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7 Myths About Lengthening and Volumizing Mascara Debunked

Your mascara actually does have an expiration date.
February 17, 2023

Minimal, no-makeup makeup routines and glamorous full faces with layers of contour and highlighter tend to have one thing in common — mascara. Mascara is a staple in many makeup routines but it’s also very personal. Some prefer to stay loyal to one formula while others rely on layers of different lengthening mascara and volumizing mascara to enhance their natural lashes. 

To take that a step even further, some swear by a fluffy brush for voluminous lashes, a waterproof mascara for longer wear or believe that a dry, older formula of mascara does a better job at separating lashes than a fresh one. These little nuances and hacks are very individualized, some are blanket statements that simply gain traction on social media but it begs the question, is there any truth to them? In honor of National Lash Day, we’re debunking seven of the most common mascara myths to separate what is fact and what is fiction. Spoiler alert — mascara definitely has an expiration date, so if you swear by old, dried-out formulas, keep reading to learn why you may want to think twice about that.

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Is Wearing Mascara Everyday Damaging?

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), wearing mascara daily can lead to irritation and damaged eyelashes if you’re not removing it correctly. They suggest using petroleum jelly to remove mascara as it lubricates the lashes without pulling and tugging. They also recommend baby shampoo because it’s gentle on the eyes and ophthalmologist-tested.

Cleansing waters and eye makeup removers are also suitable options for removing mascara because that’s exactly what they’re intended for. The L’Oréal Paris Eye Makeup Remover is a gentle, oil-free makeup cleanser that’s dermatologist approved and safe for contact wearers.

7 Mascara Myths Explained

Mascara is very personal, but the secret hack that you swear by for your fluttery lashes could be doing more harm than good. Below, we debunk seven common mascara myths.

1. Mascara Is Made From Bat Poop

This myth may sound really odd to some, but it is in fact something that beauty lovers once believed. To be clear, we can’t vouch for every mascara, but overall, bat feces doesn’t add any benefit to mascara formulas. Keep in mind, it’s also super easy to read the ingredients on the packaging of your cosmetics. We are happy to report that none of the L’Oréal Paris mascaras contain bat feces. If you're looking for a new mascara, the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Noir Balm Washable Mascara has a vegan formula that conditions the lashes while it volumizes, lifts and lengthens.

2. Mascara Lasts Forever

We’re setting the record straight — mascara does expire. According to the AAO, it’s best to toss eye makeup, like mascara and eyeliner after three months. While this seems premature, infection-causing bacteria grows easily and rapidly in creamy or liquid eye makeup formulas. In short, your old tubes of mascara are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria so it’s best to toss them after the three-month time frame.

3. It’s Okay to Share Mascara With Others Once in a While

Sharing mascara or any type of eye makeup is not a good idea for a few reasons, the main one being infection. Even if it’s something that's a last resort, all it takes is one time to get an infection. Overall, sharing any type of eye makeup product, whether it be mascara or eyeliner, with a friend, or even a sample at a store can lead to infections, like stye eyes and conjunctivitis (pink eye). So, just save yourself the trouble and don't do it.

If you do get an eye infection, toss all of your eye makeup and don’t wear any until the infection is gone, per the AAO.

4. Dry Mascara Works Better Than Wet Mascara

Some people prefer older mascaras, with the idea that a drier formula provides better volume and separation but there is no proof that this theory is true. There is proof that you have a bigger risk for infection if you’re using mascara that’s older than three months. 

If you’re looking for a good mascara formula that can separate your lashes, try the L’Oréal Paris Telescopic Instant Lift Washable Mascara. This newest member of the Telescopic mascara family adds lift and volume to your lashes while the double-hook bristle brush keeps your lashes defined and separated.

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5. Only Mascaras With a Fluffy Brush Add Volume

It’s a misconception that fluffy brushes are the only way to give your lashes volume. While a fluffy brush can help add volume to your lashes, a skinny brush can also provide volume while adding length and keeping your lashes separated. 

The L’Oréal Paris Bambi Eye Oversized Eye Washable Mascara Instant Volume is a great example. It has a tapered brush that coats each lash from the inner corner to the outer corner to add volume while stretching your lashes to lengthen and define them.

6. Lash Primer Are Essential

Eyelash primer goes on before mascara and helps to condition your lashes, boost volume and enhance your mascara application. They’re very comparable to the way makeup primer preps your skin for foundation. Is it absolutely necessary? No, but it can help to make your lashes appear more voluminous. If you want to incorporate a lash primer into your routine, try the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara Primer/Base, which helps to thicken the lashes while it conditions them. Swipe a coat on after you curl your lashes and before you apply mascara.

7. Waterproof Mascara Lasts Longer

As the name suggests, waterproof mascara won’t run down your cheek when the rain hits or when your eyes tear up. The budge-proof formula is appealing to many and it can help keep your lashes curled if they tend to be straight and stubborn. With that said, choosing to use  waterproof mascara is merely about preference. If you don’t have issues with your mascara running, then a non-waterproof formula can be a long-wearing option for you. 

If you notice smudging mascara around your eyes as your day progresses, then a waterproof formula could be really beneficial. If you’re looking for some options, we suggest the L’Oréal Paris Telescopic Instant Lift Waterproof Mascara, which helps to add lift and volume, or the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Waterproof Mascara, which gives your lashes  immense volume and length.

If you want to stick with a tried-and-true waterproof formula, the L’Oréal Paris Telescopic Original Waterproof Lengthening Mascara is praised for its lengthening abilities and lash separation.

Next: The Best Lengthening Mascaras for Long Lashes

Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Associate Creative Producer: Becca Solovay, Production Assistant: Jason Parigian, Digital Tech: Sam Kang, Photo Assistant: Hannah Lewis-Lopes, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Hair Stylist: Akihisa Yamaguchi, Wardrobe Stylist: Melina Kemph, Wardrobe Assistant: Kayla Martinez, Prop Stylist: Katrina Rozeville, Prop Assistant: Zach Molina, Model: Alexandra Cunningham

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