April 20, 2017

The My Mascara Stopped Working Phenomenon

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You ever purchase a great moisturizer and suddenly your life is transformed. Your skin is so much brighter, your friends are telling you look ten years younger, your complexion is smooth and soft, it’s a miracle. All this makes you want to invest your savings into stocks of your brand new, miraculous moisturizer. You want to go out and buy a case of it because you simply can’t live your life without it.

A month later, it stops working.

Your skin isn’t as bright, your friends have stopped complimenting you, and that case of moisturizer in your closet is no longer a miracle but more like a ball and chain around your neck.

So, this probably happened to you before right?

But what about the my mascara stopped working phenomenon (sounds like a Big Bang Theory episode doesn’t it?) have you experienced that? I mean you probably know about the mini mascara dilemma by now but what about the fact that your mascara suddenly, mysteriously stops working. One minute you have long, fluttery lashes and the next you have stubby flat lashes!

So, I’ve been using Maybelline Volum’ Express The Colossal Big Shot Mascara which I hated when I first used it. I tried it a few times and was all, “This is doing nothing for my lashes!” Fast forward a week later and you’re have to wrestle me to the floor to get this out of my hand. I found out that curling my lashes and applying a few coats of this created super long, full lashes. It was love! Everyone was telling me how great my lashes were looking! Life was good.

After three weeks the formula suddenly stopped working for me. Now it’s creating a clumpy mess! What happened? Why did it stop working?

It’s not just Volum’ Express The Colossal Big Shot Mascara though. This happens to me quite a lot with mascara even my beloved Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes seems to lose it’s effect after a month of use. There is good news here! If I crack open a new tube, I’ll instantly get good results. Since I toss drugstore mascara out after a 90 days anyway it’s not a big deal.

But I really want to know the mystery behind the formula not working after a month or so.

It’s a conspiracy. Either that or I suspect the formula just begins to morph after while since you’re constantly opening and reopening the tube and sliding the applicator in and out of the tube.

Does your mascara suddenly stop working after a while?

Are we just bored and imagining it?

What do you think of the My Mascara Stopped Working Phenomenon?

Have you been a victim of it?

Do share!

I receive a small commission if you shop through my link.

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • L

    My HG is waterproof Buxom lash. It’s the only mascara I buy over and over that works amazingly every time. I used to like L’Oreal Voluminous but similar to you, after a couple of tubes I was suddenly like, this is not working like it used to!

    • Isabella Muse

      I haven’t tried Buxom Lash, or at least I don’t think I have?! haha mascaras senior moment!

  • Dee

    Not with mascara but with face cream. I would love to know why this happens!

    • Isabella Muse

      that one I can answer, if you’re moisturizer is in a jar it’s likely the air hitting it and making the ingredients unstable and off. this can happen as quickly as a month if your moisturizer is in a jar! And most are sadly!

      • Agona

        That’s why most jars are designed to hold a month worth of product (1oz, daily 2x use)!

        • Isabella Muse

          no kidding! I didn’t know that. I typically toss drugstore after a month but hang on to high end for 3 months!

          • Agona

            I found out from my esthetician (when I was seeing one regularly)–she could tell if my skin was particularly dry or whatever based on how much I used. She’d also tell me not to scoop but rather touch my finger to the cream and lift up vertically and then spread on the face so as to not use too much product. You should only need to do this 2-3 times (I’m bad at this. I tend to scoop & slather, but I know I’m going through my jar too quickly).
            However, I also don’t vary my skin care like I do my makeup. I only use one skin care line and replace items as I use them up. So I don’t have the issue of an opened jar sitting around for more than a month anyway.

  • Kristin

    I think it has to do with air in the tube. They start off too wet and they don’t build and layer as much as we want but after some air gets introduced to the tube, the mascara dries out a bit and spreads better. Fast forward to a few weeks after that and too much air makes them dry and crumbly.

    • Isabella Muse

      You’re probably right, after capping, recapping, and pushing the applicator in and out several hundred times I imagine the air morphs the formula!

      • Ami

        Late to the party but: This is why you’re not supposed to “pump” mascara wands to put more product on, but TWIRL in the tube. This cuts down on the amount of air let into the tube and can help prolong the product to its expected end date.

