New research says basically everything in your makeup bag is contaminated with bacteria

We don’t mean to alarm you but it’s time to clean your kit

Beauty Crew Digital Content Editor / December 06 2019

Okay, we don’t mean to scare you (actually, we kinda do), but new research conducted in the UK has found a whopping 79 to 90 per cent of the used beauty products examined in the study were contaminated with bacteria such as e. coli and staphylococci.


Not only is this stat gross, the presence of bacteria on beauty products can also pose serious health risks including conditions like conjunctivitis (AKA pink eye). Conjunctivitis caused by bacteria on products used around the eye can trigger mild symptoms like itchy, watery eyes, or in more severe cases, it may even result in sight loss. 

One of the worst offenders of the study were makeup sponges and blenders with 93 per cent of the study respondents admitting to never having cleaned these products. A further 64 per cent of participants revealed they’d dropped their makeup applicators on the floor but had continued to use them without cleaning them – eek!

The researchers behind the study hope the information they’ve uncovered will help educate consumers on the health risks of not keeping their kits clean. They’ve also recommended that makeup packaging should be redesigned to include cleaning instructions and display more obvious expiration dates.

On that note, let’s all take this as a friendly reminder to clean out our makeup bags this weekend.

If you’d like to stop your makeup bag becoming a petri dish playground for bacteria then it’s time to get serious about your kit maintenance. For tips on cleaning your makeup brushes, check out this story.

How regularly do you clean out your makeup kit? Let us know in the comments.

Main image credit: @patrickta

Isobel is a Digital Content Editor at BEAUTYcrew, marie claire and InStyle. When she's not busy hunting for the latest beauty news, you’ll find her arranging her skincare collection in search of the perfect “shelfie.” Isobel was previously BEAUTYcrew's Junior Beauty Writer.