You may know that you need to clean your makeup brushes once a week and toss your beauty products once they’re expired, but that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear when it comes to having bacteria in your products. Bacteria can be sneaky, and once it gets into your makeup, it can cause a slew of problems for your skin like acne, redness and infection.
To help you keep your cosmetics free of germs, we’re sharing seven sneaky ways that bacteria is getting into your makeup, and how to avoid it.
Using jars instead of tubes: If you’re using lotion that comes in a jar or tub as opposed to a tube, you’re putting bacteria into the product each time you dip in your fingers. The same goes for hair masks, exfoliators and anything that comes in a jar, but bacteria-filled lotion going onto your face can cause irritation, acne and redness. Go for a tube version of your favorite lotion, then go one step further to grab product with a cotton swap instead of your fingers.
Mascara pumping: Every time you pump mascara to “get more product on the brush,” you’re drying out the mascara, creating a dry, dark breeding ground for germs. Putting that mascara onto your wand and into your eye, then back and forth again, passes germs from your eye to the tube, where they’ll continue to live. Make sure you’re only using mascara for no longer than 3 months, and swirl the brush inside instead of pumping it up and down.
Sneezing while applying: It may be innocent, but if you sneeze around your makeup while applying, you’re immediately putting bacteria into any open container. If you feel a sneeze coming on (especially during mascara application, which can entirely ruin all your hard work), walk into another room to avoid sneezing on your products.
Reapplying lipstick after eating: This goes for any lip product, but if you immediately reapply your lipstick after eating food, you’re pressing left over food particles into your lips, and into the product itself. Bacteria can then live on the surface of lipstick, or inside the tube of lip gloss, which will eventually be spread onto your lips in the next application. Make sure you fully wipe off any food on your lips and if possible, brush your teeth, before reapplying lip color.
Sharing your products: This is especially true for eye makeup because your eyes are most susceptible to getting bacteria in them, but if you’re sharing any beauty products with your friends, you’re immediately putting any of their germs into your products and vice versa. Even if you’re out with your best friend and she forgot to bring her lip gloss in her clutch, don’t share. It never ends well.
Not cleaning your makeup bag: Even if you clean every product, brush and sponge in your makeup bag, that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Your makeup bag needs to be cleaned out, and you should be doing this at least once a month. Either put it in the washing machine with your towels or in the dishwasher (this works really well if the bag is made of canvas) to get any loose, bacteria-laden products out of the bottom of the bag.
Double-dipping brushes: Yes, there are certain brushes that you should be using for each kind of makeup application, but in reality, many of us are guilty of using one brush for multiple products. If you use one brush to apply powder to your face, then dip it into your blush, you’re transferring any oils from your face into your blush compact, and then redistributing those oils onto your cheeks when you apply blush. Gross, right? Try using your fingers or separate brushes for each product, and remember to clean your brushes about once a week.