The skin on your face… around your eyes and mouth especially… is some of the most sensitive on your entire body and they are the ones that suffer the backlash from your makeup. If you’re guilty of any of the following techniques, you could be introducing bacteria to these delicate areas daily without even knowing it.
This is the easiest way to apply a quick tint, but it also happens to be the dirtiest. Your fingers constantly pick up and bacteria throughout the day, so even if you remember to scrub up one time but forget another, that momentary slip up allows dirty fingers to taint the makeup with germs. And you’ll keep swabbing them on with each new coat.
Why worry: Bacteria can cause irritated, puffy eyelids.
2. Keeping old mascara
Yes, your favourite eye accoutrement has an expiration date. However, it’s not listed on the bottle, so pay attention: Mascara dries out within six months of its first use. At that point, it simply becomes a flaky, unpredictable Russian roulette for germ ingestion.
Why worry: Dry mascara can flake into the eye and cause an infection.
3. Never cleaning the vanity area up
Leaving makeup scattered across your beauty bar is (a) lazy and (b) unsanitary. It’s important to recap and replace makeup after each use to lessen its exposure to airborne bacteria.
Why worry: Faulty storage exposes even unused products to deceivingly dirty conditions.
4. Storing makeup in direct sunlight — even for a little bit
You may enjoy soaking up the sun, but your makeup bag definitely does not. Whether it’s in direct sunlight or a hot car, all that heat breaks down the preservatives that are meant to keep bacteria at bay. Instead, it begins breeding it.
Why worry: This fosters bacteria growth in products.
5. Slathering on the eyeliner
This is probably the worst trick you taught yourself as a tween. Sure, the liner glides on easily and evenly as you near, or even cover, the eyelid margin (where the lid runs along the surface of the eye). But the closer you get, the more it clogs up important glands.
Why worry: This can lead to repercussions ranging from discomfort to painful cysts.
6. Ignoring signs of eye infections
This can only lead to worse consequences down the road. Whether the cause was makeup or not, the infection will contaminate every product, brush and wand in your collection if you ignore it and continue with your daily makeup routine. It’s best to toss all the products you used while infected.
Why worry: Reuse can cause recontamination.
7. Overusing mascara
Thicker mascara equals more flakes when dry and more difficulty when removing (remember: eye makeup should be completely removed each night). Plus, the even thicker, waterproof varieties often contain parabens, a preservative many people find irritates their eyes.
Why worry: Fragments can cause irritation to the cornea and eyelids.
8. Not taking the time to clean brushes
All use and no cleaning make brushes and applicators trap for bacteria. Keeping these tools clean doesn’t just prevent makeup buildup, but it also sanitises the tools if they come in contact with dust or other household bacteria.
Why worry: Bacteria can enter through a blemish or scratch or, more seriously, an applicator-induced scratch.
9. Sharing with friends
Grabbing a friend’s product because you absolutely adore the colour is a bad decision. Neither of you may have a visible ailment, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. And you will be super sorry when a bacteria she’s immune to clogs up your eyes.
Why worry: Sharing can lead to conjunctivitis, a.k.a. pink eye.