be 3 months too early!

I never have, to be honest. I mean, I know the general rule and all that but I feel loathe to toss a product that is still working well just because its “the norm”. Its a waste of money too. Being a bit of a conspiracy theorist, I felt that this was a major conspiracy by the cosmetics companies to make us spend more money on mascara. I know right? I also believe in aliens and UFOs icon razz Your Say: Do you toss out your mascara after 3 months? It could be 3 months too early! I usually toss my mascara only when its dried out or doesn’t work anymore.

Well, I’ve got one more thing to support my argument for not tossing out your mascara after 3 months – the cosmetics companies tell you you don’t have to! But how many of you notice this? icon wink Your Say: Do you toss out your mascara after 3 months? It could be 3 months too early!

toss mascara2 Your Say: Do you toss out your mascara after 3 months? It could be 3 months too early!

I’ve picked at random, some high end and pharmacy/drugstore brand mascaras and the minimum and average life span for a mascara that I see, is 6 months from date of opening. Its that symbol of an open tub that you will see on most packaging. The number inside tells you how many months you have from date of opening before it is considered expired, and they all say 6M barring the Shiseido one that weighs in at a staggering 24M! That’s 2 years! Actually, my Shiseido Perfect Mascara has been going strong and its been with me a while and is only now starting to dry out (no trouble in all this time).

However, despite the clear marking on the packaging, we are still being told to toss our mascara after 3 months. Well, I say, lets wise up for a moment, step back and look at things objectively. The case for NOT tossing your mascara after 3 months is manifold:-

  • The companies suggest a minimum of a 6 month lifespan from date of opening
  • If you are the only person using the mascara (and you should NOT be sharing mascara please) and do not have an eye infection, there is no reason to assume that using it longer than 3 months will give you an eye infection
  • Technology has moved on and we should expect the product to be of better quality and last longer
  • If the mascara is not dried out, its a waste of money to toss it.

However, if you have an eye infection I will suggest you toss any mascara you are then using during your eye infection, because it could well be contaminated. But if your eyes are fine and the mascara is working fine and not dried out, don’t waste your money. Look at the box/packaging. Think about things and see if its logical for you to just blindly abide by a “general rule” or if you should just go with your gut icon wink Your Say: Do you toss out your mascara after 3 months? It could be 3 months too early!

What say you, Ladies? Do you currently toss your mascara after 3 months? Will you change this habit after this, or will you still stick to the 3 month rule? My personal habit is why I don’t mind splurging on a higher end mascara that works (RMK and Shiseido are 2 I will readily replenish despite the cost) because they last, my lashes look impressively good, and I don’t toss them out after 3 months anyway icon smile Your Say: Do you toss out your mascara after 3 months? It could be 3 months too early!

Paris B

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[ 115 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

Gin July 3, 2012 at 8:41 am

Haha thank you Paris for interpreting the code! Well I read the symbol of the open box many many times but never know what is it!!! LOL.. I have this habit of reading the box of anytg I buy hahaha..
This is really a good news! Now we have reason to make mascara to it’s full use! Although I never toss them out anyway hahaha


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 11:45 am

LOL! Maybe the code deserves a post all by itself! :D I actually thought everyone knew about it already :D


gin July 6, 2012 at 5:04 pm

oh yes please Paris! wanna learn more symbols please!!
oya, may i know how long can your perfect mascara from sheseido last before drying out???? tempting to purchase it since i can use it up to 2years!


Paris B July 8, 2012 at 10:56 am

Lets just say mine is over a year old, and still going strong but I think it might be time to bin LOL


gin July 8, 2012 at 11:05 am

thanks Paris! Yay~


dom July 3, 2012 at 8:42 am

I’ve heard some people advising to throw it out after 6 weeks. 6 weeks!! Like you, I only throw my mascara out after it dries out. It’s such a bleeping waste to throw it out after mere months, especially when you purchase a high-end mascara. I also go by smell – when it starts smelling sour, that’s when I toss it out. Usually that only happens with mascaras that are over 8 months old.


ksuan July 3, 2012 at 10:08 am

I’m with dom on this one, and am a huge proponent of checking out smell and consistency of formula before deciding whether to toss or not. Also, guiltily, I’m far worse at tossing out tubes of mascara that I absolutely love – I had my Bobbi Brown Everything Mascara for a year and a bit before I finally bit the bullet and decided it was time to let it go!


