Bacteria like foundation too.

There’s an enormous amount of bacteria out there, and there’s about ten times as many bacterial cells in your body as there are human cells.
We can’t live without ’em, but our make-up sure can!

For the longest time I accumulated make-up, almost like a collection really. How was I to know was basicaly creating my own bacteria-spa!
It’s not hard to imagine where they come from though if you think about it, applying lipstick after dinner, eyeliner over your eye, double-dipping blush with bacteria on your face. And then storing it in a nice comfortable place for bacteria to live in, like in the warm humid bathroom.

The detailed version, for all of us who love creepy crawlies, these are some lovely specimens that can be found in your make-up:

E Coli, Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, Staphylococcus Aureus, Staphylococcus Warneri.

Aren’t they cute? ..well at least they are as giant plushies.
But you don’t want them partying in your make-up though right!
They obviously won’t kill you, however they easily contribute to acne and infections, and taking care of your goodies simply make them last longer.

The good news is it’s not hard to keep your make-up sanitary at all! There’s just two things to keep track of:

  • Expiration date

This little thing:

has a meaning! Yes it does! It’s the shelf life of a product. This is how long you can keep your make-up once it’s been opened.

Generally speaking something like this will probably be on there:

Mascara: the fastest to go, up to 3-6 months. Throw it out when it smells off!

Lipstick: up to 4 years.

Gloss: 1 year, 2 at most.

Powder: 2 years.

Blush/eyeshadow: easily a couple of years if sanitized. Bacteria don’t like dry locations.

Foundation: a year for oil-free ones, others 18 months.

Concealer: up to a year.

Nail polish: a year. (however I don’t pay attention to this..)

  • Sanitizing your make-up

You’ll never see a make-up artist using a brush on someone, and then double dipping it again. They’ll take some out out of the pan, and use it from a seperate palette/their hand.
Remember those fun little DIY petri-dishes? That had food in them for bacteria, and you just had to put your finger/eye/toe whatever in there? Yeah, let’s all recall the creepy crawlies for a second.
Tasty, that’s what could happen!

However, we can kill the buggers! YAY!
There’s two main things I sanitize, first of all my brushes, and secondly of all my make-up itself.


Cleaning your brushes is so important, even when not sanitizing your make-up, you’d be amazed if you see brushes under a microscope.
They can be a serious breeding ground for bacteria and fungus, due tue their use (contact with dead skin cells, bacteria, saliva, oils, tears and dirt) and environment (continuous exposure to surfaces that have more bacteria, and in constant contact with warmth and moisture in the air).
Besides that a clean brush is just so much easier to work with, it both picks up and distributes products more evenly.

I’ll spot-clean mine throughout the week with a baby wipe or a brush cleanser.

Deep-cleansing I do every week. Every day is the best though, but.. giant coodos to you if you can keep that up!
An easy way to deep-clean them is getting some inexpensive baby shampoo/2-in-1 shampoo onto your hand, wet the brush, dip it in the shampoo, swirl it around, and rinse!

RIP brushes that got crippled by me rubbing them over a towel afterwards..
I recommend just gently squeezing out the water, while shaping them back, and laying them down on the towel to try.

One tip though is to keep the bristles facing down, if not the water will run into the ferrel of your brush, loosening up the glue and making the brush shed and lose its bristles over time.

Synthetic brushes take a whole day to dry, face brushes can even take a day and a half, keep that in mind!


Every couple of months i’ll whip everything out and give it a generous cleaning. Rubbing alcohol is my best friend! I always keep a bottle of it around the house.

Here’s how I clean everything:

Pressed powders: these get hosed down all in one go.
I’ll whip out every one I have, put them all open on the counter, get some rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle, and myst them with it.
If one of your eyeshadows has worked up a layer on top (from using your fingers for example) just scrape the top off, and spray it with rubbing alcohol, done!
Don’t be afraid, rubbing alcohol won’t ruin your beloved colors! Just give it some time to evaporate and it’ll be fine!

Eye/lip pencils: remove the top layer by whiping down the tip with a tissue. Sharpenig them will do the trick too!

