Several studies have warned of the dangers that outdated cosmetics and mascaras can pose. Based on large samples of expired beauty products, they showed that most contained bacteria, some of which could even cause fatal diseases.
Many women tend to use their makeup long after the expiration date. In December 2018, Shirley Potter, a 50-year-old Australian, paid the price by finding herself blind because of her 20-year-old mascara…
No matter how much you turn your lipstick tube in all directions, you will not see the mention "best before: see the back". On the other hand, if you pay attention, you will discover on your mascara or your foundation a small pictogram representing an open jar. On it is noted a number followed by M.
Beware of mascara, not so harmless © Alliance Images
It actually indicates how long you can continue to use the product, after opening. Or in the jargon of the European Union “the optimal duration of use after opening without harm to the consumer (PAO)”.
The pictograms below therefore indicate that you can keep the product for 1 to 36 months. But you still need to remember the date on which you opened the product! Not easy… In general, make-up products generally keep for 3 months to 1 year.
An expiration date that differs according to the cosmetics © graficriver_icons_logo
In any case, this is what is indicated on most tubes of mascara: 6M, in other words, a tube of mascara would keep for 6 months. However, cosmetic experts advise not to keep a mascara for more than 3 months. Indeed, mascara, like many other cosmetics, is essentially made up of water. However, water-based products present a high risk of bacterial contamination.
A Brazilian study has shown that many women do not pay enough attention to the consumption limit of their mascara(1). Thus, on a sample of 44 students, it turned out that nearly 98% of the participants use or have already used make-up when it was already expired.
Expired make-up carries bacteria © S_L
In addition, the microbiological analysis revealed the presence of 2 pathogenic bacteria in nearly 80% of the mascaras tested: Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. Another British study from London Metropolitan University, for its part, highlighted the presence of Eubacterium, Aeromonas, or even Propionibacterium, which can respectively be the cause of vaginal infections, infections stomach, or cause acne(2).
Read next page: take care of your skincare products!