Guest Blogger: Dina Furumoto Ask – “Is Your Makeup Germ-Free?”

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By: Dina Furumoto, Intern, Keiro 


Makeup has become a part of my everyday morning ritual. I talk about makeup with my girlfriends, especially the new “must have” items, and it‘s also a reason for getting together, whether meeting up earlier at a friend’s house to get ready for a night out or just wanting to test out each other’s collections.

I use makeup frequently, which makes it seem like a harmless addition to my bathroom counter. But I never considered the potential health risks connected to my makeup habits and how dangerous they are to my well-being. After reading a couple of articles, I was surprised to learn that I have been exposing my body to potential diseases and serious infections and that make up is a breeding ground for bacteria. Bacteria such as Staphylococcus and Micrococcus, which can cause serious illnesses, can be contracted through makeup, especially if they are older products.1 





After researching, I learned about common makeup habits that can lead to potential health risks:

1. Do not touch your makeup with your fingers. The germs on your hands will be transferred on your skin and sensitive areas, such as your eyes and lips. The germs on your hands are now also breeding on the product you just touched.  A solution is to use clean cosmetic brushes so it reduces contamination and transfer of bacteria from your hands to your makeup.

2. Brushes and sponges introduce germs and dirt to your face. Brushes spread bacteria around since they have been in contact with your face multiple times. Also build-up on brushes from products can also cause skin irritation. It is suggested to wash your brushes weekly with baby soap or alcohol.

3. Sharing makeup is sharing germs. It is common between friends to share products and makeup brushes with each other, but this only increases the potential for cross-contamination of germs and infections. This is how staph infections commonly happen, so it is highly recommended not to share makeup with anyone. I was shocked to read an article on CBS News about how a mother became paralyzed because because she contracted MRSA from using her friend’s makeup brush.2

4. Think twice about using makeup testers in stores. According to, ”On weekends, when stores have the heaviest traffic, up to 100% of the [makeup] testers showed contamination.” Although it is tempting to want to test out the latest trending shade of blush, it is another breeding ground for bacteria because of how many people have touched it. If you really want to try out the makeup first, ask if the store has either disposable brushes or small sample products.

5. Think about the wet, damp, dark products and your eyes. The eyes are an important part of our living in the sense that they allow us to see. So be cautious of eye makeup products. The FDA notes that “eye makeup…has a shorter shelf life than other cosmetics.” And Today states, “The things that are most likely to give you an infection are creams, or things that are wet or dark or damp.” So make a conscious effort to understand what you’re putting on your body and near sensitive areas.

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Makeup doesn’t have an expiration date so I rarely ever considered refreshing my stock, but after realizing all these health risks I have become very aware of when I need to start anew. Although there isn’t a stamped expiration date on these products, germs multiply over time through continuous usage.  So here are the shelf lives of common makeup products:


Product Shelf Life
Mascara Two to three months
Liquid eyeliner Six months to one year
Liquid foundation Six months to one year
Concealer Six months to one year
Eye cream Six months to one year
Face wash Six months to one year
Lip gloss One year
Cream eyeshadow One year
Eyebrow gel One year
Lipstick Two years
Lip and eye pencil Two years
Powder eyeshadow Two years
Powder foundation Two years
Perfume Three years



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About the Author:

Dina headshot finalDina Furumoto is a 2015 summer intern at Keiro. She graduated from California Polytechnic State University, Pomona with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology (option in Criminology) and a minor in Political Science. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, embroidering, and staying involved in the Japanese American community.



The material presented on this site is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Keiro, or its contributors. Readers should consult appropriate health, legal, or financial professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.  Full disclaimer

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