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The recent spike of COVID-19 infection because of the Omicron variant means that we know more people who succumbed to the illness – or are among those who got it ourselves.

wash your brushes regularly

And as we recover safely at home, some of us can’t help but wonder – should we throw away beauty products that we’ve used while we were infectious?

This is a valid question; after all, we know that our makeup and skincare products come into direct contact with our skin, eyes, and lips.

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Do germs stay on our beauty products?

use products that don't have direct contact

The short answer? Yes. Your beauty products can harbour germs, including coronavirus, if you used them while you were sick.

However, here’s the good news: most beauty products come with preservatives to keep your products from spoiling, which at the same time, keep germs from growing and spreading.

What this also means is that, if you’re generally anti-preservatives and have been using preservative-free products, viruses that you’ve exposed these products to can still persist on them.

Do I throw away my makeup and skincare products if I used them while I was sick?

do you have to toss away your makeup after you fall sick

The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to throw away your beauty products every time you fall ill.

For products that are dispensed without direct contact, such as your foundation (pump), shampoo (pump), and cleanser (squeeze tube), you may just want to sanitise their surfaces.

But even for products that you dip your finger into or have direct contact with such as lipsticks, moisturisers (in jars), or eyeshadows, you don’t need to toss them out just yet.

There’s a lifespan to viruses, which means that when they are present on a surface, they will die after a certain period of time, depending on the type of surfaces.

According to studies, COVID-19 virus lasts anything from nine days (on metal surfaces) to four hours (on copper surfaces). To be safe, you can leave your beauty products untouched for around 10 days before using them again. This will give the germs a chance to disappear.

But if can’t wait to get to your product, consider using a sanitising spray with high alcohol content or rubbing alcohol to go over them if you can.

The only exception will probably be products with wand applicators and sponges, which soak up products and bodily fluids.

These are hard to be cleaned thoroughly and you’d probably want to toss them out altogether if you’re worried about a re-infection.

This being said, chances of re-infection by the same virus variant is low when you’ve been exposed to it before.

Other tips to keeping yourself virus-safe when using beauty products

do you have to throw away your skincare products after you fall sick

  • Note that everything we’ve shared before is only valid for products that are for personal use. In other words, never ever share your beauty products with another person – even if you’ve sanitised them. There’s a very good chance you may infect someone.
  • While you’re healthy, if you’d want to preserve the longevity of your products while preventing the introduction of viruses to them, opt for products that don’t require as much contact or use spatulas and single-use applicators to pick up your product.
  • Clean your products, applicators, brushes, and sponges regularly.
  • Never use your products past their expiry dates. Past their best-by dates, preservatives the products are formulated with are no longer effective against germs and there’s a higher chance for them to proliferate in your products.
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