You Really, Really Shouldn't Share Make Up With Your Friends

No seriously, it's super gross.
Tatiana Maksimova via Getty Images

If you love beauty like me, you’ll know how important it is it be careful with the the products you put on your face. Experimenting with different products is fun but you don’t want to end up damaging your face, especially your eyes.

Believe it or not, several of our beauty habits could be impacting our eye health and potentially our vision too. This is why Nimmi Mistry, professional services optician at Vision Direct, is sharing six common beauty habits that could be damaging your eyes and how to break them.

1. Sharing makeup

Let’s be honest, we’ve all shared make-up with someone before. Maybe your friend has a make-up product you’ve been eyeing up that you’ve been dying to try, or you’re staying at a friends house and left a make-up product at home, so borrow theirs instead. Though it might seem harmless your eyes are the most sensitive part of your face.

And, in bad news, sharing make-up is essentially trading germs. Cross-contamination can occur when you use the same brushes, mascara, eye-shadow, and eyeliner with someone else.

A 2020 study found that make-up brushes were found to have staphylococcus aureus present. This is a major pathogen of the eye able to infect the tear duct, eyelid, conjunctiva, cornea, anterior and posterior chambers, and the vitreous chamber. One infection this could lead to is bacterial conjunctivitis.

The person you are sharing makeup with may not even know they have an infection, but this won’t stop it from spreading through sharing makeup. Bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with eye drops to help with your symptoms.

If symptoms persist after two weeks of treatments speak to your doctor.

Wearing contact lenses whilst having an eye infection can slow down the recovery and aggravate your eyes, so stop wearing your contact lenses until the infection has completely cleared and be sure to throw away any eye makeup used from the moment symptoms were experienced.

2. Not removing makeup before bed

The last thing you want to do after a night of going out-out is take off your make-up. However, trapped make-up particles can irritate the surface of the eye and cause a foreign body sensation, which is having the feeling like you’ve got something in your eye.

Make sure you wash your hands before you remove your make-up. Additionally, you should consider using cleansing water and cotton pads to remove the first layer of makeup and then use a cleanser to wash away the oil and stubborn build-up.

Ensure you indulge in a good skincare routine before sleeping and make a habit of moisturising the skin around your eyes, with an eye appropriate moisturiser. Be sure to use a gentle cleanser for eye makeup to ensure you don’t irritate the delicate skin around your eyes.

3. Using expired products

When was the last time you looked at an expiry date on your make-up products? Your makeup brushes aren’t the only things that can have bacteria build up on them, make-up products can too.

Even though makeup contains preservatives that help prevent bacteria from living in the products, they can still be contaminated with regular use. Like mascara for example, the spool touches the eyelashes and then is placed back inside the product.

This happens repeatedly, often without the spool being cleaned, leading to the spread of bacteria to the eyes.

Here are some general replacement guidelines for eye makeup products:

  • Mascara and liquid eyeliner typically are considered safe to use for three months, six months maximum. Liquid products used near the eye have an increased risk of spreading bacteria.
  • Pencil-style eyeliners and gel eyeliners can be used for up to a year.
  • Powder products, such as eye shadows, if stored properly, free from moisture, and used with clean brushes/applicators, are good for up to two years.

4. Applying harsh chemicals

You should try to avoid using products that contain harsh chemicals around your eyes. These can irritate the skin and, if yours is particularly sensitive, it could also cause an allergic reaction.

If in doubt, check the ingredients and pay close attention to the packaging, but remember that some packaging will not explicitly state if the product is suitable for use around the eyes.

When trying a new skincare product, you should do a patch test, trying a small amount applied to a small area daily for three to five days and monitoring for any unwanted reactions.

5. Not wearing sunglasses

As the weather gets sunnier, protecting your eyes from the sun is a must. Prolonged exposure to UV rays from the sun modifies lens proteins of the eyes, this can lead to cataract formation and worsening eyesight.

Over time, cataracts can make vision blurry, hazy, or less colorful. There is also the added risk of increased chances of developing cancers of the eyelid, including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, both of which are linked to UV exposure.

To protect your eyes consider wearing sunglasses with UV protection, and don’t be fooled by overcast days. The UV levels may still be high even when it is cloudy, for this reason, it is recommended that you use an SPF face cream every day.

It’ll protect your skin from harmful UV exposure. Even with sunglasses Doctors advise a thin application of SPF around the eyes as additional protection. But always take care when applying any product around the eye. If you wear contact lenses, you can also opt for those which have added layers of UV protection.

6. Following TikTok “hacks” and trends

We love a good TikTok hack, not everything we see online is beneficial. Sometimes there’s no scientific evidence or expert opinion backing these quick fixes, and while some may be considered harmless, there are often one or two that are potentially dangerous.

For example, heating up eyelash curlers with a lighter for an extra long-lasting lift is extremely dangerous and can lead to burns, cause your lashes to fall out, and cause potential injury.

Mistry shares her quick beauty tips for healthier eyes:

  • Wash your makeup brushes regularly with a gentle soap or makeup cleanser. Failure to do so increases the potential for spreading bacteria to your eyes.
  • Throw away eye makeup after an eye infection. If you go back to using the products, you are putting your eyes at risk of becoming infected again. Avoid using any eye makeup until the infection has completely cleared.
  • If your mascara becomes dry you should throw it away and buy a new one. Do not add water or saliva to the mascara as saliva is full of bacteria.
  • Ensure you store your makeup in a cool dry place to prevent the make-up from degrading.
  • Take extra care when using glitter eye shadows as small pieces of glitter can irritate the eye