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GR8NESS expert Expert Reviewed
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Over 90% of Makeup Sponges Contain Deadly Bacteria – What to Do

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Makeup sponges are a popular way to apply makeup. What most people ignore is the dangers growing inside them. A recent study analyzed the number of bacteria living in almost 500 most-used makeup products. After looking at eyeliners, lipstick, mascaras, blender sponges, and more, researchers found that 70% to 90% of those products had bacteria in them.

Deadly Bacteria in Makeup Sponges

While most people expect to have some levels of bacteria growing in their makeup products, most are unaware of what type is hiding under the surface. Researchers found E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Both can lead to infection, respiratory illness, and other diseases.

From all makeup products tested, almost 97% of makeup sponges contained fungus. Researchers believe the high levels of contamination are mostly due to people not cleaning their makeup products and using them past their expiration dates. Ninety-three percent of those surveyed said they never cleaned their makeup sponges, and 64% used their sponges after they dropped them on the floor.

The Importance of Expiration Dates

Some of these beauty products claim to be anti-bacterial. While this might be true, there’s an expiration date on these benefits. When people don’t clean their products and don’t toss them past their expiration date, it creates the perfect environment in which bacteria can grow.

Although the fungus and bacteria on your makeup sponge won’t always cause an infection, they can get into an open cut when you apply your makeup. The same is true if you use these makeup products close to the mouth or eyes.

What to Do

To protect yourself from a possible deadly infection, your first line of defense is to clean your brushes. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests washing your brushes at least every 7 to 10 days. However, for makeup applicators like a blender sponge, you should wash and dry them after every use.

First, make sure you’re cleaning your makeup brushes and products correctly. Secondly, take the time to go through your makeup products and check the expiration dates.

Unfortunately, makeup manufacturers in the US are not required to print expiration dates on the products, which is why many of them don’t have them. As a rule of thumb, if you cannot remember when you bought a makeup product, toss it.

A Word from GR8NESS

Educate yourself about makeup products expiration dates, as well as best hygiene practices to make sure you’re not placing yourself at risk.

Use mild soap to clean your makeup brushes and sponges. Spray your makeup products with alcohol to prevent bacteria from growing. Lastly, wipe down your lipstick, lip gloss brushes, mascara brushes, and other products that come in close contact with your mouth and eyes. Your only defense against fungus and bacteria is prevention.

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Geraldine
GR8NESS Writer
Geraldine is a GR8NESS Contributing Editor who writes about self care, clean makeup and beauty, mental health, and relationships – as well as natural remedies and fitness. She’s a coffee enthusiast with Venezuelan roots, a former ballerina, and the sunscreen patrol. Most of the time, you can find her working on her skincare routine or trying a new dance workout.
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