Ladies, I want to talk to you about mascara!

We all know the advice to replace mascara every three months; we all hear it and think “yeah, yeah…” but do you know why the advice is there?


We all have bacteria naturally present in our eyes, and around our eyelashes. When we use mascara, this bacteria transfers onto the wand and then back into the tube. A study of mascara tubes used daily found traces of Staphlococcus epidermis, Streptococcus and fungi.

Those are scary sounding names – and rightly so. Although these organisms live on our faces as part of the normal bacterial make-up of our skin, they can easily cause dangerous eye infections. Although mascara contains preservatives that prevent bacteria from breeding, it is not effective for long. It is also worth noting that heat can degrade preservatives and therefore speed up the spread of bacteria. The authors of the study recommend therefore that we discard unused mascara after three months.

This is probably irrelevant for any mascara you use in the salon – you’d be lucky if it lasted three months before it ran out! But it’s very important for your clients, who may not wear their mascara every day. A tube of mascara may last them a really long time, if nobody tells them how dangerous it can be to keep hold of it. You can help by telling them why it’s so important to change your mascara, and encouraging them to do so. One simple thing you can do that is excellent customer service: if your client buys a mascara from you, put a note in your diary for three months’ time to remind them to replace it!

As beauty professionals, something we also need to be very aware of is transferring bacteria between clients. Any transfer of germs can cause all sorts of infections and damage, so it’s really important to always use a new, microfibre disposable brush for each client – and once you’ve used it on them, never put it back into the tube! Yes, it’s a pain in the bum and wasteful to use a new brush – or more than one brush – for each client, but the last thing you want is to cause an eye infection in your client. That’s one sure way to ensure they never come back!

Talking of eye infections, did you know that any more than two coats of mascara on your lashes is a big no-no? Lots of people love to layer it on to achieve a certain look, but too much mascara can clog the oil glands on the edge of the eyelid. And a clogged oil gland means a sty, which is something nobody wants.

Watch out, be safe and be professional!

Love Alison