Bacteria and fungus –aren’t two words that you’d normally associate with make-up or beauty products, but you should. All those brushes, wands, pencils, liners and powders are actually full of countless types of bacteria and fungus that can severely affect your eyes in the long run. Here’s five different ways that you can take better care of your eyes and vision when wearing make-up:

Check the Expiry Date

According to research from the College of Optometrist, over half of those who use make-up do not actually check how long they should keep a bottle of mascara, and almost a fifth of those people didn’t even realize there is an expiry date for it. Over 400 years ago, Ancient Egyptians were among the first to use mascara, which was made up of crushed charcoal, soot, animal stool, honey and water. Although today’s products are heavily regulated, the mixture is close to the same with different kinds of pigmentations, oils and waxes.

The eyelids are one of the most important parts of your body as they protect your eye, and when they come in contact with different products on a regular basis they are vulnerable to accumulating bacteria. Anyone who wears contact lenses will tell you that the more you touch your eyes, the more bacterial infections you are prone to.

According to an article on, particles in eyeliner and mascara can get into the small oil producing pores along the eyelid margin and eventually become blocked. These Meibomian gland pores produce oil that is essential in order to keep the surface of your eye hydrated. The oils also help keep the tears from evaporating too quickly. If the pores are blocked, it can cause a long lasting inflammatory reaction called Meibomian Glad Dysfunction, which causes red, dry and irritated eyes.

Wash Your Brushes Regularly

Make-up brushes are expensive, and when you buy them you’ve probably intended to keep them for a long time, but they are prone to gathering bacteria and dirt. It’s important to remember how often you use these brushes, where you use them repeatedly and how much bacteria can stick to your face. If you apply make-up on a daily basis, you should consider investing in a cleanser for your brushes or making your own cleanser with household products like liquid soap, olive oil, almond oil, rubbing alcohol and cotton pads.

Don’t Share Make-up with Others

Need we say more? It may be fun to try out your friend’s new eye palette that you’ve been dying to buy, but sharing make-up, brushes and eyeliners is easy to spread a cross-infection. Countless beauty bloggers claim that your mascara wand contains just as much bacteria as your toothbrush.

Never Apply While On the Go

Whether we are driving, on the bus or waiting at a cross walk, we’ve all been there –putting make-up on while we’re on the go. Applying any sort of eye make-up while on the move can be a bit dangerous. There’s been cases of people scratching their cornea which leads to a Corneal Abrasion and becomes incredibly painful, red and lead to many bacterial infections of the cornea.

Stay Outside of the Lash Line

Many of us like to apply eyeliner along the inside of the eyelids, which is referred to as “waterlining”. This trend does more harm than good because it blocks the oil glands that protect the cornea. Researchers have suggested that particles from a pencil eyeliner applied inside the eyelids can contaminate the inside of our eyes. They also concluded that this could be quite problematic for people who wear contact lenses, dry eye syndrome or sensitive eyes.

Vision Correction and Makeup

If you don’t have the best vision to start with, applying makeup can be a particularly meticulously task. Without glasses it may be harder to keep your eyeliner straight or properly shade your eye shadow. If you wear contact lenses make sure you put them in before applying eye makeup, lotions, or creams as they may transfer from your fingers to your lenses causing discomfort or cloudy vision. If you have had laser eye surgery to correct your vision, you will only need to follow standard eye care and make-up safety practices listed here.

Wash Your Make-up Off at Night

After a night out, it’s easy to just head straight to bed without taking your make-up off, but this is increases your chances of contaminating your eyes with bacterial and oil build up in the eyelid, leading to inflammation. Take the time to wash it off before you fall into a deep slumber!

While make-up can be fun to play with and help us feel more confident, it’s important to recognize the health concerns that come with them. Take better care of your brushes to reduce bacteria build up, stay on top of expiry dates, don’t share with your friends and wash your make-up off at night –these are just a few things that can help make sure your vision and eyes stay healthy.