Skip to Content

Is it Bad to Sleep with Mascara on? (ANSWERED)

Is it Bad to Sleep with Mascara on? (ANSWERED)

Having those voluminous, juicy lashes is usually a good idea for when you want that eye oomph. However, sleeping with mascara on could potentially harm your lashes and eyes.

Though alluring, sleeping with mascara on is problematic as it forms a good breeding zone for bacteria. When this bacteria enters your eyes, it causes irritation and latent blindness.

You must be guilty of sleeping with mascara on in the past. Haven't we all? Nonetheless, below are reasons why you will value those 15 seconds of mascara wipeout:

ready for sleep mask

Causes Lashes To Fall-off

Sleeping with mascara on clogs your eyelashes. As you keep tossing and turning during your sleep, it promotes abrasion in your eyelash area. Your lashes may rub against each other or the pillow, falling off.

Having fewer draping lashes reverses the work that mascara is supposed to do in the first place. So, why even apply if you worsen your looks by going to bed with it on?

Apart from the aesthetic repercussions of fallen-off eyelashes, there are scientifically-proven uses. Eyelashes trap dust and dirt, barring them from getting to the eyes. This way, they end up protecting your eyes. When you have fewer lashes, it heightens your chances of eye disturbance caused by dust and dirt.

Causes Irritation In and Around Eyes

When you sleep with mascara on, the particles end up raking your eyes. It disturbs the skin around your eyes, which is usually thinner and more fragile, and more sensitive than other areas. As a result, it leads to skin thinning around your eyes.

Progressive thinning leads to early signs of aging caused by fine lines that begin to form around your eyes. Wrinkly under-eye skin, eye bags, and fine lines could be giveaway signs of irritation of this kind.

When this mascara gets into your eyes during your sleep, due to the friction, it scrapes the cornea. The more the mascara builds up in your eyes, the more irritated your cornea becomes. Symptoms include constant blinking, teary eyes, paining eyes, redness, and eye itchiness.

Blurred Vision

According to doctors, there is almost no correlation between makeup and blurred vision. However, there are chances of the microbes in mascara triggering such extreme eye effects.

A build-up of mascara in the eyes forms a conducive breeding zone for bacteria. It alters the natural bacteria in your eyes, promoting eye infections. Such eye infections can be treated easily when you seek immediate medical intervention. However, when the abrasion gets to the retina, you may have blurred vision.

Permanent Blindness

A 2018 article shared by BuzzFeed News shows this as a potential side effect of wearing mascara. A 50-year old lady got severe eye problems after putting on mascara for half her life without apt removal. The mascara debris had collected and hardened around her eyes, making it a ticking time bomb.

When the mascara deposits around your eyeballs harden, it forms small rock-like pieces that start seeping through. As the masses move from the conjunctiva to the subconjunctival, you experience eye dryness. In addition, these masses would scratch your cornea every time you blink.

Together with follicular conjunctivitis, continuous abrasion of one's cornea and destruction of the subconjunctival tissue could cause permanent blindness.

How To Properly Remove Mascara Before Bed

One is supposed to remove all their makeup, mascara included, before going to bed. Yet, there exist moments when you would remove mascara but end up having deposits on your sheets. While proper cleaning can seem tasking, it is the only sure way to mind your eye hygiene and health.

Below are ways you can correctly remove your mascara before sleep;

Ditch The Cotton Pads

We have been conditioned to believe that cotton pads are the Holy Grail products for makeup removal. Yet, their fuzziness and thread-like texture have been proven to cause micro-tears on your skin. Besides, most single-use ones are loaded with chemicals that are bad for your skin and our environment.

Instead of single-use cotton pads, reach for alternatives that are gentler to the eyelashes and skin surrounding your eyes. These also are biodegradable, building onto ethical and sustainable living. Such include muslin cloth as well as bamboo pads.

Use An Oil-Based Mascara Remover

These days, most mascaras are waterproof. This means that your regular tap water will fail to do the work. You are advised to make use of an oil-based remover as it soaks and loosens the mascara particles, making it easier to come out.

Common oils for mascara removal include coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, and avocado oil.

  • Take 2 drops of one of the aforementioned oils and dab it in your muslin cloth or reusable cotton pad.
  • Gently soak your mascara-loaded eyelashes in the muslin cloth for 30 seconds.
  • Start rubbing gently to dissolve the mascara.
  • Wipe out the mascara until there is no trace of mascara left.

Apart from dissolving the particles, oils such as jojoba oil are moisturizing and non-comedogenic. Apart from removing the gunk, they take care of the skin around your eyes.

sleeping dream woman

Double Cleanse Your Eyelashes

Double-cleansing is encouraged as it makes sure that there are no bits of mascara left. After doing an oil cleanse, follow it up with a water cleanse to eliminate any mascara traces.

Make sure that your cleanser of choice is gentle on your eyes as well as your skin. Putting this in mind will lower the chances of eye irritation caused by mascara removal.

After cleansing, apply a toner and moisturizer before retiring to bed.

How to Mind Your Mascara Hygiene

To properly care for your lashes and eye hygiene, you have to be mindful of habits of mascara care. Here are practices you can adapt for better mascara hygiene;

Disinfect your Mascara

Though uncommon, disinfecting your mascara goes a long way in guarding your eyes against bacteria that cause eye infections. Remember that bad bacteria can breed on your wand. Applying it on your lashes relocates bacteria from the wand to your eyes.

Use an isopropyl-saturated paper towel to wipe down the mascara wand and tube top. Allow it to dry before returning it to the mascara tube.

Avoid Sharing Your Mascara with Friends

Pink eye is easily transmitted via sharing of mascara. To avoid this, steer away from allowing your friends to use your mascara and vice versa.

Also, avoid using the tester mascara that is displayed in cosmetic shops. Oftentimes, their mascara is open to use by anyone irrespective of their eye health and hygiene status. Introducing it to your eyes may result in serious eye infections.

Check Expiry Dates

Mascara possesses the briefest shelf life among all cosmetic and beauty products. While most beauty products hold a shelf life of up to 12 months, mascara should be replaced every 3 months.

The brief shelf life is attributed to the fact that it is easy for bacteria in one's mascara to breed. When this happens, the mascara becomes potent for eye infections.

Still, you are supposed to dispose of the mascara once it starts clumping. While some may still want to use it in a clumped state, it heightens your chances of having mascara build-up. When these masses get to your eyes, they result in eye infections, among other grave effects.


Though highly overlooked, sleeping with mascara on is one of the common makeup practices that need to be shunned. It not only exposes your eyes to irritants but could also result in eyesight impairment or loss. However, with proper care, one can have a viable mascara-use lifestyle.

Continue Reading: