Safe and Sound: Have You Ever Actually HAD an Infection From Mascara?

By | April 13 2010 | 40 Comments

Lynnie’s post last week about POA – period after opening – got me thinking about when I do and don’t chuck beauty bits out. My MO is to throw based on not liking something, rather than hygiene.

While there are definite concerns about water- and oil-based creams and liquids because these environments are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria (and that’s why we have paraben or other preservatives in them), the fact is, powder products, containing no water, are generally going to be fine until time immemorial unless you’re doing ganky things like spitting into your eyeshadow to wet it. In which case, maybe amend your approach, eh?

But before you start thinking this is another nefarious beauty industry trick to fool us into throwing out perfectly good stuff in order to buy more, the POA symbol is not quite as cynical as all that and can be looked at within the context of health and safety law – food manufacturers are subject to even stricter rules, for example.

But the fact is, we’re always reading articles on blogs and in mags and newspapers about the dangers of old cosmetics. That leads to a lot of worry and expense among consumers, and as noted above, yes, creams and water- and oil-based items can be a breeding ground for bacteria, but, well, I’m inclined to think you’ve got a bit of leeway unless something reeks to high heaven or has started to separate.

So, with that in mind, have you ever had a reaction from a mascara due to its grand age and senile character? Have your eyes tingled terrifyingly with pink eye, conjunctivitis or styes as a result of a wand that was three months and ONE DAY OLD? If so, leave us a comment and lets try and establish some real-gal facts around this issue.

Eyes , ,

40 Replies to "Safe and Sound: Have You Ever Actually HAD an Infection From Mascara?"

  • Perfect Brunette says:

    I hadn’t,but my friend once bought brand new mascara i think it was Max factor or Loreal and got infection…eh…

  • Aphrodite says:

    Well… not from using one 24 hours past its prime – but from stupidly using a friends mascara years ago. I got terrible conjunctivitis that lasted for an unbelievably long time
    Never again!

  • Aphrodite says:

    Lovely picture btw – I think that’s close to how I looked!

  • FrogPrincess says:

    I think the problem lies with using other people’s mascara. It’s just not a hygienic thing to do. But it sometimes seems like a grrreaat idea with a few glasses of wine down ya! I have had eye infections in the past but not necessarily caused by mascara I don’t think. But if I ever get an infection I bin my mascara straightaway so that it doesn’t harbour any nasties for the next time!!! just in case. I haven’t had any problems with keeping mascara beyond 3 months…yet! (she said…). I only use it occasionally and can’t justify buying a new one so often.

  • Glamazon says:

    I have never had an infection from using old mascara and I never throw it out after 3 months – only when it starts feeling not right or dryer (don’t use it everyday so would be a complete waste if I followed the 3 month rule). I did once get a stye (and subsequently a cyst) from leaving mascara on overnight but that’s a whole n’other story.

  • daiseeboo says:

    Nope, never had any sort of infection from cosmetics other than yucky spots from being a lazy cow and not cleaning it off properly or an allergic reaction to skincare that is!

  • BerG says:

    That pic is terrifying. Thats news to me on the 3monts time frame on mascara’s. I keep them for longer, and in general have no ill effects.
    I did get an eye infection though after a friend used my eye liner, so never share eye makeup now as a rule.
    Generally hold onto stuff i love until the lipstick’s bubble or the products smell, i know thats terrible. I don’t actually use them but can’t bear to be parted from them. Do a clear out every 2 years or so.

  • twinkle says:

    Hmm I am v.suspicious of using old mascara in theory, but in practice I am v.broke but I try to change mine every 3 or 4 months, I got a stye before Christmas and I’m blaming an old mascara. Perhaps I have sensitive eyes tho as I get infections sometimes from this red colour that goes into purple makeup. Now I am to be vcareful with eyeliners and such. Once treated myself to YSL effet faux cils in purple, which really makes hazely eyes like mine stand out(but its not purple mascara in the I’m 14yrs old sense) only to have an eye infection for a week, itchy as f*** too. Needless to say my sister was delira as she got the brand new sexy mascara! Have to shamefully admit to the old grab-a-friends-mascara-when-sloshed move though!

