Your Beauty Regimen May Not Be as Hygienic as You Think
Beauty hygiene might seem simple in theory, but there’s so much more to keeping your makeup products and routine sanitary than just cleaning your brushes every once in a while. Keeping your vanity tidy, your tools clean, and your products properly stored are just some of the ways you can avoid bacteria from building up.
Hygiene aside, there are plenty of other reasons you should be more diligent about keeping your products and routine in check. Proper storage will not only extend the life of your products, but it will also maintain its efficacy. (If you’ve ever forgotten to screw the top of your favorite mascara back on or close the cap of a vitamin C serum tightly, you know what we’re talking about.) Staying organized also speeds up the getting-ready process, saving you time and frustration — there’s nothing worse than running late and not being able to locate your beloved black liquid eyeliner. Last but certainly not least — who doesn’t love the way an orderly, ‘Grammable #shelfie looks?
Here are six important rules to follow to keep the germs at bay when it comes to your beauty regimen.
We know this isn’t groundbreaking advice, but consider it an important reminder: Before you do anything — whether it’s applying foundation or filling in your brows — remember to wash your hands with soap and water. Your hands carry natural oils, which can contain bacteria that can transfer to your face and your makeup products, causing breakouts or contamination. If you’re in a pinch and not near a sink, be sure to at least have hand sanitizer handy.
If you’re one of those people who can’t remember the last time they washed their bath towels, you need to hear this: Towels are a breeding ground for germs. Yes, even if your face feels squeaky clean when you dry it off, your towel is still getting dirty. The natural oils, dirt, and residual makeup from your face can rub off and make a home in the fibers of your towel. In a humid environment (a.k.a. a steamy shower), this bacteria can grow. When you least expect it, it can cause unexpected pimples or worse, skin rashes or infections. Wash your towels at least once a week or immediately after it becomes stained.
Makeup is all fun and games until you have to clean your brushes. It’s not an enjoyable task by any means, but an extremely necessary one. Most dermatologists, aestheticians, and makeup artists recommend washing your makeup brushes at least once a week, if not after each use. There are tons of tools available to help make this chore a bit easier, like beauty sponge washing machines and electronic makeup brush cleaning devices. But you don’t need a fancy contraption to get makeup buildup and bacteria out of those brush bristles. A gentle shampoo or a brush cleaning soap will do, especially if you use a textured cleansing pad.
Just like the food in your refrigerator and pantry, your makeup also has a shelf life. A good rule of thumb — most products should not be used for longer than a year or two, max. According to Real Simple, here’s how long you should be hanging on to your makeup.
Concealer, cream blush, eyeshadow, foundation, lip gloss, nail polish: one year
Eyeliner, mascara, liquid eyeliner: three months
Eyeliner pencil (that can be sharpened), lipstick, powder blush: two years
Lip balm: one to five years
If you like to display your makeup on your vanity or bedside table, be sure that they are kept at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. While it might seem safe to keep your makeup products on your bathroom counter, the steam from your shower could potentially get into anything that’s not properly sealed and grow mold. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to store your products in a cabinet or drawer, away from the elements. To keep things tidy, consider using clear, acrylic organizers or plastic dividers.
Sharing is caring, except for when it comes to makeup. While you might want your friend or loved one to try your favorite new makeup find, sharing products is one of the easiest ways to spread germs and can potentially cause things like pink eye, cold sores, acne, or even a staph infection. Do yourself and your friend/family a favor and keep your products to yourself.