Beauty Resolutions: Keeping Things Clean in 2013!
Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions yet? Whether you have a long list already or don’t go in for that nonsense, here are some really easy – but very important – hygiene steps to take in 2013:
1. RESOLVE: To remove your makeup before bed
Makeup was not meant to be worn for days at a time – it can block pores, leading to a breakout (yes, even the all-natural, mineral, or noncomedogenic varieties can affect your skin when they’ve been ground against your face and a pillow all night!) Leftover eye makeup can irritate your eyes and the skin around them (which can result in styes and other blemishes). Leaving makeup on is also rather drying – you’ll miss out on the benefits of applying a good moisturizer at night, and if you skip this step consistently, you may develop wrinkles earlier than you would otherwise.
Even if makeup itself doesn’t tend to break you out, the world is a rather dirty place, and accordingly, your face is subject to free radicals throughout the day. You need to cleanse your skin to help keep it healthy and youthful in appearance.
2. RESOLVE: To keep your germs to yourself
Consider a well-loved, half-full tube of lipgloss. It not only contains the product, but microscopic skin cells and other contaminants that were picked up by the applicator every time you swiped on some color. (And unlike the surface of a lipstick, which can be dipped in alcohol and wiped down, there’s no way to sanitize the inside of a gloss tube.) Sharing lip gloss can spread cold sores, flu, not to mentions all sorts of bacteria.
Or let’s take a tube of mascara. Sharing mascara runs the risk of spreading conjunctivitis (pinkeye) and herpes simplex (yes, in your eye – are we having fun yet?) Still not convinced? Just take a moment to run a Google Image search for “eyelash mites.” (Are those things scary-looking or what?!?)
Is this something you really want to share with a friend?
3. RESOLVE: To protect yourself from other people’s germs
After reading the above, hopefully you’ll NEVER use the testers at the mall directly on your lips or eyes – especially anything with an in-tube applicator that cannot be sanitized. (I always assumed this would go without saying, but I’ve seen Sephora shoppers applying tester lipgloss directly to their lips – yikes!) Thoroughly wipe down the outer layer of powders with a clean tissue (or a sanitizing product like Beauty So Clean) before using, since people tend to test eyeshadows and similar products by wiping their fingers against them. When in doubt, test colors on the back of your hand and take advantage of the store’s return policy if that new lipgloss or eyeliner just didn’t look good on you after all.
While most beauty pros have been trained in safe cosmetic hygiene practices, others are either ignorant or simply unconcerned about the potential risks, so it’s up to you to advocate for your health. If you’re getting a makeover and the artist comes at you with an in-tube mascara wand that you know has touched countless other eyes (rendering both the applicator and the product itself potentially contaminated), confess to being “a bit of a germ-phobe” and politely decline.
4. RESOLVE: To clean your makeup brushes regularly
Nothing like applying a soft neutral eyeshadow only to muddy up your lids with the dark purple you wore several nights before! Brush cleaning is easy – I like to use the same cleanser I use on my face. Swish them in lukewarm water against your palm using cleanser to thoroughly clean the bristles, then gently rinse and squeeze out excess water. Lie the brushes flat to dry so water doesn’t drip into the ferrule (which can loosen the glue and cause shedding).
Ideally you should clean your makeup brushes once a week, but if you can only squeeze it in a few times a month you’re still doing better than most. (Makeup artists have to clean them between every single client, so count yourself lucky!) If you don’t have time to deep-clean, there are plenty of brush cleansers available for purchase that will clean and sanitize the bristles and dry very quickly (my personal favorite is by Cinema Secrets).
If you prefer sponges and puffs, make sure to replace them frequently (although some – like the Beauty Blender – can be washed and reused). If you’re still using the same sponge or puff that came with a pressed powder or cream-to-powder compact, it is very likely coated with skin oils and impurities, which will affect the application and can even form a glazed “crust” on top of the makeup. (Tip: press clear tape against the glazed surface to remove a few layers of powder, or scrape it off entirely with a fingernail. And replace the applicator immediately!)
5. RESOLVE: To dispose of any unused or expired cosmetics
Pay attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations for a product’s shelf life, but also use your common sense – when in doubt, throw it out. For example, here’s a quick way to tell if a lipstick or gloss has gone rancid: give it a sniff. If you detect a strong, offensive wax-y odor (like a melted crayon), toss that puppy pronto!
The first thing to go will usually be your mascara – yep, 3 months after purchase. Mascara dries out quickly, as you’ll undoubtedly notice when it starts giving you stiff spiky spider lashes, and you want any product used near your eyes to be as clean as possible. Products with SPF also have an expiration date (generally around two to three years), so don’t count on protecting yourself with five-year-old sunscreen or tinted moisturizer. Finally, remember that any product with no preservatives will have a much shorter life, so follow the manufacturer’s guidelines accordingly.
As for powders, wipe them down occasionally and pay attention to the consistency and performance of the product. As long as they remain dry and maintain a clean surface, they will have a much lengthier life than the creams, gels and liquids in your makeup bag.
As for any unused products, return them if you can. Or give yourself a few months to see whether that impulse buy actually makes a happy appearance on your face. If not, give it the ol’ heave-ho and make room for the colors you’ll actually like and use. (Or the next impulse buy; whichever comes first!)