An Australian model recently contracted an eye infection after a makeup artist used an improperly cleaned makeup brush on her. Anthea Page posted her experience on Instagram to inspire other models to be careful when they are made up. Page got a staph infection from the contaminated brush. Other potential infections include pink eye or viral conjunctivitis.
Even if you clean a makeup brush between clients, infections can still spread from makeup that the brush had been in. Double dipping the brush into the makeup can be the reason for this. The best practice is to put the makeup on a palette to use with individual clients.
Dr. Doris Day—a dermatologist—recommends that clients bring their own tools and makeup. If they don’t, you should be careful to use the products separately for each client and clean the brushes in between.
The FDA warns about the practice of sharing makeup brushes and states that the germs from another person “may be hazardous to you.” Dr. Day said that the practice is “a horrible idea.”
Fortunately, people rarely get infections from sharing makeup. However, people can also get eye infections from using their own makeup. Containers such as mascara can get a build-up of bacteria over time. If a person scratches their eye with an infected makeup pencil or brush, they can get a serious eye infection. The University of Rochester recommends replacing cosmetics every 3-4 months.
Luckily most cosmetics have preservatives that will kill bacteria. However if a number of people use the same makeup, contamination can still occur.
If you work with tester cosmetics in a store, you should make sure to use single-use applicators such as clean cotton swabs. Otherwise, your customers can have a high risk of getting infected by makeup that is used by a lot of people.