Cosmetics are a part of everyday life for both men and women. Many people want to look good and makeup can enhance our best features and provide a boost of confidence as well. As the seasons change, it’s a perfect time to go through all of the products we have while also focusing a bit on makeup safety. “Safety” isn’t really a word we hear when discussing cosmetics but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Think about the many products and makeup tools used to get that perfect look! That’s why we, at Market America, wanted to have a little chat about the basics of cosmetic safety and why you really need to know what you may be putting on your face along with your cosmetics!
The word “cosmetics” covers a lot of things, as found in the Federal Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Act, which defines them as “articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body … for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance.” When you think about it, cosmetics really covers quite a lot of product!
Unfortunately, with a lot, if not most cosmetics, we can often risk our health if we are not aware of the dangers that come with unsanitary products. From blindness to blood poisoning (yes, you read that correctly!), unsanitary cosmetics can cause an array of health problems. Before we go any further, if you plan to be eating anytime soon, you may want to postpone finishing this article as the findings from one study may curb your appetite for some time. Okay, we warned you.
In one study from October 2019, 467 products (lipstick, lip gloss, eyeliners, mascara and beauty blenders) were donated for testing. The study showed that 70–90% of all used cosmetics were contaminated with bacteria. Of the products, lip gloss and beauty blenders were found to have the highest amount of bacteria, including types such as Staphylococcus aureus (the leading cause of skin and soft tissue infections) as well as Escherichia coli (which causes bacterial infections). From the study, Dr. Amreen Bashir also informed us on how of the 70–90% of cosmetic products, beauty blenders contained the highest total microbial load and more than 25% carried faecal contaminants. Yes, you read that correctly — faecal contaminants on products you are applying to your face; just let that sink in. With that, they advised to avoid storing and using makeup in the bathroom. No matter how clean you keep your bathroom, its best to stop keeping things we regularly apply to our face near the toilets.
So, now that you know what you may have applied on your face as recently as this morning, let’s break down some easy steps to ensure that what you are using to enhance your beauty is truly cosmetics and nothing else.
1. Assess: Start by going through all of your makeup, hair products, skincare products, dental products, and body products and check the expiration date, as well as quality. It sounds like a lot, so if you’re short on time, just go through one category a week. Not all products will have set expiration dates on them because the government does not actually require them, so if you run into that, worry not. Check out the FDA’s recommendations regarding shelf life of different products. A few other ways you can determine your product’s quality is based on where you’ve stored it. For example, if you didn’t notice that your face moisturizer should be stored in a cool and dry place and it’s been sitting on a shelf in the sun for a while, you might want to consider getting a new one.
2. Label: A great habit to get into is labeling your products with the date on which you opened it. This way, you will have a better idea of how long you’ve had the product and how that may affect its quality. If you’re not sure when you purchased a product or how old it is, the FDA recommends disposing of it if there are changes in color or smell. Labeling also allows you to be more mindful in your use of products. For example, if you’re a product lover and always have multiple new products you’re trying, make sure to use the ones that have been opened the longest because they now have a shorter shelf life than the ones you haven’t opened or just recently opened. It may sound like a hassle to label each product, but it can give you more confidence that what you’re applying to your body is safe. It’s also important to remember that labeling will not prevent all safety hazards, such as dropping a product like your mascara on the bathroom floor. In scenarios such as those, we encourage you to at least clean, if not replace the item prior to use and if not, apply at your own risk. The FDA also discusses different ways consumers can protect their products from microbial contamination — those little germs, bacteria and fungi that can make their way into your cosmetics; yuck!
3. Clean: While most of our cosmetics like body wash, shampoo and face wash require little up keeping, it’s important to remember our makeup. If you use any brushes, sponges or other applicators to apply your makeup, it is essential to clean them. When you neglect cleaning them, you leave old makeup product residue on them, letting bacteria grow and next thing you know you’re breaking out because you haven’t washed your makeup brushes in a couple months. The American Academy of Dermatology breaks down why and how to clean your makeup brushes. They recommend doing it every seven to ten days, and it only takes seven quick and easy steps. All you need is a bowl, some shampoo, baby shampoo or gentle facewash, lukewarm water, a towel and your brushes, and you’ll no longer have to worry about the skin and safety concerns that come with dirty makeup brushes. From clogging up your pores with dirt and debris to getting pink eye or even a staph infection, dirty makeup brushes have many risks, so, get to washing!
4. Don’t share your products: While many of us are taught to share what we have from a young age, sharing makeup with anyone, including your BFF, can lead to serious infections, especially eye products. Another person’s bacteria and germs could be hazardous, especially when applying products to the face. You also never know how often others clean and take care of their makeup products, such as brushes and applicators. Don’t forget all of those retail store “testers.”
5. Replace: Last but not least, replace your products. If you’re not sure when you replaced your mascara last, it’s probably the right time to do so. If your eyeshadow is looking a little rough or aged, consider getting a new one. If you’re questioning the quality of your cosmetics, it’s better to stay safe and replace! From acne and skin irritation to staph and blood poisoning, we’ve brought to your attention the risks you should be aware of regarding your cosmetics. Plus, who doesn’t love a good excuse for a mini shopping spree? Check out these beauty products if you’re considering replacing some of your own!
With all of this in mind, we hope you can take steps moving forward to ensure your next makeover includes cosmetics that are safe and up to date.
Market America | SHOP.COM is a global product brokerage and internet marketing company that specializes in one-to-one marketing and is the creator of The Shopping Annuity®.