The principle behind applying makeup hygienically is to avoid transferring oils and loose skin cells that may contain small amounts of bacteria from your face back into your makeup containers where bacteria can multiply between applications.
The simplest rule is, “Never touch your makeup while it is in its container.”
Instead of using your fingers to take foundation from its container, use a disposable spatula. If you are likely to need more than one spatula full, or you use a liquid product, transfer the amount you need to a small plate and then to your face. You can even buy specialised makeup pallets for this purpose.
If you apply makeup with a brush, clean the brush with hot water and soap after every use or use a specialised brush cleaner. Do the same thing with blush and lipstick applicators.
No matter how often other family members plead with you, don’t share your makeup! At best you are depending on someone else to follow these procedures. At worst you risk cross-infection.
Protecting your eyes
Your eyes contain a lot of moisture making them a prime source of contamination and a frequent point of entry for bacteria that may have entered your makeup.
Wipe off your eyeliner pencil and mascara with a makeup remover and cotton pad or a facial wipe containing no oils or alcohol. Finish with a cream cleanser to remove any residue from the makeup remover.
Mascara should be replaced every 3 to 4 months. Avoid pumping the brush back and forward in the container to pick up more mascara. You are sucking air and dust into the product and raising the potential for contamination. Simply twirl the brush to pick up the mascara.
Treat cream or powder eye shadow the same way you do foundation and lipstick. Use a brush, spatula and pallet to apply them.
All makeup has a use-by date governed by how quickly the product deteriorates once exposed to air and its expected level of bacterial contamination over time. Quality makeup unopened in its container is usually airtight so treat this general guide as starting from the day it is first opened:
- Powders and shadows – 2 years
- Cream shadows – 1 to 1.5 years
- Foundation – 1 year
- Lipstick and lip liner – 1 year
- Mascara and eyeliner – 3 to 4 months
Again, we strongly recommend using an antibacterial makeup for the duration of your treatment as a final line of defence.