Does Mascara Kill Eyelash Mites? Is That a Good Thing?

Beautiful woman applying mascara on her eyelashes
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The moisture on your face and skin cells provide the necessary food for eyelash mites. Eight-legged arachnids like these can be found in every continent on the planet. Several species of these are found on humans, including Demodex Folliculorum and Demodex Brevis

The mites are usually called Demodex. Mites are good at cleaning excess oils and dead skin on their hosts. Unfortunately, the mites can populate, and you end up with them in your eyelashes.

As a result, you might suffer acne, hair loss, or rosacea. In addition, you are especially vulnerable to eyelash infection and blepharitis. 

Does Mascara Kill Eyelash Mites? Is there anything it can’t do?!

Keep reading below to find out!


What Are Eyelash Mites?

A naked eye cannot see mites since they are microscopic. Hair follicles are naturally home to them, where they have a source of dead cells to eat.

Most eyelashes will be affected by D. Folliculorum. 

This particular type of mite feeds on dead skin cells on your lashes and eyelids.


These mites are present in everyone, but can still spread from person to person. In large numbers, mites can cause problems, resulting in further skin problems. Mites may also exacerbate pre-existing skin conditions.

Seeing as eyelash mites can’t be seen, they cannot be detected by sight alone. However, if you suspect a mite outbreak around your eyes, it is important to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Look out for itching, redness, inflammation, unexplained tearing, and sensations of something in the eye.

Look out for itching, redness, inflammation, unexplained tearing, and sensations of something in the eye.

Does Mascara Kill Eyelash Mites?

No, mascara doesn’t kill eyelash mites. Very few things do, except maybe tea tree oil or prescription medication. Usually, you don’t need to mess with them at all, unless there’s something unusual going on.

But what will happen is that your mascara brush will get mites on it every time you use it, and those mites will enter the mascara tube when you put your mascara away.

Can Eyelash Mites Survive in Your Mascara Tube?

Although Demodex mites can survive on the skin’s surface for just a few hours, they can live for days if the environment is damp. Demodex don’t do well in a mascara tube, as they have no food and no place to lay their eggs. 

Thank goddess, you might be thinking. But the bad news isn’t over. The waste they accumulate throughout their lives is expelled at once when they die. Now that is gross!

It is recommended that you get rid of mascara every 2-3 months to prevent bacterial growth

Make a habit of removing mascara when its expiration date approaches or when its condition reaches that point. If you add water to mascara, then it will nourish bacteria. And if you pump it more than once, it will introduce air. This will motivate bacteria to increase, something you don’t want near your eyes. 

If you add water to mascara, then it will nourish bacteria. And if you pump it more than once, it will introduce air.

Is It Possible to Transfer Eyelash Mites From Your Eye to the Bottle?

Your mascara tube may be stuffed with Demodex that lives on your eyelashes when they are scooped onto an applicator. You may find that your mascara is great one day, and it is dry and clumpy the next day. Or maybe it’s starting to flake off.

Even though mites are generally innocuous, it is not a good idea to use mite-filled mascara! It is better to toss the tube rather than use it.

Unless you look under a microscope, you won’t be able to tell if your mascara is filled with mites.

The Demodex mite is a tiny mite measuring less than 1/2 millimeter. Few things kill them, except for tea tree oil. Their only time to be active is at night because they are light averse. The follicle to the oil glands on your eyelashes is where they spend their entire 2-week life cycle.

How to Prevent Eyelash Mites

  1. Does that gross you out and vow never to use mascara again? No? If you still wish to use mascara, it is a good idea to use a cleanser that will kill the mites and bacteria. There are cleaners specifically for removing make-up and killing mites in the process.
  2. You must never share mascara. This is because you can transfer mites from one person’s lashes to another via the tube. So while it is nice to share, mascara is one thing we should keep to ourselves.
  3. Ensure you replace your mascara every 2-3 months. The older it is, the more bacteria and germs have grown on it. This creates a wonderful home for mites.


It is yuck to learn there are mites on our mascara, isn’t it? Truth is, they are naturally on our bodies where there is hair.

Most of us either don’t think about it or don’t know they exist. No need to make the problem worse by using contaminated, old mascara though!

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).