You’re Being Abusive. I Know It.
Not to gross you out, BUT…makeup products harbor organisms that can multiply and cause infections if you neglect to wash or discard them at proper times. This goes for tools (brushes and the like) and the cosmetics themselves. Here’s a list of the most common dirty makeup “eeks!”of which you might be guilty. Read on in order to stop abusing your makeup and your face.
Eek #1: You’re using mascara so old that you don’t remember when you bought it. – Keep your tube of mascara too long and you’re probably coating your lashes in bacteria. Bacteria naturally present in your eyes transfers to the wand and spoolie, which contaminates the tube with germs that lead to pink eye and infections like staph. Yes, your own bacteria will do this to you!
The Clean Up: While most mascaras contain preservatives that keep bacteria from growing, those preservatives only work for approximately three months. So to be safe, try to replace your mascara every quarter (about four times a year. Po-TAY-to, po-TAH-to!).
Eek #2: Your eyelash curler is caked with old mascara. – Quick question: Would you reuse your fork from last night’s gooey mac n’ cheese dinner without washing it first? Yeah, I didn’t think you would. Leaving your curler uncleansed will allow it to do all the nasties stated in Eek #1.
The Clean Up: Clean your lash curler with an alcohol or disinfecting wife after each use. There are also replacement sponges you can purchase.
*Bonus: On top of saving your eyes, a clean lash curler will save your lashes too! The caked up mascara can adhere to your lashes and rip them out of your lids!
Eek #3: You apply liner (eye, eyebrow and/or lip) with a dull pencil tip. – Basically, this faux pas creates the same issues in Eeks 1 and 2.
The Clean Up: Sharpen you pencil liners once a week. Also, can you remember to use a disinfecting wipe in between uses? Good. And if you can’t or you want to slack off, know this: shaving the top layer off will remove infection-causing bacteria. Not only that, it makes your liner that much easier to apply. Win/Win!
*Important side-note: clean out your sharpener too! Just use some soap and water, followed by a disinfectant. (Or, use the solution I make in Eek #4 below.)
Eek #4: You never wash your makeup brushes—ever. EEEEEK! Dead skin, oil, dirt, bacteria—all of that is collecting on all of those bristles. You’re clogging your pores and creating a breeding ground for breakouts.
The Clean Up: Wash them daily with brush cleaner or even warm, soapy water then rinse them and squeeze the water out with your fingers. Lay them flat to dry because brush bristles are heavier when wet and will lose their shape if you stand them up.
*I make my own brush cleaner with 1 cup of warm filtered water, about 4 drops tea tree oil (a natural anti-bacterial, non-greasy oil) and a tablespoon of baby shampoo (because it’s gentle). Cetaphil is pretty great, too.
**Side-note: I don’t do this every day—guilty as charged! I try to clean my brushed every couple of days. Are you worse than I am? Shoot for at least once a week.
Eek #5: Do you apply lipstick when you’ve got a cold? – Germs live on your lipstick, making you more vulnerable to other bugs/viruses, especially if your immune system is already on the fritz.
The Clean Up: Using an alcohol or disinfecting sheet, wipe the outside of the lipstick case and rub the surface of the lipstick before applying next time. Do you use lip gloss with a doe-foot applicator? DON’T when you’re sick, unless you disinfect the applicator before re-inserting it into the tube.
Eek #6: You take your makeup bag to the bathroom, public and private. – If you’re the kind of woman who carries her makeup bag to the bathroom and sets it, along with your beauty products, on top of counters in public/private restrooms, they will pick up bacteria. Lots of them. Yours and a MILLION other women’s nasties!
The Clean Up: Put a paper towel under your bag before you sit it on the counter, or keep it inside your purse to avoid picking them up at all.
Speaking of bathrooms…Eek #7: You leave your makeup/tools by the toilet. – Every time you flush the toilet, fecal matter sprays into the air and lands on your counter and on/in your products and tools. This might be the eek of all eeks. Ew, ew, EW!
The Clean Up: Store your makeup, supplies and tools (toothbrush included) in a closed cabinet.
Eek #8: The makeup bag dilemma – Yes, your cloth/leather makeup bags looks great and super stylish, but it’s tough to clean. And what does that mean? You got it: bacteria.
The Clean Up: Use a bag that is made of plastic or nylon and clean it out at least once a month, wiping down the lining with a disinfectant wipe. What else is awesome about using a plastic or nylon bag is that they’re cheap enough to buy a cute new one every year. Woo hoo!
Eek #9: I know you love looking at your collection of makeup, but hoarding it all (foundation, concealer, lipstick, mascara, etc.) after you’ve already used it previously but haven’t worn in years, is a no-no. Even though there aren’t expiration dates on makeup products, you can still when it’s time to say goodbye.
The Clean Up: Say “Adios!” to anything that smells different, looks cakey and dried out, has changed color, or the ingredients look like they’ve separated. The general principle for most creamy or liquid products: 12 months; powder/solid products/lipstick: 2-3 years.
Eek #10: Your icky fingers are making everything else icky, too. – Dipping dirty fingers into jars or touching the tips of tubes does what? Uh huh, you got it. It spreads germs and bacteria. I think you’ve caught on to the theme here, finally.
The Clean Up: Wash your hands before doing your makeup, or there will be germs, germs, everywhere.
Now that we all understand the moral of the story, let’s stick to not having bacteria stick to us! Don’t let makeup build up on the openings of your jars, tubes, etc.; clean them every now and then with an alcohol or disinfecting wipe. Always keep lids and caps screwed on tight in order to avoid exposing your products to the air and germs. And remember, the MUA term “beating face” is not to be taken literally. Stop the abuse!