  • Littlecreek

    This is why I hate buying a high priced mascara. It always seems like after 5ish weeks things start to change then I feel like I wasted my money. Blah. If only mascara didn’t make all our eyes look so damn good.

    • Isabella Muse

      I typically ditch drugstore after 30 days but I try to make it until month 3 with higher end because I feel like I’m wasting money to toss before that! ugh!

        • Isabella Muse

          yeah I know πŸ™‚ I was trying to say 30 days but 90 got typed out who knows where my head is πŸ™‚ multitasking.

  • diane

    mascara formulas definitely change! it’s weird. some formulas aren’t amazing for me until a week or so in. My educated guess would be like you said, the opening and closing and air getting in affects it. sometimes adding a drop of argan oil helps a formula that starts to feel dry for me.

    • Isabella Muse

      Yup! I agree! It’s def opening and getting air in it that causes the issues. I’m going to dry your argan oil trick πŸ˜€

  • Julie McNeill

    I bought cover girl STAR WARS super sizer mascara in Vegas. Best tiny brush , worked miracles on my baby Asian lashes. Beat out YOUNIQUES mascara by miles!!! Couldn’t find it in Canada bought it because Iam a Star Wars fan!!! Sad I didn’t buy more. They’re REAL by benefit has been dissapointing me , purminerals-smells just weird, only used it once

  • PDO

    They dry out. We must find a hack for this dilemma. Add a drop of oil? Add a drop of water? Who knows….

      • Carrie Olds

        A drop or two of saline solution works every time for me! I can get at least 3 more weeks out of a tube after I do that.

        • Paula

          Yes – saline works well for me too, just not too much. One drop, mix, and next day add another drop if needed.

        • Valigator

          I second the saline solution trick! I will add a drop or two or multipurpose contact solution and it totally revives my mascara (plus added disinfectant benefits).

  • Sarah

    This is the bane of my existence muse! I will get a brand new mascara try it on, love it then days later it clumps and becomes worthless. I keep telling myself to stop trying high end mascara for this very reason. My poor stubby lashes wind up looking like a clumpy mess 90% of the time.

    • Isabella Muse

      omg me too! I can get maybe like three weeks from a tube but after that clumpy mess!

  • Kathleen Dorsam

    My theory is they used to have something really bad like “Tar” in it and they took it out. So now they dry out, aren’t shiny & don’t hold a curl.

  • Agona

    It’s the air. After so many uses, it changes (dries out) formula/ingredients. Once that happens, I open a new tube of mascara. 3 months seems to be average, some formulas last longer than others. Sometimes, the stopper gets gooped up over time and I have to wipe off the brush before use because the stopper is not effective anymore.

    I sometimes notice something similar with lip glosses. Not that they goop up but last month, I tossed a lip gloss because I looked into the tube and saw particles (food? dead skin?) floating around in there and it grossed me out.

    • Agona

      I should mention that I only wear mascara a few times a week. If I wore it every day (aka opening and closing the tube every day), it would probably be closer to 30 days than 3 months, like you were saying Muse. This is why I feel like mascaras are the most annoying of all makeup items–you have to replace them the most frequently compared to anything else. …or else, clump lashes city!

  • Nadia Antwan Ryan

    I wouldn’t use oils to help the mascara last longer. It will change the formula and its unstable. I’ve used plain Saline solution ( a few drops) and that has worked for me. It’s also sterile, and the oil isn’t. Hope that helps!

  • Jennifer

    I love the IT Cosmetics Superhero mascara and that stuff is pricey! After about 2.5 months it is no good. It is very frustrating. I end up going to a drugstore mascara in-between because I can’t see spending another $24 that soon.

    • Isabella Muse

      likewise ! I have a love/hate relationship with Superhero anyway but after a month it’s a goopey dry mess!

