What’s worse than having your only mascara turn to sticky, unusable gloop overnight? How about only realising that it’s gone gungey as you pull the wand out of the tube to apply it, seconds before rushing out the door to a wedding? When there’s zero opportunity to get a replacement and the thoughts of going without leave you feeling a bit faint?
That’s the situation I found myself in the other day, suited and booted and blowdried and (almost) fully made up, about three minutes before the last possible moment we could leave for the ceremony. To add insult to injury, I’d actually bought a new Lancome Virtuouse only a week before in duty free, but hadn’t bothered to bring it with me.
Feeling increasingly frantic, I had a moment of madness and decided to break a cardinal beauty rule. I heated up the tube for a few minutes in a glass of hot water until the contents liquified to a more normal viscous mascara-like state.
It’s definitely not something I’d recommend: mascara has a three month shelf life of normal, non warmed up use for a reason. That’s because the moist environment of the tube is already the perfect breeding ground for air-borne bacteria that might be introduced to it with each applicatory pump, without any extra warmth being added to the mix.
Past that three month window, the antibacterial agent usually found either in the mascara itself or on the brush ceases to function, which is why you’re supposed to chuck it to avoid inadvertently winding up with an eye infection.
My tube of mascara was hovering around that three month mark when I decided to (ill-advisedly) warm it up, and I obviously chucked the mascara immediately after that last-gasp use. Still, desperate times call for desperate measures and all that.
And I have to admit that these particular desperate measures worked like a dream.