Lipstick: whipe off the top layer with a tissue, and spray some rubbing alcohol on it. Don’t forget to spray in the cap!

Mascara/any wand applicators: there’s not much to sanitize about these, the bacteria are already in the tube. However, not pumping your wand helps a ton, not only does this dry out your product, the air promotes growth of bacteria as well.

Loose powders: i’ll give the sifter a cleanse, with a paper towel and some alcohol again. Can’t clean the powder itself though, but it’s not a very pleasurable location for bacteria anyway, they don’t like dry feet!

anything with a brush attached: you can clean the brush! Just use the same method as with the brushes.

Creams and liquids: these are pretty much impossible to sanitize which is why I use a q-tip to take out some of my moisturizer.
I hate foundation that comes without a pump! Why no pump! SO much easier too! The logics.

That’s it! Maybe this can serve as a guide for some, do let me know if I missed anything!


About LifeOfBun

I'm a student from Belgium, but raised in Holland. My life evolves around animals, games, traveling, make-up, and COLOR. I seek for cruelty free awesomeness & alternatives to my favorite things each day. ^_^

Posted on August 2, 2012, in Box o' appearance, Cosmetics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say
    that I have really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.
    In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I
    hope you write agaun soon!

  2. Good that you reminded me. I’m so lazy and often forget to sanitize my brushes (to say nothing of the cosmetics themselves!) But now I’m inspired :)

    • Awesome! It’s a hassle for sure, but worth it for adding some color every day right. :)

      • Indeed, and maybe next time I buy face creams I’ll try to choose those in a tube and not a jar… But that’s tricky :( It’s a choice between being more eco (I try to buy things in glass if I can) or having less bacteria in your cream. No, actually I think I’ll stick with bacteria then. I already buy far too much plastic :(

      • Yeah like the solid soaps as well.. I was just thinking about that today even. I’m switching to those next time I buy soap. As for face creams, you can minimize it by using a spatula to take some out of the glass jar though!

      • Oh, I actually made the switch last year but my boyfriend persuaded me to have at least one fluid soap in the house (he said we would buy it in bulk to minimize the packaging). Bar soaps are quite nice, I use one instead of peeling and another for washing my body, and there are a couple for hands. And I love them all :) Even though their smell is not so nice, as they are “all natural”, but I’m getting used to that.I have a feeling they clean even better than the fluid ones although they may be a bit harsher. But I do recommend to try, maybe you will like them too!

      • I’m sure I will, at least they come in all those fun shapes too haha. The Lush ones smell amazing by the way. :)

  3. Love your article, have you heard of BeautySoClean? It’s like hand sanitizer for your makeup! If you use alcohol you will dry out your products, just like if you rubbed your hands in alcohol, what would happen?? Also IPA alcohol contains water and the surface of your powders will harden over time! BeautySoClean is formulated to santize your products and rejuvenate at the same time. We are not in Belgium yet but are now available in over 20 countries for hopefully coming soon:) I thought I would reach out to spread the clean word from Canada.

    • I haven’t noticed that yet, but maybe i’ll see a difference when using your cleanser. :) i’m interested in trying out a bottle, i’ll contact you to check whether you are cruelty free or not. Thanks for the heads up!

  4. Only a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw great layout.

  5. I deep clean my foundation brush every day, but I put off the other ones for waayyy to long because I prefer the application with a dirty brush :-p Terrible! I HATE it when awesome products come in jars. Usually I’ll just not buy them, but I got a sample for a lotion once and I loved it so I got it, jar and all, but I always use rubbing alcohol on a spatula to get it out. Pain in the badonkadonk!

  6. Keeping brushes and products clean is so important!! I did a video on how to wash makeup brushes this week too! :-) Great minds think alike, I tell ya! ;-)

    • Haha you and my boyfriend think alike actually, he suggested this topic! :D but it really is important, when I heard for the first time what can be found on brushes I went straight to the sink.

  7. Eeeww. Plushies, lol!

  1. Pingback: New brush cleaning routine: inspired on the Sigma glove | lifeofbun

Speak your mind!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: