Friday, November 4, 2016

Beauty Hygiene

Beauty Hygiene - When to Replace Products, Brush Washing, and More!

When I first got into makeup, I don't think I even knew you were supposed to wash your brushes. Luckily I found out pretty quickly (thank you so much, YouTube tutorials!), but I never came across a good general guide on makeup and beauty hygiene. I wanted to make this post so that maybe somebody who is new to makeup can find everything they need to know in one place. Some of these tips include science and even medical-y stuff, and I am not a doctor or scientist, so please just see them as guidelines. If you want to be certain of something here, make sure to do your research and possibly ask a professional. I will list all of my sources of information at the end of the post.

Makeup Sponges - Cleaning, Replacement, and Storage.

Does anybody else remember the huge freakout that happened when a girl found bugs in her Beauty Blender? I do, and I still refuse to watch the video itself because I would never use a makeup sponge again. I was horrified that the same could happen to me, until I read a couple articles explaining why it probably never will. To avoid bugs in your sponge (which is still rare either way; mold is more likely), you need to store it properly. Your sponge should be stored somewhere with good lighting and ventilation, and it should preferably be a cool temperature. This is because those things are all the opposites of what mold likes - anywhere warm, damp, or humid can encourage mold growth. Mold also likes to grow in dark places. So if you put your sponge into your makeup drawer or in a makeup bag after cleaning or use, it's more likely to grow mold. I like to store my sponges on top of my IKEA Alex 9-drawer unit in my room, since it's always a bit cool in the colder months, and my windows provide good light. Your main worry should be mold, not bugs - I've only heard a handful of stories about bugs, and a lot of people are skeptical of whether they're true.

As for cleaning, you can go about it a number of ways. If you get a sponge from a well-known brand, there's a good chance they have instructions specific to their sponge on their website. In general, though, you can wash pretty much any sponge the same way. I plan to do a brush & sponge washing post soon, which will be more detailed, but here are the basics; wet the sponge, making sure to fully saturate it. Squeeze out most of the excess water, then use the soap you have chosen (I use a bar of Zote Soap, but I used to use baby shampoo) to clean it by either pouring a small amount onto the sponge and massaging it in (liquid), or rubbing the sponge on the soap and working the soap throughout the sponge (bar). Massage the sponge gently to work the soap through the whole thing, being careful not to rip or tear it. Put the sponge under running water and squeeze it (not too roughly) so that the soap and old makeup starts to rinse away. You may have to repeat these steps a few times until the water runs clear. Once you're done, squeeze out as much excess water as you can using a dry towel or washcloth. Store it properly.

When it comes to how often you replace your sponge, the general rule is at least every 3 months. I am very guilty of not replacing my sponges often enough, and I know that a lot of other people are too. Whether you replace them every three months or not, if your sponge starts to grow mold, throw it out immediately. Please don't put mold on your face. It's generally not a good idea.

Brush Care and Cleaning

Good quality brushes are an investment. If I pay $20 for a brush, I want it to last a while. I expect expensive brushes to be better quality than inexpensive ones, but if they aren't taken care of properly, expensive brushes will break and shed just as fast as inexpensive ones. The main things that I find ruin brushes the fastest are improper storage while they dry and being washed too roughly. If you store brushes with the bristles up while they're still wet, water will run down the ferrule (the metal part where the bristles are glued to the handle) and loosen the glue, causing shedding. If too much hair sheds, the brush won't be usable anymore. While you're washing a brush, it can be tempting to scrub it really hard to get it super clean and get deeper into the brush. Do not do that. It can bend and break bristles, ruining the shape of the brush. This is even more important when it comes to sparse, flimsy brushes like fan brushes. A dense brush with a stiffer shape, such as a flat-top foundation brush, can withstand a little more intense cleaning.

Like I mentioned in the sponge section, I plan to do a brush & sponge washing post soon that will go into detail. The basics of washing your brushes are similar to the basics of washing sponges; wet the bristles of the brush, holding the brush at a downward angle and attempting not to get too much water on the ferrule or handle. If you use bar soap (my favorite is Zote Soap), gently rub the brush on the soap a couple times. If you're using liquid soap (if you go this route, I would recommend baby shampoo, but a gentle hand soap can work as well), squeeze a bit into your hand and rub the brush in it, or have a small container of it to dip the brushes into. If you're just starting out, you can use the palm of your hand to (gently!) scrub the brush. If you can, though, I recommend getting something textured to rub the brush on instead so it gets a bit deeper into the bristles. I use this brush cleaning egg a lot, and it's only a dollar. Once you've worked the soap on the brush into a lather, rinse it under lukewarm water. Always use lukewarm water if possible, too cold won't work as well but too hot can damage the bristles. For most eye brushes and powder face brushes, you probably won't have to do this more than once for the water to run clear. Foundation and concealer brushes can take a few times to truly be clean.

To dry the brushes, it's best to find a way to store them bristles down so no water gets into the ferrule. This isn't realistic for most people, though, so lying them on their sides either on a towel or over the edge of the counter is fine. How often you need to wash your brushes can vary depending on how often you use them, but a good rule is at least once a month. I need to clean mine once a week most of the time since I wear makeup and play around with it a lot. If you have a lot of brushes, then you may not need to clean all of them every week or two weeks, since you can use a different brush of one is too dirty.

Replacing Makeup

Some products, like powders, can last years before they even show signs of going bad. But things like mascara need to be replaced very regularly to avoid infection and illness. Generally speaking, powder products last longer than liquids or creams. If you ask me, the most important thing to replace regularly is mascara. If you use an expired foundation, you might get a breakout or rash. But if you use an expired mascara, you can get pinkeye. I would like to avoid both of those things, but I would rather deal with a breakout than pinkeye. Most products will have a symbol somewhere on the packaging that looks like this:
Image Source
Inside of this symbol you will see a number followed by the letter "M". The M stands for months, and the number is how many months you can use the product after opening. Some products will have an actual expiration date, but that's pretty rare. Some mascaras will say six months, but it's usually best to replace it every three. And if it smells bad, has changed consistency, or you can see obvious separation or mold growth, toss it. You wouldn't eat food if you noticed any of those things had happened to it, so why would you wear lipstick that has those problems? You may not ingest as much, but it can still make you sick. Plus it just feels really gross to know there's mold or bad bacteria on your face.

Final Thoughts + Sources

This post really only covers a few basic things, so please let me know if you would like me to cover something else in a future post! As with any other post involving health and hygiene, make sure to do your own research too - I did a good amount of research for this post and tried to use only sources that I knew were reliable, but that doesn't mean I didn't miss something important or leave something else relevant out unintentionally. I will list my sources for this post below, organized by which of the issues covered they relate to.

Makeup Sponges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Brush Care: 1, 2
Makeup Replacement: 1, 2
Please Note: The Zote Soap linked in the sponge section is much cheaper in store, less than a dollar sometimes!

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