Our makeup bags are a breeding ground of superbugs, according to new research by Aston University. A quick look inside our team's bags reveals we're guilty as charged
We'll be the first to admit that our makeup bag isn't the most cleanly of items; from aeons-old eyeliner sharpenings to liberal dustings of blusher gathered in the corners with the odd used tissue, Marie Kondo would have a field day if she got her hands on our beauty bags.
While we might be embarrassed to open our makeup bags in public, new research by Aston University now shows that they are potentially making us ill. "Bacteria that can cause illnesses ranging from skin infections to blood poisoning if used near eyes, mouth or cuts or grazes were found in nine out of ten of the products," says the study, which tested nearly 500 products.
Yep, apparently most of our lipsticks, eyeliners, mascaras and foundation blenders are harbouring potentially life-threatening bacteria including e-coli, fungi and staphylococcus (which causes the skin to become red, sore or inflamed).
Beauty blenders are the worst culprit with highest levels of potentially harmful bacteria, with the vast majority (93 per cent) not having ever been cleaned, despite more than two thirds (64 per cent) being dropped on the floor at some point during use. "The Aston researchers found these products are particularly susceptible to contamination as they are often left damp after use, which creates an ideal breeding ground for harmful bacteria," writes the study.
Even if you're not a convert of the egg-shaped tool, you're still not safe. Seventy-seven per cent of eyeliners carried the germs, along with 69 per cent of mascara and 56 per cent of lipsticks.
While the products are the root of the issue, we can't help but think a little spring clean of the makeup bag itself could do a world of good - there's no point putting shiny new products in a grubby old bag.
Embarrassed by the state of her own makeup bag in the light of the study, Get The Gloss' editorial director Victoria Woodhall immediately switched to a canvas one that can be put in the hot wash to rid it of any nasties.
Victoria's new and old makeup bags
We all know makeup brushes should be washed a minimum of once a month , but what about the bag that houses them? We'd recommend putting it in the washing machine once a week - you'll feel like a new woman when the corners are fresh and clean, and your prized lipstick collection will look all the better for it.
As for the contents of your bag? Dr Bashir of Aston University’s School of Life and Health Sciences, who led the report, said: “More needs to be done to help educate consumers and the makeup industry as a whole about the need to wash beauty blenders regularly and dry them thoroughly, as well as the risks of using make-up beyond its expiry date.”