As the resident beauty guru of my friends, I often get asked to do their makeup. Recently, when I was doing my best friend’s makeup, I was horrified to see the state of her makeup collection. She had broken the cardinal rule of makeup: never cleaning it. Her brushes looked like they hadn’t been washed in years. Her powders were cracked and her mascara was ancient. She had no clue what kind of dangers lurked in her messy makeup bag.
Most people don’t realize that makeup can harbor serious bacteria that can cause infections and illness. It’s crucial to clean and replace your makeup regularly. This is extra important if you are sharing your makeup with friends. Shadows and powders can easily be cleaned by wiping away the top layer and spritzing the product with rubbing alcohol (just make sure the product dries before using it again). For lipstick, wipe it clean with a cotton pad soaked in rubbing alcohol. Resist the temptation to share mascara or eyeliner. Bacteria can easily grow inside of a mascara tube so avoid sharing and buy a new one every 2-3 months.
It’s also important to store your makeup properly. Leaving your makeup out exposes it to all sorts of contaminants. You should never store your makeup in the bathroom. Fungal spores are everywhere, but they are especially bad in the bathroom because they thrive in a moist environment.
The biggest makeup sin is not washing you makeup brushes. Makeup brushes are a breeding ground for germs. You could be ruining your makeup and your skin without ever realizing it. For example, say you use your makeup brushes to conceal pimples on your chin. The next time you apply makeup with those same brushes, you are spreading the bacteria from your acne all around your face. Gross. Plus, dirty brushes can contaminate your makeup. Washing your makeup brushes may not be fun, but it’s relatively easy (check out these simple steps here). Japonesque also makes a Solid Brush Cleanser ($20) that’s super quick and easy to use. If you’re feeling lazy, just remember that clean brushes can greatly improve the state of your skin and make your makeup last longer!