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How Dirty Is Your Makeup?

by Courtney on May 17, 2010

Last week, as per my usual weekday morning routine, I was watching Good Morning America while getting ready for work, when one of the segments caught my attention.  I heard “makeup” and was quickly intrigued. ;)

The segment, “How Dirty Is Your Makeup“, took a closer look at just how clean (or dirty) the makeup in department stores, and your own makeup bag, really is.  As it turns out, makeup is quite good at harboring LOTS of different bacteria.  There are hundreds of people who use makeup counter testers everyday, but they don’t always use the disposable applicators.  (EEEWW!)  And all those “dirty fingers” can spread everything from micrococcus to (eek…) e-coli, and we all know where THAT comes from! :-?

Now, if you guys are anything like me (hopefully you’re not) you have your own decent sized stash of makeup…some of which may have been sitting around for a few more months years than you’d like to admit.  I’ve heard many times before that it’s not good to hold on to old stuff, but after seeing all of these different bacteria that could be sitting in my own bag, I decided it was time for an intervention! :)

I grabbed my bag(s) and got to work…ok, so far nothing looks too bad, right?

Hmmm, looks like there’s a decent amount in there…

Then, it was time for the DUMP (WARNING, it’s a little scary…)

EEEEEK!! :shock:  I haven’t seen some of this stuff in…well…I didn’t even know I HAD some of this stuff!

This one has got to be from high school or at least beginning of college (6-8 years old…)

And I definitely didn’t know I had this pencil down there…

Unfortunately, there was no salvaging this powder…what a bummer! :-(

So, I decided the best thing to do would be to divide everything into 4 piles:

  1. Trash
  2. Everyday makeup
  3. Occasionally used makeup
  4. Tools

Here’s the TRASH – some of this stuff is SUPER old, and some I didn’t even know I had, so it can’t be missed anyways!

Here’s the occasionally used makeup.  Sometimes I have some different eye shadows or pencils that I’ll wear for certain occasions, and depending on the weather, I’ll switch up the type of foundation I use.  For example, in the winter I’ll use liquid foundation, because mineral powder seems to just “sit” on top of my skin, rather than absorbing in.

Here’s the everyday stuff.  As you can tell, I’m not exactly partial to any one brand ;)

And here are my tools.  Different types of brushes, applicators, pencils, and cleaners.

It really is important to clean your brushes – not only for bacteria, but also to ensure that you’re getting the best possible application of your makeup.  I like to use this Sephora Daily Brush cleaner.  Just spray a couple quick sprays, wipe it off with a tissue, and you’re good to go! :)

Tips to Help Keep Your Makeup Clean

  • Sharpen your pencils to remove bacteria on the outer layers.  You can also use diluted bleach and makeup remover to clean the sharpener.
  • Occasionally wipe down your lipstick, or shave off the top if you’ve shared it with someone else.
  • Keep all lids and caps tightly closed.  If you’ve lost a top, ditch the product.
  • Thoroughly wash your brushes (with soap and water or a more concentrated brush cleanser) every few weeks.
  • Wipe down your makeup bag with diluted bleach and makeup remover.

Makeup Shelf Life

  • Mascara – 3 months
  • Concealer – 12-18 months
  • Cream blush – 12-18 months
  • Cream eye shadow – 12-18 months
  • Lip gloss – 18-24 months
  • Powder – 2 years
  • Brush & bronzer – 2 years
  • Eyeliner & lip liner – 2 years
  • Lipstick – 2 years

Hopefully this has helped inspire some of you to check out your own makeup supply!  Hope you enjoyed! :)

**Ever heard of strawberry basil jam?  Be sure to check out Michelle’s awesome giveaway today to check it out!   ;)

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nancy May 17, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I NEVER use those communal (Is that the right spelling?lol) makeup things at counters. I swatch them on my hand and immediately leave the store with my hand sanitizer lol.

Though, I see that you wear Laura Mercier makeup!!? How do you like it? How is your skin (without makeup)? I only “need” to cover my cheeks and temples because they’re sort of redder than the rest of my face, but I’ve also been dying to try out LM stuff!


2 Courtney May 17, 2010 at 1:56 pm

I LOVE the Laura Mercier makeup that I have! I’ve been using the blush for a while, and love how smooth is goes on. I’d been hearing about the tinted foundation FOREVER, but couldn’t bring myself to spend the $$. Then I noticed a “sampler” kit they had in the store and quickly snagged it. I am now in love with ALL the products in that kit! Here’s a link to the post from when I bought it:


3 Nancy May 18, 2010 at 9:13 am

Oh! I didn’t realize it was crazy expensive. I rarely go into Sephora (because it’s in Toronto, and I’m not close). I wonder if there’s a beginner/starter kit in the one I (rarely) visit. lol

Thanks for the link, I’ll check it out.


4 snickerdoodle44 May 17, 2010 at 1:35 pm

This is the perfect reminder…I shall have to do this as soon as I get home this evening! Being the Sephora addict that I am, I have many, many half-bottles and half-used makeup items. I will have to get some of that brush cleaner…thanks! Ü


5 Courtney May 17, 2010 at 1:57 pm

No prob! ;)


6 amy May 17, 2010 at 3:10 pm

I am a total makeup whore. I have so much stuff. I’m loving Josie Marans products right now. Trying to get more into the natural, organic stuff. Her lipplumpers and eyeshadows are great.


7 Courtney @ Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life May 17, 2010 at 3:37 pm

I haven’t tried her stuff yet, but was looking for a new eye shadow…I guess I’ll have to give ‘em a peek! Thanks :)


8 lisaou11 May 17, 2010 at 3:12 pm

I need to do this! I love doing stuff like this though–decluttering feels SO good. (even if its just your makeup bag).


9 Courtney @ Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life May 17, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Yes, doesn’t it feel great? The next one is the closet….eeek! :-O


10 Ally @ Sweet & Savory May 17, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Holy crap girl, that is a LOT of makeup! I have about a 1/3 of that…and mine is just as dirty. I need to get some of that spray, asap!


11 Courtney @ Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life May 17, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Hahaha, I told you it was ugly! ;) Luckily, I got rid of about 1/3 of it!


12 Katalina May 17, 2010 at 4:27 pm

wow!! you can open a beauty salon will all that stuff!! :) you shuld give me lesson, please, are you in NY? :)


13 Courtney @ Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life May 17, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Yes, I am in NY! Not NYC though…


14 saravipond May 17, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Hey, just so you know, Bare Minerals makeup doesn’t go bad. It’s all crushed up minerals, no oils or preservatives or anything like that. So while it can harbor bacteria if you stick dirty fingers or brushes in it, the bacteria can’t breed and it’ll die out.

You should also actually wash your brushes. The spray stuff doesn’t clean them thoroughly, it just helps kill bacteria on the tips of the bristles. You should wash them with brush shampoo once a month.


15 Courtney May 17, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Thank you so much for the info on Bare Minerals. I was aware of the minerals not going bad, but I didn’t know about the bacteria being unable to breed.

And I actually do wash my brushes every few weeks with more than just my daily brush cleaner. I just use that to get the daily grime out of the way.


16 Alexa May 18, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Courtney! You’ve inspired me to clean my brushes & go through my stuff haha! it’s pretty gross when you think about it


17 Holly at Greek Yogurt and Apple Slices May 18, 2010 at 2:37 pm

That was an awesome post- never learned so much about make up before :) good to know! I wish I never how to do really cool makeup..but I don’t! Lol!! All I wear is mascara pretty much..and eye liner occassionally.


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