Viruses or bacteria in your make-up? Now’s the right time to take out that make-up for some major cleaning. I bet half of your lipsticks, eye pencils, and mascaras are swarming with bacteria. Time for some make-up hygiene to prevent eczema!

People with sensitive skin or skin problems such as rosacea, acne or psoriasis experience skin irritations super quickly from make-up. Have you been wearing the same make-up for years and all of the sudden it’s starting to itch, or did you suddenly get eczema? This may be an allergy issue (read more about this in a later blog), however, often it’s not the product itself, but the bacteria in it.

Before changing brands, follow these 10 tips for practicing good make-up hygiene. Chances are you can keep using your trusted make-up brand in the future, without itching, redness, or eczema.

1. Wash your hands and face

Make sure your face is clean before applying make-up and always wash your hands before touching your make-up bag. Nasty viruses can survive on objects for a while. For example, the Coronavirus survives up to 3 days on plastic and stainless steel! However, applying and removing your make-up with clean hands is most important.

2. Do not share make-up

Whether it’s your sister, your mom, or your best friend, don’t share make-up, no matter how close you are. No, not even in an emergency.

3. Do not try make-up on in the store

Shopping with your girlfriends is fun. Trying make-up together to see if that lipstick is the right color for you. But… there is a golden rule: never test cosmetics in a store. Do you want to know if a color suits your skin? Apply it to your hand or forearm, then clean it thoroughly! Also, be careful if a store uses disposable brushes. You don’t know if someone used them but didn’t throw them away.

4. Note the expiration date.

Make-up – especially the hypoallergenic variants – cost quite a bit of money. And you wear make-up every day, right? Fortunately, products like eye pencils will last at least 2 years. Make-up contains substances that prevent deterioration. Gradually these preservatives degrade and bacteria multiply faster and faster. Therefore, to prevent having further problems with your eczema or skin irritations, pay attention to the expiration date before using make-up.

5. Throw away make-up regularly: limited shelf life!

After opening, make-up has a limited shelf life – regardless of the expiration date – and after a few months it’s swarming with bacteria. Spoiled cosmetics can even cause infections. Therefore, do not open make-up products until you are really going to use it.

Below is an overview of the average shelf life of an opened product. The exact shelf life is indicated on the cosmetic product itself with a symbol: an opened jar with a number on it followed by an M (= number of months).

  • Liquid / cream foundation: 12 months
  • Concealer: 12 months
  • Mascara: 3 to 6 months
  • Eyeliner: 3 to 6 months
  • Liquid / cream eyeshadow: 12 months
  • Lipstick / lip gloss: 6 to 12 months
  • Lip pencil: 24 months
  • Powders (such as face powder and eyeshadow): 24 months

6. Eye inflammation? Throw away your eye make-up!

Bright red eyes? Chances are you got an eye infection from bacteria in your make-up. This also can be the other way around, your eye make-up got contaminated by your eyes. Either way, throw away your eye make-up right away!

7. Create a make-up list.

Get all your make-up out and make a list. Write down the date when you first used it (approximately) and when you should throw away the product. And toss that 10 year old lipstick right away!

8. Keep brushes and make-up clean.

Keep make-up brushes clean. Wash them weekly with soap, using a special brush cleaner or disinfect the brushes after use with pure alcohol.

You can also disinfect make-up. For example, put a few drops of pure alcohol on a piece of kitchen paper and rub it gently on your lipstick.

9. Store make-up cool and dry

Bacteria and fungi love heat and moisture. Therefore, do not store make-up in the bathroom, but rather in a dark place in your bedroom. Is it extremely hot? Then put your beauty products in the fridge.

Has your lipstick been in the sun? And does it smell different or is it discolored? Throw it out immediately. This also applies to other make-up.

10. Don’t wear make-up for a while.

If you’ve got sensitive skin, you will experience itching and irritations more quickly. Do you sometimes rub your eyes? You may not even notice, so you have to pay closer attention.

During this Coronavirus, you are mainly inside, so it’s crucial to get outdoors, even in your backyard.

Covid-19: Can you wear make-up now?

We are in a strange period, during which everything is dominated by the Coronavirus. Keeping your hands clean and not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth is now extra important. But what about make-up? Can you still do that?

The answer is yes, you can still wear make-up. Especially with the above tips.

Less is more

If you have sensitive skin, you can take this chance to prevent eczema or annoying rashes from cosmetics. Because of the Coronavirus you have to stay at home, and you probably don’t put on make-up as often. That’s why now is the time to try out “the new make-up,” AKA none at all… just for a while.

Do you have any tips for bacteria and virus-free make-up to prevent eczema? Share your tips below!


I am Marlou, 40 years old, 10 of which I’ve been living in Sweden – along with my husband, two children, and two outdoor rabbits. After studying foreign languages for years, I now work as a freelance copywriter – in Dutch 🙂 Thanks to sensitive skin, many allergies, pregnancies, and hard cycling in the cold, I can call myself a pro when it comes to skin problems.

My search for solutions brought me not only to conventional medicine, but also to alternative medicine. And I still get to the bottom of my skin facts and myths. So I will bother you with that and hopefully help you too :-).