The average woman spends about $8 per day on her makeup or $15,000 on beauty products in her life. Eye products make up a large portion of that amount, with $3,770 spent on mascara and $2,750 on eyeshadow. To many people, beauty is one of those things that is worth splurging on. But do they place the same emphasis on their vision health?
Since makeup is such a major part of a monthly budget it can be hard to part with what seems like a perfectly good tube of eyeliner or mascara to buy a new tube. But if you aren’t savvy about keeping your makeup fresh, your eyes and vision could be at risk.
The College of Optometrists reported that more than 50% of makeup users don’t follow the basic rules for checking and replacing their cosmetics—and nearly 20% weren’t even aware that they should be doing so.
The dangers of expired eye makeup
Like most things in life, makeup has an expiration date, and it usually starts the moment you open a new package. Poor eye makeup habits can lead to allergic reactions, conjunctivitis and scratched corneas, not to mention eye infections. A good rule of thumb is to change your eye makeup out frequently (every 4-6 months) and avoid sharing it to prevent infectious spread.
Here are some quick tips to gauge when your makeup is approaching its end of life, and to keep your eyes feeling their best.
How do you know if eye makeup has gone bad?
- Mascara is good for about 2-3 months after first opening it and exposing it to the germ-filled air. Once germs enter the wet environment of the mascara tube, it’s only a matter of time before it goes bad. Bacteria can tend to thrive in moisture. Signs that your mascara is past its prime? Flaky, smelly, clumpy. Keep your vision in better condition by setting a date a few months down the road to purchase a new tube so you can avoid exposing your eyes to potentially harmful bacteria.
- Eyeshadow can sometimes seem to last forever—but its shelf life doesn’t. Plan to replace your eyeshadow every 1-2 years, and wipe down the case between uses to avoid bacterial buildup.Signs that your eyeshadow is past its prime? Crumbly, dry, less vibrant.
- Eyeliner can last up to two years. There’s no easy way to tell if it’s gone bad (unless an odd smell happens to develop). Since eyeliner is used especially close to the eye, don’t take any chances. You should plan to replace it every 2 years (or sooner) if it lasts that long. But be aware the liquid eyeliner has a much shorter life of only 2-3 months. Giving it a whiff could tell you if it’s gone bad.
More eye makeup tips for happy eyes
- Always remove your eye makeup before bed
Sleeping with your makeup could lead to oil buildup, which in turn can lead to inflammation or bacterial growth. Cut the risk by using the right products intended for eye makeup removal every night (or sooner) to avoid potential infections and hazards.
- A word on false eyelashes
Applying glue near the eye is rarely a good idea. That’s’ why false eyelashes could be doing more harm than good. Between an increased risk of scratches. infections and dry eyes, we’re all for ditching the lashes and going “eye-naturale.”
- Avoid glittery eye-products
We all love a little shimmer, shine and glamour. But glitter can have a tendency to get into the eye and cause irritation, infection or scratches. It’s generally best to avoid it altogether.
These quick tips from the FDA should guide your makeup use and application practices.
- Always wash your hands before applying makeup
- Toss expired (or smelly, crumbly, dried out) makeup
- Clean your cosmetic eye brushes regularly
- Be aware of irritations that form from makeup use (and stop using whatever is causing it)
- Avoid spitting into your eye makeup, as it’s simply introducing unnecessary bacteria to your product, and by default, to your eyes.
- Toss your makeup if you have an eye infection.
Even if your eye makeup still has plenty of life in it, you should toss all your eye makeup immediately if you happen to develop an eye infection. This will help prevent further contamination. Get your eyes checked out if the problem persists. And once the infection is cleared up, you can open a new tube of your favorite products and wisely apply again.