How To Properly Clean And Store Your Makeup

The TikTok #DirtyMakeup Trend: A Lesson In Makeup Hygiene And Care

Photo by Aminat Akaeva

In the realm of beauty trends, Tiktok has sparked another one—#dirtymakeup. A wave of videos showcasing well-worn products and makeup containers swept across the platform, reminding us to re-examine the cleanliness of our makeup collection.

With dirty brushes and sponges, broken makeup packaging, and used makeup products, the #dirtymakeup trend has taken over the short-form video platform TikTok. Users across the platform uploaded videos of their makeup products in varying states of cleanliness, with some even poking fun at the idea of a good makeup look coming from “dirty makeup.” Cracked foundation bottles, dried-up mascara and eyeliners, and crumbly eyeshadow pans are some examples when you peruse the video tag on TikTok.

While the trend is funny and entertaining, it should serve as an advisory or a reminder that it’s time to clean and organize your makeup products. When worse comes to worse, dirty makeup can cause severe skin problems such as acne, rashes, and eye infections. According to a UK study, used makeup can contain “deadly superbugs” such as E. coli and Staphylococci. There’s even proof that your makeup brushes could be dirtier than toilet seats, as seen in a study conducted by Aventus Clinic.

When to throw away your makeup products

A cosmetic product’s shelf life depends on several factors. Certain features or directions for usage can encourage bacteria and fungi to grow, such as dipping fingers into a product or the kind of applicator. Environmental factors, such as exposure to moisture and temperature changes, are also in play.

To check for the expiration dates, look for an image of an open jar with a number followed by the letter M. This symbolizes how many months after opening the product will expire. If you can’t find the expiration date, you can use your senses to determine whether it’s time to toss it out. Check if the products have changed in color, texture, or smell. If it has, it’s time to get rid of these products.

Lipsticks, eyeliner pencils, and lip balms can last 18-24 months as a baseline. Lip glosses, foundation, concealers, creams, and powder products can be good for 12-18 months. Meanwhile, mascara and liquid liners have a shorter life span of 3-6 months, as they are more exposed to bacteria and fungi.

Unopened products can last two to three years if stored in a cool, dry place, except for creamier products containing oils or butter that can go rancid because of the oil. The same goes for products with a natural makeup formulation without a strong preservative. If a product has been unopened for over three years, it must be disposed of.

How to store and clean your makeup products

According to the ASEAN Consumer Information Handbook on Cosmetic Products, cosmetic products should be stored away from high temperatures and out of direct sunlight to prevent their quality from deteriorating. They also recommend keeping the product lid tight when not in use to reduce the risk of contamination.

Makeup brushes need regular cleaning, too. Powder brushes should be cleaned every three to four months, liquid ones every two months, and both should be replaced every one to two years. Using a salicylic acid acne face wash to clean them can also help keep them bacteria-free, as the non-profit healthcare organization Northwestern Medicine recommends.

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