Sometimes in the midst of a rushed morning and chaotic schedule, we cut corners in our beauty routine—and our skin suffers for it. “I don’t want to call them bad habits, only because for most women, it’s not habit but a necessity or necessary evil,” says Stephanie Daga of Fresh.Beautiful: The Skin Studio in Toronto. “We lead busy lives and often forget to take care of ourselves, and sacrifice proper care in order to get all those things on our ‘to-do’ lists done.” Daga shares six common beauty habits that we’re all guilty of having in our beauty routine—and are unknowingly causing skin to breakout—and how to avoid them.
1. Making lifestyle choices that are affecting your skin
“Some common ‘habits’ that women have that often lead to breakouts are poor nutrition and diet, lack of sleep and an inconsistent skincare routine such as not washing your face properly at the end of the night or removing all your makeup,” says Daga. “These three things all paired together leads to most skin issues: breakouts, dullness, bags under the eyes, and dryness.”
2. Not cleaning your makeup brushes
“Makeup brushes that go without a proper cleaning can breed bacteria and spread dirt,” says Daga. It’s a constant cycle: dirt from your face, goes into your product, then back to your face, and then sits on your brush until the next time you use it. “To avoid breakouts by brushes, I would suggest wiping down each brush with a brush cleaner after daily use, and more importantly, giving them a thorough washing weekly.”
She recommends using a gentle baby soap to scrub away makeup and bacteria—and to consider storing makeup brushes away from the bathroom and off of messy sinks. “All that dampness and water can lead to quicker bacteria build-up.” If you apply makeup in the bathroom, store brushes upright in a glass or mug while not in use and then return that mug to your bedroom vanity afterwards.
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3. Using double-duty beauty products all the time
Double-duty products—hybrid cheeks and lips, eyes tints that save you time and money—are great for rushed mornings, but shouldn’t be part of your daily beauty routine. “Most of the time, the ingredients used for a lip colour won’t mesh well with the skin on the cheeks and vice versa, so it is best to avoid using single-area products all over the face,” Daga says. “When you do, be sure to remove your makeup at the end of the night or as soon as possible to avoid any adverse reactions or breakouts.”
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4. Using expired beauty products
We get it—it’s nearly impossible to part ways with a limited-edition luxe bronzer or foundation, but for the sake of your skin, you need discard it when necessary. “Each brand and product will vary in the amount of time they take to expire and for face products, it could be anywhere between 12 months to 24 months depending on the formulation—even less sometimes if the product is organic or natural.”
Keep this timeline in mind: replace liquid foundations every 6 to 12 months, every 12 months for cream blushes, and 12 to 24 months for pressed powders or powder blushes. “Always check out your products packaging before discarding—it will let you know when to toss it!”
5. Not cleaning out your makeup bag
“This is probably the hardest part of loving makeup—keeping a clean makeup bag!” Daga says. She recommends ditching any products where the lids or caps have gone missing, as well as storing your makeup tools separately. “A Ziploc bag containing tools and makeup brushes tucked in your makeup kit over letting them all hang loose is such a better option,” she adds. And regularly clean out the makeup bag itself—at the end of the week (the same time you wash your makeup brushes), empty out the contents and wipe down the bag with an alcohol wipe.
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6. Applying makeup on-the-go without washing hands first
Before making any quick touchups, always wash your hands or use a sanitizer first. And look for a clean space. “Perhaps not in your messy car or a less-than-stellar public bathroom,” Daga warns. “Avoid dumping out the contents of your kit on any flat surfaces, since you don’t know what kind of dirt and bacteria could be waiting there for you!”
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