The Truth About Mascara

I found the best mascara – and it’s not why you think!

I’m thrifty.  I hate throwing away product before it’s gone, and I have been known to cut off the top of a foundation bottle, or pop out the stopper in a lip gloss I love – to get at that very last bit.  

But, sadly, expiration dates exist for a reason.  And while using an expired powder blush probably won’t hurt you (I’m not a doctor – that’s not medical advice) – using expired mascara is dangerous.  

Mascara is one of the few items in your makeup kit that you absolutely cannot disinfect.  From the moment you crack the seal on that bad boy, you are introducing bacteria into it.  The longer you use it, the more those bacteria multiply.  For that reason, you should never, ever, share mascara.  

Let me say it one more time for those in the back.


Did you know that every cosmetic product has an expiration date?  It’s in the small print, on the back of the package.  It looks like a little jar – and inside the jar, it tells you how long the product can be open before it is expired.  It looks like this: 

Throw this mascara away after being open for six months.  As a general rule, all mascaras should be tossed after 3 to 6 months – check the packaging for your mascara’s expiration.  (Further, if you notice a change in scent or consistency to any cosmetic throw it away regardless of the date.) 

The expiration date concept brings us back to my original problem.  I am thrifty.  I also don’t want my eyes to rot out of my head because my mascara gave me some nasty infection.  

In the past, I purchased a tube of mascara and used it until it practically dried up.  Honestly, that could take ages.  A year, maybe.  A tube of mascara would always last me more than six months, and I was 100% risking the dreaded eye rot.   But at least I didn’t waste anything.  

One day, I had a brain wave.  

What if I purchased, instead of a full-sized mascara – a TRAVEL SIZED mascara? I couldn’t possibly use it for longer than the three to six months because it’s small – and even if it wasn’t used up, it was so inexpensive, that I wouldn’t care about throwing it away after six months!!  Brilliant!!!

I got myself a tube of Maybelline The Colossal mascara in the travel size.  It was right around three dollars.  The packaging is small, but the spoolie is full-sized. The expiration date on it was for six months.  I found the application easy, a bit of flaking after it was dry, but all in all a good mascara. It is quite robustly rose scented, which was a drawback for me. The travel-sized tube lasted about three months before I had to replace it. It’s a solid choice.  

Drum Roll for my favorite:

I decided to go a little higher end to see how it performed.  I purchased Benefit’s Roller Lash in the travel size – this one is $13 for the travel size (but I bought it for much less in an after Christmas sale on Sephora).  So, it is substantially more expensive than Maybelline’s The Colossal.  It applies evenly, no flaking, no clumping, no scent. 

The tube lasts for six months, and the expiration date is six months.  I’ve been using it every day for almost six months, and it was just yesterday when I thought to myself “I’m not getting as much mascara on there as I used to, I should replace this…”.

It’s perfect! The exact right amount of mascara for the precise amount of time I’m supposed to be able to USE a mascara without my eyes rotting out.  YAY!  

Now I wonder why cosmetic companies sell full sized tubes, knowing we could never use all of that mascara before time runs out?  But I suppose that’s a question for another day.  

Check Also

Our offices are closed Wednesday, December 23rd – Friday December 25th and Thursday December 31st …