Make-up hygiene

Make-up hygiene, critical to maintaining good vision for life

With many having a make-up hiatus over the past few months - perhaps only pulling out the mascara for those important video conference calls - what has happened to the mascaras and eyeliners sitting untouched in the bathroom cupboard? Are they still safe to use?

Research conducted by Optometry Australia for the 2020 Vision Index discovered that 40 per cent of Australians clean their make-up tools less than twice a year. This is putting their eyes at risk, with make-up applicators and brushes a hotbed for bacteria.

If make-up brushes are not cleaned or replaced frequently, bacteria builds up over time, and if we do use them without proper hygiene measures in place, we can be unknowingly exposing our eyes to infection.

Another common mistake Australians make is sleeping with their makeup on. We’ve probably all done it at some stage, but this naughty habit can lead to serious eye issues, in some cases causing long term eye damage or potential blindness.

Also, did you know make-up has an expiry date? A staggering nine in 10 women admit to using cosmetic products past their expiration date. Make-up generally has a shelf life of three to 12 months once opened - making it important to keep an eye on those products sitting dormant at the back of your cupboard.

Signs your make-up is doing you more damage than good

  • The white parts of your eye seem more pinkish red than white; your friends and family may comment on your 'bloodshot' eyes
  • Your eye or the area around your eye is itchy
  • Your eye produces more fluid and 'sleep' than normal, is crusty or sticky, especially upon waking up
  • The area around your eye becomes swollen

Tips for maintaining good hygiene when it comes to make-up


Whilst we’re on the topic of beauty, we’ve seen an increase in popularity of cosmetic procedures. During the initial COVID-19 lock down, Australians’ desire for cosmetic surgery tripled, with many people seeing (and critiquing!) their appearance more thanks to the increased use of video communication tools.

Such procedures can pose risks to the health of our vision, so if you’re someone who loves an eyelash lift or cosmetic laser procedures, we recommend you read our article here on the possible risks associated with such procedures.

If you’re concerned about your eyesight, or you are experiencing any changes to your vision, contact your local optometrist for expert advice or to book an eye examination.

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