Does Mascara Cause Styes? Is There A Way To Avoid Them?

LuxeLuminous is reader supported. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. So, naturally, most of us want our eyes to look beautiful! One of the most classic ways to achieve that is with mascara. In fact, mascara is one of the first makeup products to exist. 

It’s also one of the most important products people use in their makeup routine. It’s simple, it’s quick, and it’s transformative.

So it’s no wonder you want your mascara to be safe for your eyes.

But does mascara cause styes? Yes, it can cause eye infection issues, including styes.

Read on for all the details.


Does Mascara Cause Styes?

Your eyelashes have tons of bacteria and microbes on them naturally — most of them harmless. So your mascara wand gets “infected” the first time you use it!

These microorganisms love the dark, moist environment of your mascara tube. It’s a perfect breeding ground for them. 

Many cosmetics do contain preservatives that will slow bacterial growth. However, over time bacteria will build up in the tube.

This may lead to eye infections like pink eye or styes. Other potential risks include fungal infections, irritation, redness, and itchiness.

That doesn’t mean you should throw away your mascaras after the first use! Can you imagine the waste?

All you have to do is take care of how you’re using these products, and you can prevent many unwanted and painful eye problems.

All you have to do is take care of how you’re using these products, and you can prevent many unwanted and painful eye problems.

How to Avoid Eye Infections from MAscara

A little bit of hygiene and careful practice will go a long way in protecting your eyes. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when using mascara, or really any makeup product that goes on your eyes.

No Direct Contact 

Small particles of makeup can easily cross the short distance from your lashes to your very sensitive eyes. This can cause irritation and dryness. If you wear contacts, it’s even worse.

The lenses may trap the particles inside, preventing them from being washed away. 

One way you can avoid this is to not line your waterline. Many makeup tutorials show lining the waterline with white eyeliner to make your eyes look bigger.

Another similarly harmful makeup technique is applying mascara to the roots of your lashes. If you know your eyes might react adversely to these makeup tips, please avoid them. 

Don’t Share 

Yeah, you want to share your awesome new mascara with your bestie. But in this case, sharing is NOT caring.

Sharing makeup that is directly applied to your eyes or sharing tools like makeup brushes highly increases the risk of infection. When you go to a beauty salon or even a makeup store, always make sure they’re using clean makeup brushes on you.

If you find a tester you like, just swatch it on your arm to see what it looks like. Never use it directly on your eye or even your face.

This prevents you from getting an infection and helps your family and friends with whom you probably shared your makeup.

Sharing makeup that is directly applied to your eyes or sharing tools like makeup brushes highly increases the risk of infection.

Get Rid of Old Makeup

As painful as it may be to throw away your favorite mascara, you have to do it every 3 or 4 months. Most tubes have an expiration date that clearly says that the product expires after 3 or 4 months. 

No matter how much is left in the tube, it’s time to say goodbye. You may be able to revive old mascara and use it one or two more times, but don’t push it.

This rule goes for other eye products too. If you can’t finish the whole tube, buy travel-size products you can part with in 3 to 4 months without regret. 

Don’t Sleep Without Removing Your Makeup

We know, we know. You’re tired after a night out, and all you want to do is go to sleep. Removing your makeup and going through your whole skincare routine is the last thing you want to do.

But if you don’t remove your makeup, it can clog oil glands and pores, which will not only cause eye problems but also cause pimples and breakouts on the rest of your face. 

So make sure to remove your makeup (especially mascara!) before bed and if you have sensitive eyes, use a gentle makeup remover. 

Read Your Labels

We often don’t pay attention to what our makeup is made up of, and this ignorance can lead to eye problems and even more serious health problems.

Always aim to buy products that are organic, fragrance-free, or hypoallergenic. Many cosmetics that contain fragrance often cover up the smell of other chemicals in the product. 

Try not to buy products with ingredients like parfums, preservatives, lead, nickel, sulfates, added color, cadmium, or parabens. But hey, at least you can be confident mascara doesn’t contain bat poop!

How do you Get Rid of a Stye?

A stye is a pimple-like red bump that develops on the outer edge of the eyelid. It is painful and irritating, so naturally, you’d want it to go away. Apart from keeping the area clean, here are four ways you can get rid of a stye:

A Warm Compress

This is probably the most effective and the easiest method to treat a stye, as the warmth brings the pus to the surface and dissolves the pus and the oil. This helps the stye to drain naturally.

All you have to do is soak a washcloth in warm water and place it on your eye for 5-10 minutes. Don’t press too hard; just place it gently. Do this 3 or 4 times a day.

Antibiotic Ointments

You can use antibiotic ointments to treat a stye. Do not use topical steroids as they may cause side effects. 

To use the ointment, pull the lid of the affected eye and apply the ointment inside the eyelid. Use a very small amount, about the same size as your stye.

A Warm Teabag

A warm teabag works exactly like a warm washcloth, but it has added benefits. Black teas have antibacterial properties, and they help reduce swelling.

Just make yourself some tea, save the teabag, and use it exactly like the warm compress. It’s recommended to do this twice a day. 

Massaging the Area

To speed up the process, you can massage the area with a clean wipe. When the stye drains, clean the area and avoid touching your eyes. If massaging hurts, stop immediately.


Mascara was actually made to protect the eyes, all the way back in 4000 BC in Ancient Egypt. It acted as an additional layer to shield the eyes from sunlight.

If the Ancient Egyptians could take care of their eyes while having long and beautiful lashes, so can we. 

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).