Investigation on the use of expired make-up and microbiological contamination of mascaras

Int J Cosmet Sci. 2013 Aug;35(4):375-80. doi: 10.1111/ics.12053. Epub 2013 May 22.


Objectives: This study investigated the habits of female students regarding make-up use, and quantifies the microbiological contamination of mascaras worn by this population.

Methods: To this end, 44 students answered a structured questionnaire to evaluate the use of expired make-up, shared usage and reports of adverse effects. Subsequently, make-up samples were collected to check the manufacturing registration and the expiration date and its visibility on the label. The total counts of microorganisms and identification of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus in mascara samples collected were performed as described in the Brazilian Pharmacopea (4th edition)

Results: According to the results obtained, 97.9 % (43/44) of participants reported that they use or have previously used make-up after the expiration date, with mascara being the most frequently mentioned product. It was observed that on the sample collection date, 70.5% (31/44) of the students had some type of expired make-up. The microbiological analysis of 40 mascara samples revealed 2.54 ± 1.76 10(4) UFC mL(-1) bacteria and 2.55 ± 1.54 10(4) UFC mL(-1) fungi. Analysis revealed the presence of S. aureus in 79% of samples and of P. aeruginosa in 13%.

Conclusion: The results are interesting because they show that women tend to continue to use make-up beyond the expiry date. Frequently, these products have a high level of contamination with pathogenic microorganisms.

Keywords: Pseudomonas aeruginosa; Staphylococcus aureus; make-up; make-up expiration date; mascaras.

MeSH terms

  • Colony Count, Microbial*
  • Cosmetics*
  • Humans
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Cosmetics