The Ways You’re Accidentally Destroying Your Favorite Makeup Products

Makeup can be an expensive commodity, but the initial purchase is just the beginning. Is it possible you’re washing your dollars down the proverbial toilet by making a few costly yet common mistakes when it comes to your beauty products?

Even professional makeup artists can sometimes get it wrong when it comes to best practices for prolonging the life of their favorite products, so we have some pointers. Consult this list of 11 things that you may not even realize are destroying your favorite makeup items. Your beauty routine — and your bank account — will thank you.

  1. You’re not regularly cleaning everything

Everything — we mean everything — needs to be properly cleaned, from your brushes to your sponges, tweezers, and eyelash curlers. Makeup tools are harborers of bacteria and dead skin cells, all of which can be transferred to your makeup products and shorten their lifespan. Aim for a twice-a-week cleaning. You can use a specially formulated brush wash, or a gentle soap with water. And when it comes to those disposable sponges, just replace them for the best results.

2. Your makeup mixology isn’t working

Cross-contamination doesn’t just happen in the kitchen; it can happen with your makeup, too. Maybe you’re in a rush and you’re using the same brush to apply different shades of eye shadow. Or, you’re double-dipping your sponge in your foundation and then your powder and blush. Not only are you mixing colors and shades, you’re working against the diverse formulas of each product, which can further compromise their integrity.

3. You’re using way too many items

Maybe you’re a makeup maven and have way too many products to even count. That certainly keeps your beauty routine interesting, but are you accidentally compromising your beloved products by having one too many things open at the same time? The minute you start using that new eye shadow or mascara, for example, you expose it to air, bacteria, and the makeup aging process. So, rather than wasting a hundred different products by having them all open at once, scale back a bit to save your makeup and make the most use of it in the long run.

4. You’re pumping your mascara

Pumping the mascara wand in and out of the tube is a good way to decrease the lifespan of the product. It allows more air to get into the tube, which creates a drying effect and even possible bacteria growth. It’s better to just slowly circle the wand inside the tube once or twice before applying. We promise: It works just as well, if not better.

5. You’re not being gentle

Taking out some aggression or stress on your eye shadow palette? You may be doing your emotions a favor, but your makeup won’t fare quite so well. Jabbing brushes into shadows, blushes, and foundation pots creates dents, cracks, and crevices that can ruin the product — or, at the very least, waste it.

6. You’re leaving your product open

We’ve all done it. We’re in a rush in the morning and don’t screw the cap back on the lip gloss or the foundation while also forgetting to snap the eye shadow compacts back together. This is a recipe for ruining your favorite products, as makeup tends to dry out very quickly when not stored properly.

7. You’re storing makeup in the bathroom

We know this will raise some perfectly groomed eyebrows, but the fact is that keeping your makeup in the bathroom is not the best idea. You’ve probably never even thought about it, but the high humidity and heat generated from the shower makes the bathroom a breeding ground for bacteria and other problems with your product, such as melting and dryness.

If you have a separate dressing area that’s cooler and drier than the shower portion of your bathroom, this can be an excellent backup option to store your makeup caddy. If nothing else, make sure you ventilate the bathroom properly; open a window or run the ventilation fan after you shower.

8. You’re exposing your makeup to direct sunlight

Even if you’ve checked the box on getting your beauty products out of the humid bathroom, are they exposed to direct sunlight through a window? Or, did you bring a makeup bag to work with you only to then leave it in the hot, sun-filled car? Both of these practices can destroy your makeup, causing the formulas to break down and melt while also fostering bacteria.

9. You’re keeping your makeup in the cold

Just like makeup doesn’t respond well to sunlight, heat, and humidity, it likewise doesn’t do well in the cold. Sure, some types of beauty products can be kept in the refrigerator, but many products have more sensitive formulas that can be compromised by these more extreme temperatures. If your bathroom or dressing room is in the basement or gets extra cold in the winter, it may be time to rethink your makeup storage strategy. Also, avoid windowsills where drafts can be an issue in the colder months.

10. You’re not washing your hands

It’s always a good rule of thumb to wash your hands before touching your face, but especially when you’re applying makeup. If you don’t, all that bacteria on your hands could transfer over to your products. This is especially true if you have a habit of using your fingers to touch up or perfect the application of product, such as eye shadow, lip balm, or concealer. Washing your hands in between using different products can be a good idea, too, so you don’t transfer creams, colors, or oils from one product to the next, thus virtually destroying the product for future use.

11. You’re sharing

Sharing is not caring when it comes to beauty products. Maybe you’ve let your friends borrow your makeup for a quick touch-up or to try out a new color, but just say no next time. Not only can swapping lip gloss make you sick (ahem, germs), it can also wreak havoc on your product by introducing new bacteria that can cause it to be contaminated and also dry out more quickly.

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