It’s even more important that we maintain the level of hygiene as we head out of our houses in Phase 2. Everyday things like our makeup stash may be easily overlooked, as well as smaller items that may leave the virus lurking around us.
US-based dermatologist Adam Mamelak told HuffPost: “Plastic makeup tubes, bottles and compacts can be a concern for transmission of the virus,” as handling and applying makeup “could be a very real way to contract the virus.”
By now we should know that we can get infected if we touch our faces after being in contact with contaminated surfaces. Studies have shown that the virus could survive up to 24 hours on cardboard, and two to three days on plastic and stainless steel surfaces.
Though there are still no studies to show how long the virus can stay on or in our makeup, it’s high time we give them a good wipe, especially since most of our makeup products come in plastic packaging.
While preservatives are used in makeup to extend its shelf life and prevent the growth of bacteria or mold, cosmetic chemist Vanessa Thomson said: “preservatives mainly prevent bacterial contamination and may not protect against the virus.”
How To Clean And Disinfect Your Beauty Products In Times Of Covid-19
Lip and eye makeup
General practitioner Aragona Giuseppe, medical adviser at Prescription Doctor, highlighted the importance of cleaning lip products.
He explained: “Lip products are particularly risky, because lipsticks and lip liners are a natural gateway to your respiratory tract.”
It’s also difficult to determine how long the virus can thrive on lip care items like balms, as the formula is kept in a small humid space where viral particles can survive longer, noted Giuseppe.
Ophthalmologist Yuna Rapoport said: “I am anticipating seeing more infections that are seated with Covid-19, since we know that the virus can infect the ocular surface through the conjunctival mucous membrane and through tears.”
Therefore, Rapoport suggests applying eye makeup before heading out, and to keep the products at home to lower the risk of infection.
She explained: “For example, if you are touching up makeup in your car (or in a public bathroom), you may touch a surface that is contaminated, forget to clean your hands, accidentally touch the makeup and then touch your face again.”
Apart from observing hand hygiene to reduce the risk of infection when applying makeup, Rapoport also advises replacing eye products when they reach their expiration dates. “Ideally, mascara and eyeliner should be replaced every three months, and eyeshadow can be replaced every six months.”
Though, if you have a habit of bringing them around with you, she suggests replacing them in half the time of its expiration date.
But, of course, should you have come in close contact with the coronavirus, toss them out immediately.
Said Giuseppe: “This is because respiratory droplets may have passed from your hands or face and are now sitting on your products, which means that they are in danger of continuing to spread the virus should you use again.”
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Disinfecting makeup products
Giuseppe advises disinfecting makeup products daily or after each use with an antibacterial solution, wipe or spray.
He added: “You can clean actual lipstick or Chapstick with a tissue and an alcohol solution; just saturate a tissue in the solution and rub away at the top and sides of the lipstick. This should get rid of the outer surface which has been exposed.”
Once you’re done with that, make sure the outer packaging is wiped as well, and stored in an airtight drawer or container, as this will help reduce the exposure of contamination.
Makeup brushes and sponges should also be washed immediately after each use. “Given the close proximity of makeup brushes through your nose and lips, I recommend extra caution and vigilant washing of your brushes.” Said dermatologist Joshua Zeichner.
On how to wash them, dermatologist Susan Massick shared that warm soapy water will get the job done. She noted that the soap alone is able to kill the virus.
Alternatively, one-time-use applicators are convenient as you can easily dispose them after every use without the need for washing them.
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Now that wearing a face mask is mandatory, dermatologist Susan Massick cautions about wearing makeup.
She told HuffPost: “If you want to wear a mask, minimise the use of foundation and lipstick because that will easily rub off onto your mask.”
Massick echos Rapoport’s suggestion of applying eye makeup products at home, such as the use of mascara, eyeliner and eyeshadow.
While setting spray may help with making your makeup last longer reducing the need for touch-ups, it can cause skin issues in the long run.
Text: Melissa Goh / AsiaOne / May 2020 Additional text: Sally Manik Featured image: NomadSoul1 / Envato Elements