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 11:56 am

If I love a mascara I hold on as long as I can too. But the ones that don’t work and don’t get much use out of, go into the bin quite quickly, or when I remember to clear out :D


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 11:46 am

6 weeks? That’s bonkers! Its about when it just starts to get good. Evidently, having read everyone’s responses, it seems like no one here bothers about the “rule” which is a bit weird coz everytime I mention a mascara, everyone’s all “Oh but its got to be tossed in 3 months!” LOL funny… :P


Michelle Beh July 3, 2012 at 8:49 am

I won’t toss my mascara after 3 months just because of the rule. Lol. I feel like it’s a waste and they haven’t even drying out yet. Definitely I will wait until it’s starting to dry out then only I will consider to throw it away. :)


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 11:47 am

Sounds like that’s what everyone’s doing here! :D


LeGeeque July 3, 2012 at 8:58 am

Nah, I don’t. Especially that stint when I was solely on the CLinique mascara and it was too expensive to do it. The air here is a lot drier as well so I am assuming less chances of bacteria growth?


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 11:48 am

I’m not sure about bacteria growth to be honest. From what I can see, there’s loads of preservatives in products like mascara so I’m guessing that most bacteria can’t really grow anyway. But that’s just me ;)


Honey July 3, 2012 at 9:09 am

I don’t! But I try not to keep an open tube for more than 6 months. And these are generally the ones I don’t like anyway! Those that I like could barely survive 3 months of use:).

But you are right. I don’t go for expensive mascara mainly because short life span is one of the reason. The other being there is just so, so many new ones popping up at drugstore that I just have to try. Btw, Rimmel Scandaleyes is quite good :)

Oh, eww…. Don’t ever share mascara and lipstick!


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 11:49 am

Ahh! I just saw Rimmel Scandaleyes on sale yesterday and remembered someone saying its good :D But I didn’t pick it up because I opened the tester and the size of the brush scared me! Weirdly, I always see people actually testing mascara and lipstick at the tester counters. I can’t help but shudder when I see it – don’t they realise they are spreading germs (and maybe contracting some?!)


germs July 3, 2012 at 9:11 am

3 months! i’ve to confess, i have never tossed out any functioning mascara even after a year, but that’s just me being stingy and unhygienic. thanks for pointing out the very fine print on the packaging. and eh, who came up with the 3 month rule ah? we keep hearing it but never ever know who was the Grand-master of the 3 month rule :P


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 11:50 am

Shh… neither have I! If it functions, isn’t dry, isn’t smelly, well I use it :P No point in wasting a good thing, I say! I bet its the cosmetics brands themselves – gotta sell more product!


Jenn July 3, 2012 at 9:22 am

Guilty as charged! I have been using the same Maybelline one for 10 months now… and it’s still not goopy or anything so imma keep on using it! =X


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 11:51 am

LOL! I know right? Sometimes, its past the 3 month mark when it starts looking good!


Issa July 3, 2012 at 9:30 am

I don’t! Because it’s working fine even after 3 months! it would be a waste of money, hihihi… I also have to confess that you are right, I don’t buy the high end ones because mascaras has a short life span …


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 11:52 am

Ah see! You’d buy a nice pricey lipstick though, won’t you? ;) Probably has the same lifespan, but I don’t check ;) That said, if a drugstore mascara works well, no harm using it. Its doing the same thing after all, more or less ;)


Sue July 3, 2012 at 9:39 am

ops, I dont either. Looks like we aren’t as adherent to some rules as some would want us to be eh? hehe, I usually toss out mine only when it 1) dries out, 2) irritates my eyes.

Otherwise, it’ll still be sitting on my little mascara container for… oh, I dont even remember… =p


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 11:53 am

Yeah clearly no one’s into tossing their mascara after the 3 month mark. I don’t even toss after the 6 month mark if its still working well ;)


Lily July 3, 2012 at 10:04 am

I usually use one mascara at a time, until it gets clumpy or dries out. However, I only keep it for max 6 months. I did get an eye infection before and it made me more wary of the expiry dates. I use a mixture of brands and sometimes, the cheaper mascaras outperform the expensive ones!


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 11:54 am

Oh in many cases, I’ve found that cheap mascara can work wonders! It doesn’t make sense to buy pricey ones sometimes, except when you can be very sure they’ll give you the effect you want that none others can ;)


Soo Yin July 3, 2012 at 10:06 am

Haha…I’m guilty of hanging on to my RMK even after 6 months, although it has started to somewhat dry out already.

