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Is Makeup Bad for Your Skin?

Ladies, we all know there is plenty to love about makeup; self-expression, creativity, covering up a really pesky blemish for work, and the feeling of accomplishment when your liquid eyeliner FINALLY matches on both eyes. We can all agree that an hour at Sephora is a total safe haven. We all know that make up is good for the soul, but is it good for your skin?

Let’s start with the good news! it’s definitely a lot better than it used to be, says Elizabeth Donat, a licensed esthetician and the owner of EMD Skin Solutions. “The quality of makeup formulations has really improved dramatically within the past five to eight years,” she says. There’s a lot more out there that’s free of potentially harmful ingredients like parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, and petrochemicals.

While you don’t have the Food and Drug Administration to thank for it (regulations on cosmetics are minimal and have remained largely unchanged since 1938), beauty shelves may be mirroring trends on grocery shelves. However, cosmetic companies do not provide expiration dates on their products, a good rule of thumb is to discard eye products (like mascara) after 3 months of use and foundation, 1 year.


With that being said, you’re not totally in the clear. Can you guess which cosmetic product does the most damage to your skin? You guessed it, your face makeup. Particularly foundations with mineral oil and synthetic fragrance. Mineral oil, which is derived from petroleum, isn’t suitable for all skin types.

Don’t forget that your foundation is just half of the equation. Let’s be honest, we all forget about this. If you’re not thoroughly cleaning your brushes and sponges regularly (that means weekly if you have the time, but at the very least monthly) you’re just pushing oil, bacteria, and oxidized makeup residue back into your pores. Sounds terrifying right!


Okay, here is the easy part, always make sure your cleansing routine involves actual cleanser. Stay away from those so called make up remover wipes! Most wipes contain ingredients that need to be rinsed off the skin, and when they are not, they can alter your skin’s pH. They also only remove makeup superficially, so you’re basically just rubbing around the water-insoluble ingredients of your makeup and leaving them on your face. Sounds crazy right!

Here is a helpful tip! You should always remove make up before sleeping (no brainer) and follow with your preferred moisturizer. You can also try using more of a natural make up remover. The best to us is jojoba oil. Pure jojoba has a ton of fantastic benefits for the skin, which make it the ultimate makeup remover.

Let’s talk about water-proof makeup. STAY CLEAR AWAY FROM IT! Think about it, you really have to put in some serious elbow grease to even remove it. This can be really damaging to the thin skin around your eyes in the process. Besides, a quality, non-waterproof mascara shouldn’t be running and flaking all over the place anyway. Just like foundation, application counts when it comes to eye makeup — clean your brushes, and be gentle in your pursuit of the cat eye.

So, in reality it’s not that makeup on it’s own is necessarily bad for the skin — it’s just how we wear it, put it on, take it off (or don’t) that can make a mess of things. Aka, we’re human, and we can use a little help.

So, what helps? Give your skin some time off. The skin is an amazing organ responsible for some incredible functions like protecting us from infection, regulating our body temperature, secreting oil, excreting sweat, and providing sensory signals, just to name a few. So, with this information, give it a chance! You may be pleasantly surprised.

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