Why You Should Never Store Your Makeup In Your Bathroom

ILLUSTRATED BY LAUREN ALEXA
Bad news if you store your makeup bag in the bathroom; according to experts, it's the optimum place for skin-ravaging bacteria to multiply.
In a recent study, microbiologists tested a range of used makeup products and found that 79-90% of items were contaminated with bacteria. Some of the bacteria found are potentially harmful to our health, and can make us sick or result in an eye or skin infection.
Taking to Instagram this week, consultant dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto broke down exactly why our makeup products, brushes and sponges may happen to get so filthy, and the answer is a lesson to most of us. She wrote: "Many products were being used or stored in the bathroom. Not only is there a risk of cross-contamination from faecal bacteria (bacteria from your gut) by storing products here, but heat and steam from the shower may also produce an environment where microbes can thrive."
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There are some main culprits. "This particular study looked at 467 products in total and found that out of the 5 categories mentioned above, Beautyblenders and lip glosses were most likely to be contaminated with bacteria or fungus," Dr Mahto continued.⁣ "Of more concern, Enterobacteriaceae (usually found in the gut) was detected in all product types." Dr Mahto said that microbes like these are known to be potentially dangerous and should never be found in our makeup or skincare.
The study adds that many Beautyblenders had never been cleaned, despite being dropped on the floor, but Dr Mahto said that mascara is just as bad. She cited that as many as 97% of us use makeup past its expiry date and mascara is often the product we're least likely to throw away.
To minimise bacteria getting into your makeup products, sponges and brushes, Dr Mahto shared some tips. This is probably a given, but avoid sharing makeup (especially mascara) with anyone, and make sure that sponges and brushes are cleaned and dried properly at least once a week. Here's a pro's guide.
Dr Mahto also advised being vigilant about expiry dates (which should be printed on the underside of any product), being cautious of tester products at beauty counters, as dozens of people touch them every day, washing your hands before applying makeup, and finally, keeping your makeup bag out of the bathroom at all costs. Instead, store your makeup in a clean bag inside a dry space, such as a cupboard, to prevent bacteria from multiplying.
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