You might have read about how a young mum from Australia was left wheelchair bound because of an infection that attacked her spine, after she shared her friend’s makeup brush.

Yes, you’re not reading it wrong – her disability is a direct result of her catching an infection through a beauty tool that carry a type of bacteria that travelled into her bloodstream through a pimple.

We’re not being paranoid, but it’s always good to remind ourselves of some bad beauty habits that quit, before they harm our skin and health. Here are five:

1. Don’t share makeup or beauty tools

You learnt from the story of the Australian woman that this can potentially cause infection. Lipsticks and eye makeup and tools, in particular, are the most risky. Some common virus you may catch include cold sores and conjunctivitis (red eye). Take note that you should not apply testers at the counter directly onto your lips or eyelids – you don’t know how they have been handled by other customers previously.

Related: Makeup and skincare products – to share or not to share. That is the question.

2. Always wash your sponges and brushes


Practising good hygiene habits for your beauty tools reduces the chance of them breeding bacteria. If possible, always wash your sponges and brushes after each use, but if you don’t have time to do it, try to do it once a week.

Related: How to wash your brushes

3. Don’t use products that have expired

italian food

Products that have expired may start to harbour bacteria because their preservatives may no longer be working. Most products expire three years after manufacturing and one year after opening, but remember that products differ from one another, so always check before you use them. If you’re afraid that you’ll forget when you first opened it, write the date on the package.

Related: When to throw away your makeup

4. Not double-cleansing


Most makeup remover requires you to wash your face with a cleanser after using it. This second step is known as “double-cleansing”. Neglecting this step may cause the oil in the makeup remover (and debris from the makeup you tried to remove) to accumulate and clog your pores. In some cases, the mixture may get to your eyes, clogging the follicles at your eyes, causing an infection when bacteria attacks them.

Related: 7 mistakes you probably made when you cleanse your face 

5. Handling your contact lenses after touching makeup

contact lenses

You should wear your contact lenses before you apply makeup. This ensures that lenses are not contaminated by makeup, leading to irritation and bacterial infection.

Related: Makeup tips for contact lens wearers