top 7 tips for looking after your makeup

I was surfing the internet recently and came across a bunch of articles on makeup with titles such as “Is Your Makeup Making You Sick?”, “What’s Living in Your Makeup Bag?”, “Dangers that Hide in Makeup”, “Why Your Makeup is More Harmful Than You Think”.

And, you know what? I felt disappointed (and a little bit angry too). Why does the media insist on focusing on the negative? It’s just not necessary. I mean, I didn’t see any articles entitled “Is the Food in Your Fridge Making Your Sick?”, or “What’s Living in that Block of Cheese in Your Fridge?”, or “Dangers that Hide in your Milk”, or even “Why Your Food is More Harmful Than You Think”. And, yet, the food in your fridge could be every bit as dangerous as the makeup in your bag, if you don’t treat either with respect.

So let me come from a more positive standpoint and ask “How Should You Look After Your Makeup?”.

I’m going to give some tips and tricks to keeping your makeup clean (and safe) so you can enjoy using it day in, day out.

Tip 1: Begin Afresh

Before you apply your makeup, wash your hands and your face.

This means that any fingers you may be inserting into your makeup are clean and won’t leave behind any bacteria. And it means that any bacteria that might be on your face will be washed away and won’t get trapped against your skin by a layer of makeup as this could cause irritation and acne.

Tip 2: Finger Dipping

Ideally all your makeup would come in squeezable tubes or pump bottles meaning you can squeeze the product directly onto your hand. But some makeup comes in jars and every time you apply it you insert your finger into the product. Think lip balms, for example.

Products that require you to dip your finger into them have a higher likelihood of becoming contaminated with bacteria than products which can be squeezed out of a tube, for example. So it is important to remember your hygiene and wash your hands before putting them into a product.

Tip 3: When Feeling Under the Weather

We all catch cold and we all feel run down from time to time but that doesn’t always stop us wanting to put our face on, and go out & enjoy life.

When we are feeling a bit under the weather, there will be more bacteria roaming our bodies and, as always, we want to avoid transferring this bacteria into our makeup.

So if you’re applying lip or eye makeup, why not use a cotton pad as an applicator rather than your finger. But remember not to double-dip or you could transfer bacteria from your skin onto the cotton pad and back into the product. Likewise if using a foundation, use a sponge to apply it and then dispose of that sponge afterwards.

Tip 4: Put a Date On It

On the base of your makeup product you’ll see a symbol of a jar with an open lid. Inside this symbol there’ll be a number – this number refers to the number of months you can keep using the product for, after you’ve opened it. This is an important piece of information. You really don’t want to be applying makeup that has been open for longer than the symbol states as the preservative in the product will begin to stop working and invisible bacteria may start to grow in it.

Remembering when you first opened a makeup product is easier said than done so I recommend putting a sticker on it which tells you when you should stop using it. When that date comes around, throw the product away, no matter how much of it may be left.

Also if you have a product that you haven’t used in the last six months, chuck it. You’ll probably not use it again and a product that hasn’t been used for a while provides a better environment for bacteria to grow than one that is being used regularly.

When it comes to your eyes, you want to stay vigilant. I follow the advice of many makeup artists when it comes to mascara and throw I away after only three months, even if I’ve only used it a few times. My sight is far too precious to me.

Tip 5: Clean Your Brushes Weekly

We always assume that if there is any contamination it’ll be in the product. But did you ever think it could be on the applicator?

It’s important to clean your brushes and applicators once a week. You can do so by using a bit of soap and warm water and then allowing them to dry fully.

A clean applicator isn’t just good for controlling bacterial growth but it will also make it easier to apply your makeup.

If you find yourself with a cold sore, a stye on your eye or some similar irritation on your face, stop using your usual makeup applicators and temporarily switch to disposable ones such as cotton pads, remembering to dispose of them after each application and, as mentioned above, don’t double-dip.

Tip 6: Know The Signs

If you rediscover a makeup product you bought, you don’t know when, and it smells a bit strange/different, chances are that it’s off. So whether you’ve used it or not, throw it away.

Similarly if you have a product you use regularly and it smells a bit strange, even though it’s not yet reached the date you know it can be used till, throw it away.

If your skin turns red after applying makeup, it could be a sign that your makeup is contaminated and you should stop using it and throw it away.

If you notice your skin becomes a bit itchy or inflamed after applying you makeup, this too could be a sign that it is contaminated and, again, you should stop using it and throw it away.

Tip 7: Shopping for Makeup

When you’re out shopping for makeup, try to resist using testers that are lying around for general use. If you really do need to use a tester, always do so on your hand and then wash your hands immediately afterwards.

If the testers are being used by the beauty consultant and he/she is using disposable applicators, then by all means test the product.

And, finally, if given the choice always choose the option to buy a product that comes in powder form rather than cream or liquid form as powder, by its nature, will attract less bacteria. Liquids and creams are water-based and, although they are protected by preservatives, they have a tendency to attract more bacteria.