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Why your makeup hoarding habit could be lethal…

August 26th 2015 / Anna Hunter / 1 comment


If your makeup is even slightly out of date, it could be testing positive for killer bacteria according to microbiologists

Blusher been hanging around for a year or so? How about that mascara that’s gone a bit crusty around the edges? We’re all for economising, but new research shows that a laissez-faire, ‘make do’ attitude to less than fresh makeup could be endangering not only our own health, but that of those around us.

Research commissioned by online beauty retailer Escentual and undertaken by microbiologists at London Metropolitan University evidences that various out of date makeup products sourced from both high street and designer brands contain unsafe levels of potentially lethal bacteria according to lab tests. Worryingly, four out of five of the beauty products tested positive for enterococcus faecalis, a strain of bacteria that can cause meningitis and septicaemia. This particular bug will be of particular concern to pregnant women and mums, given that it’s one of the principal causes of meningitis, which kills more children under the age of five than any other infectious disease in the UK. Other nasty bacteria found to be present in old foundation, blusher, lipgloss, lipstick and mascara were this lovely lot:


Eubacterium – causes bacterial vaginosis.

Aeromonas– one of the causes of gastroenteritis and wound infections.

Staphylococcus epidermidis- a bug which is resistant to antibiotics and is deadly for people in hospital or who have catheters or surgical implants.

Propionibacterium- can trigger or worsen acne and other skin conditions

Enterobacter– causes urinary and respiratory tract infections, mainly in hospitalized patients with compromised immune systems.

Even worse, the lipgloss tested in the lab was not even deemed to be ‘out of date’, yet it still tested positive for enterococcus faecalis, staphylococcus epidermidis and aeromonas. We have to admit that we don’t notice too many ‘use by’ dates on makeup that lands on our desks, so if in doubt, it’s advisable to chuck anything and everything when it reaches its first birthday, and be especially ruthless when it comes to mascara and lip gloss. The brilliant team at Escentual are even incentivising your clear out; upload a video of you separating the good from the ‘gone’ in your makeup kit on Twitter or Instagram and tag the post with @Escentual #MakeupAmnesty. You’ll then receive a £5 voucher towards a £20 and over beauty spend, meaning that you can replenish your stock. In the words of Emma Leslie, Escentual Beauty Editor:

“If you’re guilty of holding onto makeup for much longer than you should, we’re giving you the perfect opportunity to come clean.”

Come clean, stay healthy and make a saving. We’d be pretty nuts not to…

How long do you keep your makeup? Confess in the comments box or tweet us @GetTheGloss

Follow me on Twitter @AnnaMaryHunter and Instagram @AnnyHunter

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