The gross reason you should never leave your make up bag in the bathroom

What are the hazards of storing make up in moisture-prone rooms?

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Hands up if you store your make up bag in your bathroom, alongside things like your non-comedogenic foundation? Well, it might seem like the most likely place, especially if it's filled with natural light, but simply storing your make up bag in your bathroom can be doing more harm than good to your skin.

Working from home during lockdown and wearing fewer products doesn't mean our skin or our make up bags are cleaner than ever. 

PrettyLittleThing conducted a scientific experiment to reveal why you shouldn't keep your make up in the bathroom and the results are honestly quite gross.

Bacteria found on make up brushes washed every day

Bacteria found on make up brushes washed every day

(Image credit: PrettyLittleThing)

If you saw what dirt really lives on your makeup brush, sponge and eyeshadow you'd be more careful over where you store them.

A scientific petri dish experiment, carried out by Microbiologist Amy-May Pointer, reveals the horrifying truth of the bacteria comparison between products that are cleaned after every use versus ones that are rarely cleaned. 

In her findings, Amy-May noted: "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."

Bacteria found on make up brushes rarely cleaned

Bacteria found on make up brushes that are rarely cleaned

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But she explained that when the brush is rarely cleaned, there is an extremely higher density of both bacterial and fungal organisms - including presumptive Staphylococcus epidermis, Staphylococcus aureus spp., Escherichia coli and various yeast colonies.

And one of the best make up tips is to never store your make up brushes near the toilet.

Amy-May advised: "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."

These bacterial and yeast populations have potential to cause skin infections, fungal and bacterial acne.

Meanwhile there are other hazards to be found - in addition to brushes - by storing your make up bag in the bathroom...

A make up sponge

Bacteria found on a make up sponge regularly cleaned

Bacteria found on a make up sponge that is regularly cleaned

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When you compare a regularly washed sponge with one that is rarely washed you can see the difference it has on the density of presumptive Staphylococcus epidermidis colonies found all over the plate (small white colonies). 

The washed sponge shows fewer S. epidermis, which is found as part of the normal skin microbiota, but also has been found to contribute to the inflammation of acne.

But Amy-May warned: "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.”

Bacteria found on make up sponges that are rarely washed

Bacteria found on make up sponges that are rarely cleaned.

(Image credit: PrettyLittleThing)


Bacteria found on eyeshadow regularly cleaned

Bacteria found on eyeshadow regularly cleaned

(Image credit: PrettyLittleThing)

Meanwhile eyeshadows present harm too. So even if you are regularly cleaning your brushes and sponges, bacteria is growing on your eye shadow pallet. 

Amy May explained: "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."

As a result, the discovery of Candida albicans colony on the eye shadow pallet may indicate improper storage of the cosmetic brush and this can increase acne.

Bacteria found on eye shadow rarely cleaned

Bacteria found on eye shadow that is rarely cleaned

(Image credit: PrettyLittleThing)

She added: “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.”

So next time you visit the bathroom it might be worth removing your make up bag and finding it a new home free from bacteria.