  • Leslie

    Chiming in on my love/hate for Superhero IT Mascara…..works a treat for about 3 weeks…then…blechhhh. I have the same issue with Benefit REAL. Actually I’ve been looking my whole life for the perfect mascara…never going to happen. πŸ™‚

    • Isabella Muse

      LOL I think I have too. I sometimes feel like Tarte Lights, Camera Lashes is my HG but I’m always searching for something new πŸ˜€

  • Angela

    My favorite, Lancôme definicils precious cells, works amazing – for about 2 months. And then, probably due to the air ingress, it’s clumpy and I can’t work with it. For $35 a tube, that’s hard to accept – but I keep trying other cheaper ones and I keep going back to Lancôme LOL. And with my newest definicils tube (just opened last week), the swiper doesn’t work and I’ve been having to wipe off my wand with a tissue (all. that. product!!) or I end up with three extremely clumpy lashes LOL. Not a good look.

  • Brandy

    I’ve been using Maybelline Lash Sensational along with Maybelline The Rocket. The Lash Sensational is kind of wet for the first week but is amazing after that. After about a month and a half to two months though, it’ll start to get clumpy and I end up with dingleberries on my lashes. Lol.

  • Gina Bullard

    Oh girls, you’re killing me, I’m using Chanel Le Volume right now, and I’m “In Love!!!” I don’t splurge for it often, but I did this time, and it’s still only two weeks old. Even this high-end lovely will only last for about two months, and then it’s unworkable. However, in the meantime, I have what looks like false lashes!!! This stuff is amazing.

    I think all of you are right about the influx of air in the wand’s chamber – that is particularly why I don’t “dip” any more than I have to. I do both eyes with right out of the gate. I do my bottom lashes with MAC’s Gigablack lash. I love it, the brush is so tiny – it gets every little lash – ones you didn’t know you had. It’s also SO black – I hit the ends of my top lashes too, and cap them off. I’m such a lash FREAK. Forgive me, I’m obsessed……

    • Isabella Muse

      I hope it continues working, Gina!!!!!!! ;-D haha no you’re not we totally get it πŸ˜€

  • Mrs C M Dyson

    Permit me to rant/vent about Benefit’s Air Patrol Eye Primer that lasted about 3 months and then dried up and was unusable. £27.00 ! Never had this problem with the face primers but seriously disappointed with this, kicking myself for the 5star review I gave it ….

    • Agona

      I hate poor packaging. You would think they’d design some sort of airtight delivery method if the product drying up is going to be an issue!

  • erin

    This is why I’m OBSESSED with minis! I’m thinking about buying one or two more of the set currently available at Sephora inside JCP since they are 15% off right now. It comes with two minis I know I am obsessed with/like a whole lot (Tarteist Lash Paint and Benefit’s They’re Real – plus the voucher for the full size) and I get full use out of the tube before it dries out/gets flaky/stops working. The exception to this of course is drugstore mascara, because I get that free so I don’t care that it’s a full size tube that gets chucked 30 days into it. If only there was a way a company could formulate a new tube that has like, an air lock applicator or something! LOL

    • Isabella Muse

      I swear minis are the best! They are always so much better than full-size mascaras haha!

  • Liz

    Sometimes I think the formula starts to dry out way more quickly than I’d like it to. On a whim, I squirted a half a spray of MAC’s fix plus – and my mascara was back to being fabulous. This also worked with my elf mist & set. As for not liking a re-purchase upon opening, maybe it was already old in the store. Even some drugstores have a great return policy, or try the half a spritz of fix plus (or something like it).

  • Roberta

    A mascara trick/hint from a former professional makeup artist of 25 years:
    DO NOT PUMP your mascara!
    Gently insert the brush into the tube and pull out. That should (hopefully) solve the mystery of your mascara changing on you. Pumping does 2 things to ruin your mascara: 1) It adds more air into the tube and dries the formula out faster. 2) It pushes the mascara to the sides of the tube where it will stick to the sides (where you can’t get to it and it dries out quicker) and you will have access to less fresh mascara on the brush each time. Hope that helps! πŸ™‚

      • Roberta

        You’re quite welcome. πŸ™‚ I love mini mascaras too, by the way-especially if they are in a free gift with purchase! Not only do I feel less guilty when I have to toss it in the trash….but I enjoy the smaller brush and shorter wand. I have long lashes but unfortunately they are blonde and baby fine, just like my hair so, the smaller mini mascara tubes help me to get in there better and cover all those baby fine light hairs. It’s also a great way to try a new mascara if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one.