How To Refresh Dried-Out Mascara

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

Arguably one of the most important components in every girl’s cosmetic bag is mascara. They say the windows are the eyes to the soul, after all.

So when you go to reach for your favorite mascara, only to find out it’s dried out, you are no doubt going to want to know how to refresh dried-out mascara.

In this article, we are going to look at a few ways you can refresh your dried-out mascara, how to prevent mascara from drying out before it’s time, and how to tell when it’s time to cut your losses and get a new one.


How Long Does Mascara Last?

Mascara on Woman

Mascara has an expiry date for a reason. After a certain period of time, active ingredients no longer work, the consistency starts to deteriorate, and the product starts to dry out.

If you use the mascara after that point, you are not going to get the desired effect.

Mascaras generally last from 3-6 months after opening, depending on the brand.

Check the expiry date on the label. If you find your mascara has dried out before its expiry date, we have a few mascara refreshing hacks to try to revive it.

How To Refresh Dried-Out Mascara

Mascara Application

If your mascara is drying out but hasn’t yet reached its expiration date, here are a few tricks you can try to refresh your dried-out mascara.

Hot Water

You can try to revive a drying-out mascara by placing it into a cup of hot water with the cap tightly on. This will help soften the formula and make it less clumpy, without diluting it.

TIP: Just note that this is only a quick-fix solution, and will need to be repeated every time you apply the mascara. But you should be able to eke out a few more uses out of it.

Whatever you do…

Don’t Add Water! Trying to remoisten a drying-out mascara by diluting it with water will simply mess up the formula. Water can also introduce bacteria into your mascara. Do not add water inside the tube.

Aloe Vera Gel

Try adding a drop of aloe vera gel into your mascara tube. Replace the cap and shake well.

Eye Drops or Contact Lens Solution

Insert two droplets of eye drops or contact lens solution (saline), into your mascara tube. Since eye drops and saline are more viscous than water, they will blend with the mascara without making it too watery.

This is, of course, presuming that you are using your eye drops and contact lens solution properly and have not contaminated the bottles.

For waterproof mascara, you can try the above method with an added drop of Vitamin E oil.

TIP: The trick is to add a little at a time. Adding too many drops of saline or eye drops can make your mascara too runny. You can always add more, but you can’t take it away.

How To Prevent Your Mascara From Drying Out

Mascara Application

Now mascara will eventually dry out regardless of what you do. But there are a few things you can do and avoid doing to ensure you get the maximum shelf life of your mascara.

Never Pump Your Wand

Don’t pump your wand in and out of the mascara tube.

Pumping your mascara will force air and bacteria into the tube, which will then become trapped. This can lead to eye infections and will also make the mascara dry out and break down faster than it normally would.

Screw Your Cap on Tightly

Always make sure the cap is securely tightened when you are not using it. Air is your mascara’s worst enemy when it comes to drying out.

Keep Stored in a Cool Place

Keep your mascara stored in a cool, dry place, away from heat and direct sunlight.

Know When To Cut Your Losses

No products found.

We all want to make our product last as long as possible and can’t bear the thought of throwing something away if it’s not finished.

What a waste!

But the shelf life of mascara begins when you open it. So whether or not there is still mascara in the tube and you’ve had it for 6 months, it’s definitely time to get a new one.

The shelf life of mascara is about 3-6 months. It will depend on the brand, how often you are using it, and how you are taking care of it.

If you’ve tried the methods above and they didn’t work, it’s time to let go.

But not to worry because this gives you an excuse to go shopping!

Top Mascaras 

We’ve put together a list of some excellent mascaras in different categories to give you a head start.

Best All-Around Mascara: Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara 

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara 0.27 Ounce Full Size
  • Hourglass shaped brush for voluptuous...
  • This formula thickens, lengthens, and...
  • FILM-FORMING POLYMER-Locks curl into...

With a name like that, you know it’s gotta be good. Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara gets rave reviews due to its lengthening, volumizing formula that separates lashes. 

It comes with an hourglass-shaped brush that coats every single lash from every single angle, so you can build and enhance to your heart’s desire, and this is the reason this is our pick for the Best all-around mascara.

Best Vegan Mascara: Milk Makeup KUSH High Volume Mascara 

Made with 100% vegan ingredients, like hemp-derived cannabis seed oil, KUSH High Volume Mascara gives you long, soft, pliable, conditioned lashes. The result is lots of volume without feeling weighed down.

Best Mascara For Exercise: Eyeko Sport Waterproof Mascara 

Sport Waterproof Mascara - Length, Definition, Buildable - With Collagen, Ceramides, and Vitamin E - Vegan 8ml
  • Waterproof and workout-friendly
  • Contains collagen, ceramides and fibres...
  • Enriched with 12 fruit extracts to leave...
  • Intense Color
  • Contains Vitamin E

You can sweat all you want. Eyeko Sport Waterproof Mascara gives you thick, defined, non-clumpy lashes that won’t smear, run or melt off.

Best Waterproof Mascara: Lancôme Monsieur Big Waterproof Mascara 

Lancôme Monsieur Big Waterproof Mascara - Volumizing Mascara For Up To 12x More Volume & 24H Wear - False Lash Effect - Black
  • VOLUMIZING MASCARA - with a false lash...
  • WAVY FIBERS - Innovative bristle fibers...
  • BIG FORMULA - Our blackest formula with...

The waterproof formula instantly darkens, lengthens, volumizes and thickens your lashes with nary a smudge.

Best Mascara for Sensitive Eyes: Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara 

It’s ophthalmologist- and dermatologist-tested, as well as hypoallergenic—plus it’s free of mineral oil, parabens, and phthalates, and is safe for those who wear contacts. Its formula curls, lengthens, volumizes, and conditions lashes.

Best Curling Mascara: Clinique High Impact Curling Mascara 

The arched shape of Clinique’s High Impact Curling Mascara’s wand gives you the boldest, most fluttery lashes without pinching, tugging, or tearing. It lifts every last lash that’s smudge-, flake-, and smear-resistant and lasts for up to 24-hours.

See also:

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).