What’s Lurking at the Bottom of your Make-Up Bag?

Article by Milk Contributor February 9, 2015

16089444559_5c07166b57_kThe majority of women own a make-up bag, but how long should we keep the products that sit inside it? We never think about cleaning the products we put directly on our face and we probably all own a lipstick we can’t remember buying. The small spaces in make-up bags become the perfect nesting ground for all kinds of bacteria. The most common of these microorganisms can cause conjunctivas, irritation and rashes, and at the extreme end – loss of eyesight.

16274763872_aeee3bfef1_kDid you know: if a product has a limited shelf life, EU guidelines require its label to display the date it should be thrown out? Look carefully on the back of your product and you’ll see a drawing of an open jar with a number on it. This is the life expectancy, in months, from the moment you open the seal. On mascara, you’ll find the use-by date is six months; pencils are around eighteen months and powder-based products will last up to one year. That all depends on whether or not you stick to the guidelines and don’t leave your brush lying on the floor or the lid off your powder. When cosmetics get older, the preservatives starts wearing off, causing germs to fester. One of the worst offenders? Mascara wands and eye pencils. The eyes are the most sensitive part of the face and therefore make-up for that area should be changed regularly. But why bother? The real problem can be the effect it has on your skin. Clean products = clearer skin. Fresh lipstick = brighter colour. New mascara = no clumps.
16089483849_148defbdcb_kTips to keep your make-up bag and its contents clean

  • Sharpen eye and lip pencils to remove bacteria on the outer layers.
  • Wipe your lipstick off and avoid sharing it with others.
  • Change your make-up bags regularly. Every five months is a good estimate.
  • Ensure make-up is in date and throw it out if it isn’t.
  • Clean brushes weekly with warm water and a little shampoo.
  • Keep lids tight.

Following these steps will decrease the chances of bacteria build up. The best bit of undergoing a make-up clear out is the excuse and joy of buying new products!


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