You may be surprised to learn that harmful bacteria is lurking in your makeup, which can lead to infections and diseases, particularly if you share your makeup. For this reason, it’s important to store your makeup correctly and replace it after it’s been open for a certain amount of time or if it starts to look or smell off. It’s also crucial to avoid sharing any makeup, whether it’s with your friends or samples at the store. The ultimate goal is to have the perfect makeup look while putting your health first.

Safe storage of makeup

Bacteria will thrive in a dark, moist environment, which is exactly what some of your favorite makeup containers offers, such as the inside of a lipstick lid. Most products will contain preservatives to help prevent bacteria from growing, but this depends on them being stored correctly. Firstly, make sure you close containers correctly to stop air, moisture and germs getting into them. Secondly, always store makeup at room temperature and keep it out of direct sunlight as this can not only ruin your products, but speed up bacteria growth. According to the FDA, it’s dangerous to store makeup above 85℉, or 29℃.

Common bacteria found in sample makeup

Researchers took makeup tester products and found the staph, strep and E.coli bacteria bacteria in them. Another commonly associated condition related to sharing makeup is conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye. Conjunctivitis is an extremely contagious infection of the lining of the eyelid that causes redness, itchiness and watery eyes for up to two weeks and may need to be treated with prescription medicated eye drops. Additionally, the herpes simplex virus has been found in lip products.

The virus causes cold sores and, while the sores can be cured, the disease cannot be. You should be particularly aware of how easy it is to contract herpes through shop samples and avoid them unless there is a disposable sample applicator that prevents people from directly touching the product. You should also bear this in mind if you ever get makeup applied at a store as they tend to use the same products on all customers.

How often should you replace your liquid eye makeup?

It’s not a requirement for makeup manufacturers to put an expiration date on products, largely because it can vary so much. However, there are some general guidelines that should be followed to reduce the chance of bacteria growing in your own makeup supplies that could lead to infections. Mascara and liquid eyeliners should be disposed of after three months of opening as they are in dark containers with a moist product inside that is being applied to the eyes, one of the most likely body parts to contract an infection. However, if your mascara or eyeliner starts to look different, smells off or has been exposed to extreme temperature changes then it’s a good idea to replace it. Also, if you’ve had an eye infection of any sort, replace all of your eye makeup regardless of how long you’ve had it.

Expiry date of other makeup

Any other liquid products, such as foundation, lip gloss, and highlighter, should be replaced after around six months, along with any other products that contain water, including creamy eyeshadows and blushers. This is because they’re a moist environment that bacteria will thrive in if left too long. For this same reason, never add water to products as it can not only cause a breeding ground, but also stop preservatives from working.

Anything that contains little moisture and is a powder-based formula has a much better shelf life, lasting up to two years. This includes pencil eyeliner, lip liner, powder eye shadow, foundation and blush. Again, if it smells or looks different before two years, take it as a warning sign and replace it.

Clean your makeup brushes

85% of women spend at least $10 on a single makeup brush. And that’s understandable as a good brush can make applying makeup easier and result in a better look. Yet 39% of people clean their brushes less than once a month and 22% don’t clean them at all. Even without sharing brushes, your own skin is covered in oil and bacteria which will get transferred to your brushes where it will harbor and can increase your risk of infections and acne breakouts.

You can still have a makeover with your friends if everyone brings their own products and brushes to avoid spreading bacteria. You’ll also be confident that your products have been stored correctly, which will help you to have healthy, glowing skin that makeup will sit on perfectly.