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Whether you’re getting ready for a night out with friends or doing your everyday makeup for the office, beauty routines often include a lot of tools and products. But are you putting yourself at risk for beauty mishaps?


February 26, 2018

Looking your best has never felt so good. Except when it comes with a price. And no, we’re not talking about the amount of money you paid for that new lipstick. We’re talking about pain. Pink eye, bacterial infections, and burns can all happen from common beauty routines. Fear not, glam girl. Here are some common makeup mishaps and how to avoid them.

Don't Share Your Personal Makeup

If you’re a makeup lover, your collection might be one to be envied. Between limited edition eye shadow palettes to bold lipsticks, you’ve got it all. But with such a collection comes the inevitable questions: “Can I try that highlighter; can I borrow your mascara?”

Just say no. Sharing makeup and beauty tools can often lead to rashes caused by allergic reactions and infections from the swapping of bacteria and viruses. All you wanted was the perfect smoky eye, not pink eye or a stye. In January 2018, a beauty retailer came under fire when a former employee claimed that the store she worked at would repackage and sell used makeup that had been returned.1 For an unsuspecting consumer who purchases the returned product, this means they may be at risk for contracting bacteria that is not their own. When it comes to makeup, it is okay not to share.

MedExpress Pro Tip: If you are shopping for makeup in a store, make sure to fully inspect the product before purchasing to make sure it has not been tampered with or consider ordering products online to ensure it hasn’t been compromised.

Get Rid of Old Makeup

girl putting on mascara

Did you know that makeup products can expire? Depending on how complex your makeup routine is, you may use a lot of different products each day, and it is likely you’ve owned some of them for quite a while. Some products, like mascara, are often replaced frequently because of their decline in quality with repeated use. But other products, like blush, may be hanging out in your makeup bag for a few years before you even hit pan. 

Unlike food, makeup isn’t required to include an expiration date on the package. Not sure how long products are safe to use? Here is a handy guide to how long you should keep different beauty products:

  • Mascara and Eyeliner – Aim to replace these smoky eye staples every three to four months. Every time the wand is put back into the tube, you are transferring bacteria from your eyelids. 
  • Liquid Foundation – Liquid foundation is safe to use up to a year from first use. Look for foundations with a pump nozzle, which keep the product safe from bacteria on your hands. 
  • Powder Foundation, Bronzer, Blush, Eye Shadow – Powder products present less of an issue because bacteria cannot grow without water. Poweder-based makeup staples can be tossed after two years. If you use water to “wet” your products to make them more pigmented, replace these after six months. 
  • Lip Products – Most lip products, such as lipsticks, lip glosses, and tinted lip balms, contain anti-microbial properties that protect against bacteria growth. However, lip gloss should be replaced after six months and lipstick after one year. 

If you ever notice a product has changed consistency, color, or smell, throw it out! Plus, it’s a good excuse to go buy new makeup (don’t need to tell us twice).

While most products have a relatively long shelf life, they can become infected with bacteria from a single use if the brush or tool used in application hasn’t be cleaned or disinfected recently.

Once a week, make it a habit to clean all your makeup brushes and sponges. Naturally porous, your brushes and sponges hold onto oil, bacteria, and leftover product, so it's important to clean them regularly.

  1. Run the bristles of your brushes under lukewarm water. 
  2. Massage dish soap or shampoo into the bristles to clean them. 
  3. Rinse with water and repeat until the water runs clear. Reshape your brush heads and leave out to dry for at least 24 hours.

Research Salons Before Your Next Mani or Pedi

person getting a manicure

Few things feel better than walking out of the salon with a fresh manicure. But that feeling is sure to dwindle if you come down with an infection from a manicure or pedicure gone wrong. Between your feet being filed or a small cut to your cuticle, these small tears and cuts to the skin can cause infections if bacteria enters the cut. When it comes to looking for a salon, look for one that uses an autoclave (a pressure chamber that uses elevated temperatures and pressure) to disinfect their instruments and tools.

MedExpress Pro Tip: If you notice any pain or redness on your toes, feet, or fingers following a visit to the nail salon, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Use Heat Tools for Your Hair Carefully

woman using a curling iron

It has happened to the best of us. You’re in the middle of curling your hair, when all of a sudden, the curling wand brushes against your skin. All you wanted was the perfect beachy waves – not an unsightly burn on your neck. Whether the burn from your favorite heat tool is on your neck, ear, forehead, fingers, or another sensitive part of your body, it should be tended to right away.

To soothe a burn from a hairstyle gone wrong, first you want to cool off, literally. Apply an ice pack or a damp wash cloth, to a burn for 10-15 minutes, until the area has cooled down completely. If a blister forms, do not pop it. If the blister breaks, clean it with mild soap and water, apply antibiotic ointment, such as Neosporin, and cover it with a bandage. Moisturize the area to help with healing and reduce scaring. A burn is less likely to scar if the skin is kept moist. As always, it’s best to consult with a medical professional for accurate treatment of burns.

MedExpress Pro Tip: Tired of burning your fingertips when using hot hair tools? Most beauty supply stores sell heat resistant gloves to help protect your hands.

Have a mishap while getting ready? With convenient hours and locations across the country, MedExpress is here to help you feel your best.


1 Business Insider: Ulta Beauty Employees Are Accusing The Company of Selling Used Makeup — And The Photos Are Every Makeup Buyer's Worst Nightmare. Published January 12, 2018. Accessed February 21, 2018. 

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