  • Glamazon says:

    Twinkle :) I dread someone asking me can they borrow any of my make-up in the loos when out – how do you say no politely? I’d never let anyone use my eye or lips stuff but I have had friends asking to use my power puff or something and I can’t use it then until I wash it. I stand there watching them using it whilst trying to make my horror-struck grimmace look like a smile.

  • Bettyboop says:

    Woke up with a stye/beginning of conjunctivitis one morning and nearly sure it was down to not taking my eye makeup off completely with a proper eye-makeup remover. Bit scary as couldnt open my eye completely!
    Perhaps it was the mascara too, can’t recall if it was out of date or not but knowing me, it probably was! Anyway I thought it was great, day off work! :) and once the doctor prescribed me antibiotics it was basically gone in 24 hours. Obv don’t want it to happen again though so use eye-makeup remover now and replace mascara usually every 6-8 months.

  • LouLaBelles says:

    I had an old Chanel Mascara I loved and couldnt afford to buy a new one so I often used the old one, then kept waking up with bloodshot eyes, puffy eyes and they were really dry, went to get an eye test and I had slight infection, binned the mascara when i got ome and havent had bloodshot eyes since. Mascara can get so dirty and nasty looking, think its number 1 thing we should bin after a few months.

  • daiseeboo says:

    Glamazon – :lol: I am exactly the same. I hate seeing people share there make up out like that. I can only allow myelf to give something out of a pump bottle and even that is at a stretch. The best way of getting out of it is to say you have just had a cold sore/infection yourself and would be afraid of spreading it, works every time.

  • Cindz1222 says:

    Since I am lucky enough to be able to use cheapo Avon mascaras (I should mention that I am also an unempolyed mom of 2), I can afford to buy a new mascara every few months. Generally stick with black or brown, and I can safely say I never spend more than €10 on a mascara.

    Also very afraid of sharing makeup (lipsticks included cos I have a fear of fever blisters, not actually ever had one, but I live in fear), so I will politely refuse on the grounds that “I am feeling the tingle, so I may give you a fever blister…” if I am ever asked. But since we are broke, and never get to go out to fancy places such as clubs, I don’t have that worry :0)

  • MsSittingatherdeskandpretendingtowork says:

    It’s a conspiracy by the cosmetic giant overlords to make us buy more products!

    Jebus, I bawk at the idea of sharing cosmetics. Gack. It’s like sharing underwear…manky.

  • poptart says:

    I never get eye infections, and I only change my mascara when it gets too dry (usually after about 8 or 9 months) – although I would never share mascara so I suppose that helps!

  • Glamazon says:

    Daiseeboo – good to know I am not alone! My friends generally wouldn’t ask for eye or lip stuff but if anyone did it is easy to use the old conjuncty/coldsore excuse but what do you say when it is face powder? Apart from ‘no you are two sweaty and will infect my compact’ or ‘sorry, I actually have leprosy’ I don’t know of any excuse. What is far worse is when a stranger asks for your hairbrush.

  • Polly says:

    I just threw out a Max Factor Masterpiece mascara after one year! I noticed the other day it had a slight whiff so I binned it. I’d been using it up to that with no ill effects though.
    I’m sure as a teenager I probably kept the same mascara for a lot longer. I didn’t know about the 3 month rule then and didn’t use it much anyway so i must have had it for years!
    As for sharing mascara – isn’t that like sharing your toothbrush? ew! :)

  • daiseeboo says:

    Glamazon – at that stage I think you have only two options left, sneeze on it or lick it :lol: then see how much they want to use it.

  • sevda says:

    I don’t use OP’s mascaras but keep them for way more then 3 months. Sure if you think to too much you’d drive yourself mad. What about when you get your make done in BT’s for eg- aren’t the eyeshawdows just there lying there being poked by loads of people.

    I get a stye every year but I can always put it down to being wrecked – never the product.

  • Sha Sha says:

    5th year in school…epidemic of conjunctivitis..NEVER share massacre(sic) or eye liner..yuk

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