When it comes to makeup, we all have our own beauty routines and preferences (and that’s part of what makes makeup so awesome). That said, if there’s one thing we should all be on the same page about, it’s beauty hygiene. Not only does good beauty hygiene help to maintain a fresh complexion and look, it also protects us from harmful bacteria and infection. Here are six beauty hygiene tips that you shouldn’t ignore:
1. Wash your makeup off before bed
After a long night out, it can be tempting to head straight to bed and decide to wash your face in the morning, but there are plenty of reasons why that’s a bad idea. For one, by not removing your makeup, you’re committing yourself to a breakout in the morning. Leaving makeup on overnight clogs your pores and prevents your skin from renewing itself while you sleep. Even worse, if leaving your makeup on overnight becomes a habit, it can do long-term damage, leading to wrinkles and skin that looks more aged than it should down the track. Remove makeup with a deep cleanser suitable for your skin, followed by a gentle exfoliating cleanse and/or toner if wearing a lot of makeup. At the very least, use a gentle but effective makeup wipe in upwards motions to remove makeup before bed - even better if they are compostable!
"Makeup is not a mask that covers up your beauty; it's a weapon that helps you express who you are from the inside."
- Michelle Phan
2. Check the expiry on products
Unfortunately, makeup doesn’t last forever. Makeup does have an expiry date and using old products can pose a health hazard, as there’s a greater risk of bacteria settling in. While some makeup products do offer expiry dates on their packaging (look for the little tub icon with a number on it), manufacturers aren’t explicitly obliged to provide one, so it pays to know some general guidelines. Here are some useful time-frames provided by choice.com:
- Lipstick and gloss: Unopened, five years. Opened, 12 months
- Makeup foundation: Unopened, three years. Opened, six - 12 months
- Mascara and liquid eyeliner (brush in vial): Unopened, three years. Opened, three months
- Face and body moisturisers: Unopened, three years. Opened, six months.
- Hairstyling products: Three to five years.
As with other expired products, if it is giving off a strange odour or seems to have changed in colour or texture, these are tell-tale signs it may be past its prime. It’s worth also keeping in mind that cheaper products and those that contain ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ materials are likely to expire faster.
3. Don’t share your makeup
It can be hard to say no when you’ve got the perfect lipstick for your friend’s new dress, but the risk really isn’t worth it. Cold sores, eye infections, acne and staph infections are just a few of the health risks that sharing makeup poses. And PS, just because your friend doesn’t seem to have any sort of infection, doesn’t mean that they aren’t carrying germs and that you’re immune.
If you’re the type that loves to do your friends’ makeup (we all appreciate having a good makeup artist in the group!), get thee some disposable applicators. Bulk packs of mascara wands, foundation sponges and eyeshadow applicators are reasonably cheap will allow you to experiment worry-free.
4. Clean your makeup brushes and bag
Your makeup brushes and bag are two places where bacteria can very easily collect, yet they are items that are rarely cleaned. In one study from Loyola Marymount University, after just one month of use, uncleaned makeup brushes contained so much bacteria that the researchers couldn’t measure it all. 60 percent of women, however, say they’ve never cleaned their makeup brushes or makeup bag.
Make sure you clean your brushes and makeup bag on a regular basis (ideally once a week). For cleaning your brushes, there is a multitude of specialist brush cleaning products on the market, but I love a good clean baby shampoo, warm water and the palm of my hand. Cleaning your makeup bag should also be relatively simple; in general, hand washing it with a damp cloth and some dishwashing detergent, or an anti-bacterial wipe will do the trick.
5. Sharpen pencils and liners
Sharpening your eyeliner pencils has more benefits than simply giving you a refined eye line – it’s also a quick and easy way to protect your eyes from harmful bacteria. By sharpening your eyeliner pencil each time you use it, you’re shedding any germs that were residing on the surface of the pencil. To be extra careful, it’s also worth making sure your pencil sharpener itself stays clean by using sanitiser mist or wipes on a regular basis.
6. Store your makeup appropriately
The more exposed your makeup products are to heat and moisture, the more susceptible they will be to the growth of bacteria. Keep your makeup products in a cool, dry place (preferably in a drawer or cabinet). This will also help to ensure the longevity of your products (makeup stored incorrectly may expire quicker). It’s also important to make sure your beauty products aren’t left half open or exposed. This is like an open invitation for bacteria to get into your makeup and find themselves a home...that might just show up on your face!
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* The typical results are different for everyone. Results vary depending on individual effort, body composition, age, eating patterns, exercise, and the like.