On a side note, I don’t know if this 3M/6M thingy holds for Talika’s Eyelash Lipocils but I’ve been using my current tube for a year already…-___-


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 11:55 am

My RMK one is staying nice even after 6 months! Granted, I don’t use it as often so that might be why. I’m not sure about the Talika thing. I think its meant to last 6 months? I’m not too sure but in my case, it dried out eventually so that was that :P


Nikki July 3, 2012 at 10:12 am

I toss mascaras after 3 months that are inside my train case just because of the fact I use it on different clients, though I use a disposable wand, I still feel its a better choice but of course, I do check the 3m/6m thing too!

For personal, I think same as you, it really depends on how the mascara feels, looks and smells! That’s how I decide if its time to throw it out or not :)


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 11:59 am

In your case, I think it makes a lot of sense to toss them out quickly and its great to know that you’re keeping your clients’ welfare at heart, Nikki! :D


rinnah July 3, 2012 at 10:15 am

I learnt something new today from Miss Paris B. :P

I never noticed that little open tub symbol because I seldom pay attention to product packaging except to note how pretty or user friendly it is.

Like most of the readers of MWS, I only toss my mascara when it’s dried out or not performing anymore and since I so rarely use it, I only have 1 tube open at a time.


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Haha! Here to educate ;) I usually glance at the open tub symbol to have an idea, but I don’t generally follow it the way I don’t generally follow many rules, making up my own as I go along LOL!


jean July 3, 2012 at 10:31 am

I never throw any until I finish it up. but some will dry out eventually.
Mascara is one thing that I can never leave house without!


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Aww you have nice long lashes! :) It took me so long to get used to using mascara and sometimes, I’d actually forget to put it on which makes it look weird if you have full eye makeup on LOL! But now that I apply mascara first, I never forget again! :D


Charlotte July 3, 2012 at 11:11 am

*put my hands up in the air* Haha, I don’t!

My mom taught me not to waste food, because I paid for it, because people starved to death in places like Africa, because I don’t want my future husband to have pimples all over his face, because I don’t want ME to have pimples erupting all over my face …, and all the other excuses that moms came up with to make you finish your food (:P), SO I have to appreciate and gobble up my food every time; Thus, why I don’t throw my Mascara out before they dries up? Because Momma taught me well! ;D


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 12:04 pm

LOL indeed! :D I got that lecture about finishing up my rice too!


Monstro July 3, 2012 at 11:27 am

I never throw mine out either just because it’s 6months–and never had an eye infection from it either? I don’t use mine that often I guess so less chances of bacteria growth? Heh….


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Yeah I don’t abide by either 3 or 6 month rule. Prefer to just go with sight and smell but of course, if its too long, it’d better go in the bin anyway ;)


Kel July 3, 2012 at 11:41 am

A brand new mascara wand only starts picking up the correct amount of mascara after 3 months, to throw it away then??????? NO WAYYYYYYYYY…..


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Haha! I hear ya! That’s when the texture is usually close to perfect :D


anis July 3, 2012 at 11:50 am

nahhh, me too. i am wary of the little tub symbol, but never followed it to a T, and extend it to another 3-6 months depending on the condition of the product ;) i mean i can count on one hand how many times i use my mascara in 3 months (not a regular mascara user), why should i throw it away? such a waste.


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Thats true too for a non regular user. It shouldn’t go bad as quickly. In my case, I do find that sometimes the pharmacy brands dry out much more quickly than the higher end brands so I can really drag out the use of a high end mascara but for pharmacy brands, taking it to 6 months with regular use is sometimes impossible.


sharon July 3, 2012 at 12:32 pm

I dont throw out my good mascaras after 3 months either! It just makes no sense and I totally agree with you on the conspiracy theory lol ;) and yes I have read the note at the back of the boxes which states that the mascaras are good for 6 months after opening and since I am the only one using my mascaras I see no good reason to throw away functioning ones at 3 months, some I van even stretch the use to 1 year! ;) However, I do use the 3 month theory thing to make myself feel less guilty when I throw away mascaras which are horrible to use (smudges like crazy or extremely wet and dont EVER become drier, or just simply have no effect in my lashes) so is this case I do ‘abide’ by the 3 month rule. Also, 3 months is a good time frame for to gauging whether a mascara is trash or fabulous and whether a repurchase is in place or not.


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Yay for a fellow conspiray theorist! ;) I honestly do think someone out there is making big bucks from people tossing mascara out after 3 months and I’ve just been told, people even say 6 weeks! Seriously! What a waste! :O Like you, if the mascara is crap on me, it doesn’t even make it past the 1 month mark LOL!


