How to banish germs from your makeup kit

Avoid germ warfare in your beauty collection by ensuring products are kept clean and stored properly.

From expensive skincare to pricey makeup, it is a no-brainer most of us would want to ensure our beauty products remain in top shape.

It is also important everything stays clean and hygienic— germs and delicate skin do not a happy, healthy combination make.

How long can you keep skincare and beauty products?

Many of us are guilty of hanging on to beauty products for a little longer than we should because, hey, who wants to bin a perfectly good lipstick?

But expiry dates should really be adhered to, says cosmetic chemist and molecular biologist Ee Ting Ng.

“(Expired beauty products can be) a breeding ground for unwanted microbes, and can go on to cause infections and diseases in extreme cases,” says Ee Ting.

“Expired products can lose their efficacy or potency, especially if they are regularly exposed to air and light (such as those in jars or non-airtight pump bottles).”

Generally, it is best to replace beauty products within 12 months of opening, or sooner if they are exposed to direct sunlight or in a jar that is kept in a warm, humid environment like your bathroom.

Check the “open jar” icon on the back of most beauty products — the number in it will indicate how many months the produce can be kept once it is opened.

Best ways to store beauty products

Your bathroom is the worst place to keep your beauty products.

“Microbes thrive in heat and moisture, making the bathroom an ideal breeding ground,” Ee Ting says.

“The best way to store beauty products is in a cool, dry area that’s out of direct sunlight.”

Makeup artist Casey Gore says it is also important to make sure products are clean and sanitised before putting them away, and make sure lids are tight and everything is sealed.

“This will stop certain products from drying and out and being ruined, but also limits the chances of bacteria being spread,” she says.

How to keep beauty products clean

We have all had a crash course in keeping germs at bay recently, and it is a good idea to be as vigilant with beauty products.

“Clean the outside of all your products regularly, especially if your products go anywhere – the gym, beach or even just being in your car. Clean the surfaces such as tabletops and shelves where your cosmetic products are stored,” Ee Ting says.

Given makeup in particular is handled so frequently, it is important to keep products and tools clean.

Casey says the makeup brushes she uses on clients are washed every day. While her personal collection is not cleaned as often, she does use a brush cleaning spray in between uses to avoid bacterial build up.

“Makeup sponges have been the most prone to bacteria in my opinion, so please wash them thoroughly and regularly. And also change frequently,” she advises.

Even the way we use beauty products is important.

“Handle your products in a sanitary manner, which means always starting with dry, clean hands, using a clean cotton bud/pad to dispense products if applicable and replacing the lid promptly and tightly to limit air exposure,” Ee Ting says.

“You can share products if the storage, dispensing and handling are all adequately sanitary. I personally prefer not to share products to eliminate unnecessary risk.”

Written by Tania Gomez.