Everyday items like our makeup stash can also be easily overlooked, but it is often a potential breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.
US-based dermatologist Adam Mamelak told HuffPost: “Plastic makeup tubes, bottles and compacts can be a concern for transmission of the virus,” as handling and applying makeup “could be a very real way to contract the virus.”
By now we should know that touching our face after being in contact with contaminated surfaces can cause infection. Studies have shown that the virus could survive up to 24 hours on cardboard, and two to three days on plastic and stainless steel surfaces.
Though there are still no studies to show how long the virus can stay on or in our makeup, it’s high time we give them a good wipe, especially since most of our makeup products come in plastic packaging.
While preservatives are used in makeup to extend its shelf life and prevent the growth of bacteria or mold, cosmetic chemist Vanessa Thomson said: “Preservatives mainly prevent bacterial contamination and may not protect against the virus.”
Keep your beloved beauty products clean and safe to use with these disinfecting tips below.
General practitioner Aragona Giuseppe, medical adviser at Prescription Doctor, highlighted the importance of cleaning lip products.
He explained: “Lip products are particularly risky, because lipsticks and lip liners are a natural gateway to your respiratory tract.”
It’s also difficult to determine how long the virus can thrive on lip care items like balms, as the formula is kept in a small humid space where viral particles can survive longer, noted Giuseppe.
Ophthalmologist Yuna Rapoport said: “I am anticipating seeing more infections that are seated with Covid-19, since we know that the virus can infect the ocular surface through the conjunctival mucous membrane and through tears,”
Rapoport suggests applying eye makeup before heading out, and keep the products at home to lower the risk of infection.
She explained: “For example, if you are touching up makeup in your car (or in a public bathroom), you may touch a surface that is contaminated, forget to clean your hands, accidentally touch the makeup and then touch your face again.”
Apart from observing hand hygiene to reduce the risk of infection when applying makeup, Rapoport also advises replacing eye products when they reach their expiration dates. “Ideally, mascara and eyeliner should be replaced every three months, and eyeshadow can be replaced every six months.”
Though, if you have a habit of bringing them around with you, she suggests replacing them in half the time of its expiration date.
But, of course, should you have come in close contact with the coronavirus, toss them out immediately.
Said Giuseppe: “This is because respiratory droplets may have passed from your hands or face and are now sitting on your products, which means that they are in danger of continuing to spread the virus should you use again.”
Giuseppe advises to disinfect makeup product daily or after each use with an antibacterial solution, wipe or spray.
He added: “You can clean actual lipstick or Chapstick with a tissue and an alcohol solution; just saturate a tissue in the solution and rub away at the top and sides of the lipstick. This should get rid of the outer surface which has been exposed.”
Once you’re done with that, make sure the outer packaging is wiped as well, and stored in an airtight drawer or container, as this will help reduce the exposure of contamination.
Makeup brushes and sponges should also be washed immediately after each use. “Given the close proximity of makeup brushes through your nose and lips, I recommend extra caution and vigilant washing of your brushes.” Said dermatologist Joshua Zeichner.
On how to wash them, dermatologist Susan Massick shared that warm soapy water will get the job done. She noted that the soap alone is able to kill the virus.
Alternatively, one-time-use applicators are convenient as you can easily disposable them after every use without the need for washing them.
If you’re still wearing a mask around, dermatologist Susan Massick cautions about wearing makeup.
She told HuffPost: “If you want to wear a mask, minimise the use of foundation and lipstick because that will easily rub off onto your mask,”
Massick echos Rapoport’s suggestion of applying eye makeup products at home, such as the use of mascara, eyeliner and eyeshadow.
While setting spray may help with making your makeup last longer reducing the need for touch-ups, it can cause skin issues in the long run.
Preliminary practice for beauty beginners: Grab a bowl of warm water, sprinkle in some shampoo – a no-nonsense do-it-all like Living Proof’s Full Shampoo, works well – then bathe the bristles in the soapy solution.
Dispense a drop or two of tea tree oil (here’s a beginner’s guide to tea tree oil) into the basin to amp up on the antibacterial agents. Use your fingers to separate the strands under a running tap and you’re good to go.
Full Shampoo, $49, Living Proof from Sephora
Double cleansing works just as effectively to clean your makeup brushes too, especially for dense brushes that tend to collect foundation between the bristles. This Hada Labo cleansing oil emulsifies with water so it will rinse off without leaving the bristles greasy.
Super Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Cleansing Oil, $23, Hada Labo from Watsons
Swap out your shampoo and give your brushes and makeup sponges a good wash with this liquid cleanser from BeautyBlender.
Formulated to be gentle yet effective, this cleanser removes stubborn makeup and grime while maintaining the integrity and shape of your makeup sponge. This paraben-free cleanser also has a light lavender scent that we just can’t say no to.
Liquid BlenderCleanser, $32 for 150ml, BeautyBlender from Sephora.
If you find it hard to give your brushes a thorough cleanse, here’s a tip for those makeup stains that feel like industrial-strength warpaint. Use a brush cleaning glove like this effective one from Sigma Beauty.
It’s compact, designed to fit both left and right hands, and has seven different textures to wash all types of brushes. For instance, if you’re washing your concealer brush, you might want to use the smaller bristles for deep cleaning. It’s definitely a must-have tool if you dread rubbing the brush bristles against your palm.
Sigma Spa Express Brush Cleaning Glove, $48, Sigma Beauty from Sephora
Ever realised that your brushes are filthy but can’t give them a wash because you’re rushing to do your makeup?
That’s where this instant brush cleaner from Make Up For Ever comes in.
It instantly purifies and cleans both your brushes and makeup sponges so you can use them immediately. This alcohol-free formula also works on highly-pigmented and even waterproof makeup. But most importantly, it doesn’t require rinsing. Add to cart, please.
Instant Brush Cleanser, $34, Make Up For Ever from Sephora.
Travelling seems like a great excuse to avoid cleaning your makeup brushes, but this solid cleanser takes away the hassle of bringing liquid soap or spray along when you go on vacay. All you have to do is wet your Beautyblender, and swirl it around on the soap to lather it up. This can also be used to clean brushes – all you have to do is place the grid (which comes with the cleanser) over the block of soap before swirling your brushes.
If you travel often, this pack of brush cleansing wipes from Artis Brush is a must-have in your makeup pouch.
Each of the 30 wipes in one packet is saturated with a formula that helps to effectively clean and sanitise your brushes.
Just swipe your used brushes on the wipes and you’re good to go. The brushes should dry in a matter of minutes.
Brush Cleansing Wipes, $27.28, Artis Brush from Revolve
Don’t underestimate its prowess – this cleanser is a local favourite, because of not only its price, but also its effectiveness. Although it’s formulated for puffs and sponges, it works just as well on makeup brushes.
Once you’re done scrubbing down, blot your brushes and sponges with paper towels and lay them flat on a clean surface – never prop your damp brush upright in a container like you would your toothbrush, as gravity will cause water to drain back into the metal ferrule and weaken the adhesive holding it to the bristlehead.
And that’s it! Aim to give your tools a disinfecting dunk at least once a week; or every other day if you’re a face paint enthusiast. Because hey, the bristles on your brushes deserve as much tender, loving care as the locks on your head.