Test shows what nasty bacteria are lurking in your make-up

Would you clean your makeup bag more often if you knew what was lurking inside? PrettyLittleThing spills the dirt on what really lives on your makeup brush, sponge and eyeshadow and why you shouldn’t keep your makeup in the bathroom.

PrettyLittleThing conducted a scientific petri dish experiment to reveal the bacteria comparison between products that are cleaned after every use versus ones that are rarely cleaned.

Microbiologist, Amy-May Pointer, analysed the findings to reveal the horrifying truth.

Makeup brush that is cleaned after every use (left), makeup brush that is rarely cleaned (right)

Amy-May said: “The growth on the makeup brush that is regularly cleaned has only one organism growth. This is fungus and may be part of the skin’s microbiota or due to the brush being stored in a dark, moist environment (makeup bag or damp cupboard) allowing fungus to accumulate in a short period of time in-between uses.

“Where the brush has been rarely cleaned, there is an extremely higher density of both bacterial and fungal organisms proliferating; including presumptive Staphylococcus epidermis, Staphylococcus aureus spp., Escherichia coli and various yeast colonies.

“E. coli is a coliform organism, meaning it is derived from the gastrointestinal tract and would have got on to the cosmetic brush from fecal matter. Perhaps if the brush is stored near the toilet in a bathroom, the flush aerosol would lead to the growth of E. coli.

“The difference between washing your makeup brush regularly and rarely cleaning it is illustrated in the high density and variety of different bacterial and yeast populations which have the potential to cause skin infections, fungal and bacterial acne.”

Makeup Sponge

Makeup sponge that is cleaned after every use (left), makeup sponge that is rarely cleaned (right)

Amy-May said: “It is evident to see the difference not washing the sponge has on the density of presumptive Staphylococcus epidermidis colonies found all over the plate (small white colonies). S. epidermis is found as part of the normal skin microbiota, but also has been found to contribute to the inflammation of acne.

“Presumptive Micrococcus luteus is also found on the plate. The density of the bacterial population on the plate indicates a lot more contamination of the sponge and illustrates why regular sanitation of cosmetic tools is essential for preventing the risk of acne and many skin infections.”

Eyeshadow

Eyeshadow that is cleaned after every use (left), eyeshadow that is rarely cleaned (right)

Amy-May said: “The same organisms from the swab of the eyeshadow cleaned after every use are all present on the shadow that is rarely washed, however in a higher density along with a variety of different bacterial and fungal species. Presumptive Escherichia coli and possible Candida albicans spp. is present alongside potential presumptive Klebsiella pneumoniae.

“Although Candida albicans is part of the skins microbiome, it is found in the gastrointestinal and genitourinary tract region. The presumptive C. albicans colony may indicate improper storage of the cosmetic brush.

“It is not ideal to reintroduce opportunist pathogens back onto your skin and may lead to aggravation and skin conditions including acne, especially when regular washing of brushes can reduce bacterial and fungal populations tremendously.”

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