Cynthia July 3, 2012 at 12:53 pm

I couldn’t even complete my mascara within 3 months. Nor even complete it without them drying~~ My usual mascara lifespan is about 6 months and the 6M symbol is definitely a new thing for me!! Thanks Paris for the sharing.


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 12:11 pm

You’re welcome, Cynthia! I think many of us learnt something new this time – that mascara can last 6 months at least and that none of us here follows the 3 month “rule” LOL!


Hanny Daforcena July 3, 2012 at 1:17 pm

I used to have that habit, until one time when I forgot to replace mine after the third month and nothing happened. I actually use them until I really cannot get anything out from them anymore! ^.^ That being said, I’ve yet to venture to high street mascaras because there’s still many offered in drugstores!

I now use a combo of mascaras. The drugstore one for FOTDs mainly and a high street one for going out/Uni when I know that I need it to perform. Sometimes I even use both of them to get the false lash effect.

Am currently loving Benefit They’re Real though! *Waves at Lily at the comment above* THANK YOU AM STILL USING THE ONE YOU GAVE ME ^.^


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 12:14 pm

“I used to have that habit, until one time when I forgot to replace mine after the third month and nothing happened.”

I chuckled when I read that. It was like you were expecting your hair to fall out or your eyes to explode! LOL :D I’ve heard so MUCH about Benefit’s They’re Real mascara that I’m going to have to try it and see if they will flatter these shorty lashes o’ mine! LOL! :D


Hanny July 6, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Actually I did HAHAHA ^.^

You should go try them out! heh heh. They really work wonders.


Lisa July 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm

No. My mascaras usually last a year.
As long as it doesn’t dry or smell,I use them.


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Sounds pretty much like what we’re all doing here! Yay for no wastage (and mine last about a year too and I thought I was breaking a billion rules ;) )


Mira July 3, 2012 at 1:24 pm

I would never toss out my mascara, unless I’ve finished it or it have dried out. I never got any eye infection and I never share my mascara with anyone, so I think it’s safe. Plus, wouldn’t want to waste it since high-end mascaras cost a lot. ^^


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Exactly! I find that higher end mascara tend to last longer and not dry out so quickly. Which ones do you use, Mira? Dior? :D


giddy tigress July 3, 2012 at 1:37 pm

I’m like you, PB. I don’t toss out mascara until it’s all dried out. But I sometimes forget about the “opened and used by date” at the back. That being said, I do adhere strictly to that logo for all my skincare and makeup products :)


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 12:17 pm

You’re way better than I am GT, I don’t even abide by that rule for skincare much less makeup! The former I use till its finished or turns bad whichever comes first and the latter well, I can’t remember the last time I finished any makeup, actually! :P


derkal23 July 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm

My mascaras don’t usually dry out but since i am living in a very humid weather condition (Turkey) I use my mascaras until they smell out of ordinary (I am a chemist and I know the smell but I can’t get the right name for it lol!) because if I don’t mind the weird smell and continue using it, my eyes get all itchy and blurry. So, I don’t mind the 3 month (by the way I thought it was a 4-month-rule!) rule I use it until it loses its consistency in anyway :)


Paris B July 6, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Ah! We probably have similar weather here in Malaysia except I think its even more humid here :D I think its great that you’re a chemist and you can tell when it smells off and better yet, that you use the smell test! :D Actually, I wasn’t even aware there was a rule but people kept preaching it to me that they toss their mascara after 3 months and I read it in a mag too.


derkal23 July 6, 2012 at 5:14 pm

I love to read about makeup stuff in the magazines but I don’t always listen to them. I believe that if something is working, there is no need to fix it :) I try to read the instructions and follow the jar rule (12M, 24M stuff) for liquid, cream stuff but 3 month is really a short term, I believe. Also, I heard that the more you push and pull your brush during the makeup the more it gets oxygen in it and mascara decades faster. If I once opened my mascara but never used it since, I keep it in a humid free place and use it when its time comes.
By the way I am a new reader and loved your blog :)


Paris B July 8, 2012 at 11:01 am

Yes! The tip about not pumping the mascara wand in the tube is definitely worth noting because that will introduce air and bacteria. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and I hope to see you around more! :D


giddy tigress July 6, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Oh, my one exception would probably be lipstick though, since I hardly use it. I have tons of lipstick sitting in my “Lipstick box” waiting to be used. I’ve given many away to my Mom but there are still many waiting their turn! LOL


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