Health Risks Of Using Sharing Makeup and Cosmetic Testers
Did you know that old makeup is a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus? Are you aware that bacterial infections have the potential to be spread and shared by sharing makeup with friends and using cosmetics testers? As a professional freelance hair and makeup artist with over 20 years experience working in the fashion, advertising and music industry, I practice scrupulous makeup hygiene and in this article Health Risks Of Using Sharing Makeup and Cosmetic Testers I will guide you on how to minimize exposure to bacteria and viruses when using cosmetics and also I will teach you how to properly clean your makeup brushes to reduce bacteria getting onto your skin and causing breakouts.
Health Dangers of Cosmetic Testers
A study was conducted over a 2 year period on cosmetic testers and frighteningly the E-Coli virus was found present in “every” cosmetic tester that was actually tested. The study also found that the staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria’s were also both commonly found in cosmetic testers. So this basically means using a lipstick tester could give you a severe case of gastro!
Safer Ways To Use Cosmetic Testers
My professional advice it to try to avoid using the makeup testers all together, but if you simply must try out a colour, myrule of thumb is to always try and avoid applying a cosmetic tester to any part of your face. The back of your hand is the safest option, and once finished you should either wash your hands, or use a safe, triclosan free, hand sanitizer,
You should always look for an area on the cosmetic tester that looks untouched; e.g with a lipstick tube, first role it up as high as it will go and then scrape a little lipstick off to try on the back of your hand from the base.
When colour matching a foundation to your skin tone, I know some of you will say you have to try it out on your face. If you simply must then, apply the foundation as far away from your eyes, lips and nose as possible. Once you have finished, wipe it off with some safe hand sanitizer the area as soon as possible.
Most importantly never ever apply makeup from a cosmetic tester to an area or inflamed or broken skin as this can potentially lead to contracting Hepatitis C.
You may think that this is all quite extreme, but cosmetic testers are a free for all and you wouldn’t use someone’s dirty tissue so why would you trust that hundreds of strangers fingers dipping into a makeup tester are clean?
Where possible it is best to try cosmetics testers that only allow you to try out the product using single use, disposable applicators.
Don’t Share Your Makeup With Friends.
Sharing your makeup with your friends puts you at risk of catching and also spreading some not so nice, viruses like, cold sores, stomach bugs, conjunctivitis and other eye infections, flu’s, colds and throat infections. Not only that but you are potentially sharing skin fungus and bacteria, which can lead to skin breakouts, rashes and even staph infections.
I know it can be embarrassing to say no to sharing your makeup, but a little bit of embarrassment is better than the above. Remember that you cannot know whether your friends are completely disease free. Your friends themselves may not even realize that they may be carrying a virus, or are asymptomatic carriers of oral herpes. Some friends may even tell you I do get cold sores but I don’t have one now, so it is fine. Remember cold sores are also contagious before the sore erupts.
You can’t know whether someone has hepatitis C, or now and if someone has had unprotected sex they may carry the disease and not yet know they have it. Hepatitis C is transmitted by blood and unlike HIV/AIDS it can survive for some time out of the body. So if someone had cracked lips and got a small bit of blood on your lipstick and then you applied the lipstick and you too have an open lip sore then their is a risk. See Infection Protection.
Bacteria & Molds Thrive In Old Cosmetics
The use-by date of a makeup product is there for a reason and that is to protect you. Preservatives in cosmetics will only preserve the product for a certain amount of time.Many dermatologist say if a cosmetic product doesn’t have a use by-date on the products then it is best to replace them after 3 months after opening. This really is sound advice when using a moist cosmetic product; e.g lip balms, mascaras, lipsticks, lipglosses, eye and lip pencils, liquid eyeliner, liquid foundations and cream blushes, foundations and eye-shadows.
Bacterias and Molds love moist environments, so therefore your chances of acne breakout, rashes, contact dermatitis and eye infections are a lot higher the older your makeup product is.
Mineral Makeup Hygiene Practices
As Mineral Makeup products are more often than not completely natural they often don’t have any preservatives in the dry mineral powder products and this is where practicing good makeup hygiene is crucial.
Also mineral makeup products that have been made into a moisture based product e.g. mineral lipsticks, mineral mascaras and mineral liquid foundations, usually are made using a 100% natural preservatives, which are safer but not quite as powerful as synthetic, toxic, chemical preservatives. Therefore you should stick to the use-by-date on the product and throw out the product when it expires.
Another thing to remember is that the products shelf like may give you a 12 month expiration date if it remains unopened, but once opened, the packaging may instruct you to throw out the product after 3 or 6 months of use.
With loose, dry, mineral powders these will last for years, if you keep them completely dry, as if any oils or moisture get inside the container, from your fingers or makeup brushes etc, mineral powders will begin to go rancid. To avoid this and to prolong the life of dry mineral cosmetics, tip a small amount of mineral powder onto a spare lid or palate and use this to apply your makeup, then throw out the leftover and do not tip back into the mineral powder container.
The Proper Way To Clean Makeup Brushes And Makeup Tools
Your makeup brushes, cosmetic sponges, tweezers, sharpeners and eyelash curlers need to be regularly washed to stop bacteria and mold breeding on them. The best way to keep your makeup brushes and tools clean and bacteria free is by simply washing them. Alcohol sprays and gels, may help but with brushes and sponges this is only really a superficial surface clean.
* If you are using your brushes and cosmetic tools on someone else, they should be washed thoroughly before you or someone else uses them, as alcohol does not kill Hep C.
If you are prone to acne, then with foundation and blush brushes and sponges you should wash daily. The easiest thing to do is to have a couple sets of brushes and sponges so while one set is drying you can use the other set the following day and then alternate.
Instructions For Washing Makeup Brushes
- Use a cruelty-free, all natural shampoo.
- Rinse your brushes and cosmetic sponges in warm water
- Massage a small amount of shampoo into the brushes and sponge and and rinse well under warm water.
- Repeat this process again rinse well again
- Gently squeeze out as much water as you can.
- Vigorously shake the brush to remove excess water ( you don’t need to do this with makeup sponges).
- Gently shape the bristles on the brush back into shape and then place on a clean towel and make sure they have dried completely before using
- Wash your tweezers and eyelash curlers the same way and never share tweezers without first washing them well in warm soapy water and then drying.
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