The hidden dangers living in your makeup bag will make you scream

Scary new research shows how the cosmetics and tools you use every day could make you really, really sick. 

When was the last time you cleaned your makeup bag? What about the brushes and sponges inside of it? Or worse yet, when is the last time you bought a fresh mascara? How long have you been using that red lipstick?

Trust me, these questions are relevant and you’re going to want to spring clean your whole kit, and stock up on new product after reading this!

Shocking new research – yes, you read that right: shocking, from Aston University published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology found that more than nine in ten makeup bags are home to deadly superbugs like E.coli (the bad bacteria responsible for food contamination and urinary tract infections) and staphylococci (a potentially deadly bacteria that when infected can cause anything from pretty large skin wounds to food poisoning and toxic shock syndrome).

Sound scary? Well it kind of is. Research also found that beauty blenders came in first place for containing the highest amount of bacteria with 93% NEVER BEING CLEANED even though 64% were dropped on the floor! I am not sorry for the caps. While we’re here may I suggest throwing out your sponge right now and buying a new one, and then investing in this Beautyblender Solid Cleanser ($25, at Sephora).

The reason they’re so frankly; filthy is because they’re often thrown back in a makeup bag or drawer while still damp – which is the perfect climate for nasties to breed. Keep a lid on bacteria with a handy breathable case like MCoBeauty Summer Lovin’ Sponge and Case ($15, at MCoBeauty).

In an ideal world you should be washing your makeup brushes and sponges after every single use. But we get it, who has the time? So dermatologists recommend at least every 7-10 days and make sure they’re able to dry and air out in the light or sun properly.

FYI: Makeup Expires, too

But it’s not just poor hygiene practices that we need to be wary of. Expiration dates and old products can be harmful to our health, too. In the same study researchers tested 467 cosmetics and found that 77% of eyeliners, 69% of mascaras, 56% of lipsticks and 55% of lip glosses all contained dangerous staphylococcus.

This is your friendly reminder to throw out your old product and replace it – especially if you don’t remember when you bought it. Aside from looking on the label, keep this handy so you can check when your kit is passed its use by date:

Eyeliner: If it’s liquid it’s about four to six months, if it’s a pencil it’s up to two years. Had an eye infection or a stye? Throw it out.

Mascara: Three months, and no ifs or buts.

Powder cosmetics: Because there’s no water it’s harder for bacteria to grow which makes powder formulations last longer. Depending on the product and how much you use it you could be looking at two years.

Lipsticks: Between 12 and 18 months. But if you’ve had a cold sore or even a breakout it’s best to replace it.

Foundation: If it’s water-based around 12 months, if it’s oil-based 18 months due to the natural preservative powers.