Keep Your Eyes Healthy with These Eye Makeup Dos and Don’ts
Whether glamming it up for a holiday party, or just tackling your everyday makeup regime, there’s no denying that eye makeup—including your favourite tools like mascara, eyeliner, and eye shadow—add a little oomph to your look. But take heed: dressing up your eyes is a form of primping and pampering that comes with a caveat. Sometimes, something as enjoyable as getting your eyes all prettied up can cause harm, so follow these eye makeup tips to keep your eyes safe, and infection-free.
1. DON’T use eye makeup that has expired
Makeup can be pricey, so it’s understandable as to why someone might not want to toss out those little luxuries like mascara or liquid eyeliner. Some have a tendency to hang onto their eye makeup long after the product’s expiry date, but doing so can be an unsafe—and all-around unsanitary—decision. Want to know the shelf life of a given product? Somewhere near the ingredients label lies the answer. There, you’ll find a batch number, expiry date, or in many cases an icon that looks like an open jar. On that image, you may see a number followed by an “M” (for month) or a “Y” (meaning year). This indicates the company’s recommendation for how long you can continue to use a product after you’ve broken the seal. For example, you might see a 6M on the item. That just means that once you’ve opened and used the product, you should throw it away after a six month period.
2. DON’T use dried-out mascara after the three-month marks
According to a recent study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, over 85% of women who wear mascara admit to using theirs well past its expiry date. And just like spoiled milk, it’s a good idea to steer clear of a product that’s gone bad...
After just three months, your mascara tube becomes prime real estate for bacteria to fester and, ultimately, flourish in. The same study revealed that 79% of samples of mascara tubes contained bacteria like staph infections, conditions that can ultimately pose real harm to your eyes. Want to avoid catching an infection? Check out these tips below:
- Replace your mascara every three to four months, or at least when you start to notice the product clumping on the wand. If it starts to smell a little pungent, that’s also indicative that the product is expiring. In that case, throw it out.
- Don’t share your mascara with anyone (more on that below).
- Replace an old tube of mascara with a new product after you’ve had any kind of eye infection.
- Finding it hard to use up all that mascara in a three-month period of time? Pick up a mini-tube, which you can find at most retailers.
3. DO take a break from wearing makeup after you’ve had LASIK
After having laser eye surgery or any type of vision correction procedure, most optometrists and eye surgeons recommend avoiding makeup for at least a few days. We’ve compiled a handy post-LASIK activity schedule which will tell you what a reasonable amount of time is to wait until you can apply eye makeup after you’ve had your procedure.
4. DON’T share your eye makeup (ever)
You know the drill. You’ve left your eyeliner at home and you feel absolutely bare without it. If this kind of mini-drama has happened to you before, you’ve no doubt had to make alternate plans, like peeping over your cubicle to ask your colleague to borrow theirs. In the past, your mom might’ve told you to never share your eye makeup. Turns out, she was right all along. Just like with mascara, germs live and breed on your makeup brushes—same goes for eyeliner and eye shadow (especially if you use your finger to smear it over your eyelid). These germs are highly contagious and can be easily spread just by sharing a product.
5. DO clean your makeup brushes (often)
Cleaning your makeup brushes often and always (especially those that come into close contact with your eyes), on a regular basis washes away all the germs that can gather. Lots of makeup stores and pharmacies sell a soft soap designed to clean the bristles of your brushes. Wear pencil eyeliner regularly? Sharpen it after every use to shed the tool of the eyeliner build-up.
6. DON’T primp and drive
Sure, this tip seems like a no-brainer, but lots of people still feel skilled enough to apply makeup while driving. Outside of the already obvious risks that come with distracted driving, there are other concerns that may directly harm your eyes:
- Adjusting the rear-view mirror so you can see your eyes properly might make it harder for you to see traffic
- Even if you think you’re safe in the passenger’s seat, proceeding with caution is still important. Should the car you’re in stop abruptly, you may risk poking your eye with an eyeliner pencil or mascara wand, which can cause serious injury to your cornea (this is known as a corneal abrasion)
The safest thing you can do in this case is take the extra time to apply your makeup in the morning, or if you simply have to do it in a car, make sure it is not in motion.
7. DON’T use makeup to line the inside of your eyelids
Eyeliner, though widely considered a staple for makeup lovers the world over, should be used carefully to avoid contracting any infection. Makeup artists often line the inside of the water line—the part of your skin that touches the cornea—with an eye pencil. This little touch makes the eyes pop for a more dramatic effect. But in a recent study published by the Eye and Contact Lens Science and Clinical Practice journal it was revealed that this step can risk contaminating your eye. But particles may danger the eye by travelling into the tear film, especially if the eyeliner pencil contains glitter.
8. DO wash your hands before applying makeup
Washing your hands keeps them clean and germ-free—it’s a simple task that can be done periodically throughout the day to fend of pesky infections. This is an especially important step during cold and flu seasons. Plus, before applying makeup, you should always wash your hands so as to avoid spreading any germs that might be living on your brushes.
9. DO store your makeup properly
Keep oxygen out of your makeup containers, and store them in a cool, dry place for optimal shelf life. Always ensure that lids of jars are closed tightly. Exposure to air can attract all sorts of potential contaminants like dust. Remember, bacteria proliferates in moist settings, so if you leave the cap of your cream eye shadow unscrewed, you may be opening the door to potential infections or inflammation.
10. DO wash off your eye makeup every night before bed
All anyone wants to do after a night out is crawl into bed—even with a full face of makeup on. But makeup removal is a step in your beauty regime that should never be skipped over. The Canadian Dermatology Association recommends using fragrance-free cleaners to wash your face. This little step keeps bacteria from burrowing deep in your pores, causing skin conditions like acne. This same logic should also be applied to eye makeup removal.
11. DO take extra care if you wear contact lenses
Contact lens wearers, take note, because this last item is especially important for you to abide.
If you wear contact lenses then you’re already even more susceptible to infection as it is. With contact lenses, makeup can travel from your eyelid onto your lash line and then into the actually eye. Germy makeup can then latch on to the contact lens itself. When removing the lens, you might scratch your eye with the residual makeup or it may linger in the eye, forcing infection.
A gentle soap is recommending around the eyes, though many makeup companies sell their gentle formulas for eye makeup removal, most of which contain a mild oil to help wash away the remaining product residing on the eyelid. Getting LASIK is a great way to avoid build-up on contact lenses. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to get dolled up without having to worry about wearing glasses over your glittery eye shadow.
Because healthy eyes never looked so good...
By incorporating any of the above recommendations into your eye makeup routine, you can keep your eyes out of harm’s way and look great—no matter the occasion.