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Here is an important list of things to be aware of to keep harmful bacteria out of your makeup bag and away from your precious skin:

Be mindful of use-by dates on products (PAO – product after opening). This symbol is seen as a small open jar with a number inside the jar. For example 6M (6 months). You have 6 months from the date of opening to safely use the product. If you can’t remember the last time you used the item, then maybe it’s time to put it in the rubbish. If the product smells funky, looks different, has separated or has changed colour, then you should consider whether you really want to put it on your face.

Do a bit of a stocktake on your products and be a bit ruthless. Haven’t used it in 12 months or even longer, ditch it! Mascara is one product you definitely should not hoard. You have 3 to 6 months to safely use your mascara. If you have mascara older than this, bin it now! You risk eye infections using old product.

Don’t dip your fingers into jars! You are contaminating the product. That product that stated 6M on the jar will be greatly compromised. Either use a cotton bud, clean spoon or spatula. Also be mindful to pour from the bottle, don’t be dabbing your fingers onto the mouth of the bottle.

If you had an infection (i.e. cold sore, conjunctivitis or any other contagious infection) and you used your lip gloss or mascara during this time, trash the relative product. Your product is definitely contaminated. Don’t be fooled if you don’t see that cold sore yet. At the first sign of tingling, itching or burning you will contaminate your lip gloss. Run for a treatment instead. Lipstick bullets can be wiped off but products such as mascara and lip gloss where the applicator is placed back into the container are a no-no!

If you have breakouts on your face, ensure that you are using a clean foundation brush each and every time you put on your foundation. This is also the case for powder and blush brushes. This may consist of spraying and wiping the brushes with Isopropyl Alcohol in between proper washing. This dries very quickly. The one downside is the harshness of the product. It can make the hair very dry. Try using a conditioner when washing your brushes. Rinse out the conditioner well or the brush may be slightly sticky.

Wash your brushes regularly. Don’t leave them sitting in your makeup bag dirty and filled with makeup. You can easily refresh them after each use by wiping them onto an antibacterial wipe or baby wipe. Give them a good wash at least every 2 – 4 weeks, depending on your usage.

Regularly wipe out your makeup bag or drawer with an antibacterial wipe or a good wash down and dry thoroughly.

Wash your hands before touching your face.

Don’t share makeup or brushes. Unless the makeup can be wiped off with some form of antibacterial, don’t share. Never ever share lip gloss or mascara.

Remember to wash sponges and puffs regularly. These harbour bacteria in a big way. Don’t forget to give them a really good clean often and allow to air dry completely before putting away.

If you remove your makeup with a face washer, make sure it is a clean washer every time. Leaving face washers lying around wet is only asking for trouble. Bacteria breed rapidly in moisture!

Don’t try and prolong the life of a mascara by adding water. For starters, the water is not purified and you are only serving to water down the ingredients that inhibit bacterial growth. Time for a new mascara!

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