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A Slice of Magic
The name was inspired from the manga "Beauty Pop". Koshiba Kiri's catchphrase, "I'll help you guys add a little magic", reminded me that anyone can become beautiful, with a touch of magic~

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cosmetic Hygiene

This is the first in a series of notes to help people with their makeup skills.
I chose to start with 'sanitizing' as a topic as it is often overlooked and unfortunately, is often neglected in the cosplay community.

First of all, let us understand the need to practice good hygiene with makeup.
  1. The human skin naturally has millions of bacteria living on it, everyone has different composition of types of bacteria.
  2. Most of these bacteria are not able to 'infect' you, when you are healthy, but note that Staphylococcus aureus is one of these bacteria... And MRSA is a type of Staphylococcus aureus that is highly resistant to antibiotics.
  3. Some people are more susceptible to certain types of bacteria than others, so transferring these bacteria by accident may cause infection.
  4. Other than safety issues, good hygiene can also prolong the lifespan of your makeup.

** Note that the following recommendations do NOT:
  1. Eradicate all bacteria, fungi or whatever that is growing on your makeup.
  2. IF you have liquid or cream makeup which is already opened and contaminated, the following will not be able to extend the life of your makeup
  3. Prevent contamination from the start. The second you open the bottle, bacteria in the air will settle on the product. The recommendations only help to reduce the amount of bacteria accumulating.

Some basic facts about makeup:
  1. Cream products generally have a shelf life of 1 year at most.
  2. Liquid products depend on what product they are, check the label on the bottle with a symbol that looks like a container and has a number with 'M' denoting number of months the product should be kept.
  3. Powder products can have a shelf life of 2-3 years.
  4. Powder products which are pressed into a pan, are easier to keep disinfected, product under the top layer is more likely to be clean.
  5. Powder products which are loose powders (e.g.: eyeshadow pigment, loose powders with sifters) are easily contaminated as the contaminated powder mixes with the bulk product.
  6. Best type of alcohol to disinfect products with is NOT 100% alcohol, you require water for disinfection.
  7. The most commonly found strength of alcohol found in Singapore is 70% isopropyl alcohol.
  8. If your product ever smells wonky, just chuck it because it's not worth getting an infection over.

Ok, now that we've cleared those out of the way...
Let's talk about disinfecting and maintaining hygiene of products based on their composition (eg: powders, liquids, creams)

For powders there are generally 2 types of powder products.
The pressed powders and the loose powders. Both have different ways of maintaining the hygiene of the items.

Pressed Powders (E.g.: Powder foundations in compacts,  Eyeshadow pans, pressed blush)
Powder products like these have the LONGEST shelf life.
Powder products are dry and bacteria require moisture and oils to grow, and they can only get moisture (from air) and oils (transferred from the skin) on the top layer of the powder product.
For this reason, the product under the top layer can be presumed to be free of bacteria, assuming that no bacteria was introduced during manufacturing of the product.

To maintain the hygiene of these products, you will require a spray bottle (available at SASA), at least 70% isopropyl alcohol (available at Watsons, Guardian, Unity...), Wet wipes or alcohol swabs, Tissue paper.
  1. Use the wet wipe or alcohol swab to clean the container. Fallout from the powder product can collect on the mirror or the sides of the pan, these can attract bacteria.
  2. Using the alcohol spray, spritz the surface of the powder product. Let air dry.
  3. IF there are spots where the powder has glazed over and is hard (due to absorption of oils that was transferred), use the tissue paper to remove those spots. At worst, you will have to use your fingernail to scratch it off. These spots will not yield any product and will just prevent you from accessing product below.
  4. Spritz with alcohol again and air dry.
  5. Close the cover
*** You can do this every few weeks. There is no need to do this often unless you are sharing the product among friends, if so, disinfect every use.

Loose Powders (e.g.: Eyeshadow pigments, Loose powders with sifters, mineral powder foundations)
Similarly to pressed powders, loose powders is not the ideal environment for bacteria to grow.
However, loose powders have a tendency to trap air and absorb moisture from the air and are more likely to grow bacteria than pressed powders.

To maintain the hygiene of these products, you will need alcohol spray or alcohol swabs and something to scoop product with.
Here's how to use the product and maintain good hygiene.
  1. Products with sifters: Open the cap and tap powder product into the cap. Dip your brush into the cap, not into the sifter.Products without sifters: Open the cap, either tap out or scoop out product with a disinfected spatula (use the alcohol swab) into the cap. Dip into the cap
  2. After applying the product, throw away the excess. It is considered contaminated.
  3. Spritz the cap with alcohol OR wipe the cap with the alcohol swab. Let air dry.
  4. Cap the product.
*** This is to be done every time you use the product.

Liquid Products (e.g.: Liquid foundation, liquid concealers)
This section does not apply to liquid eyeliners, mascaras or lipgloss.
Liquid products contain both moisture and oils, they are good environments for bacteria to grow in.
Once contaminated, the liquid product cannot be 'sanitized'.
You need to watch for hygiene from the start.

To maintain the hygiene of these products, you will need alcohol swabs and something to scoop out the product if necessary.
1. Bottles with pumps: 
     - Dispense the product on the back of your clean hand or on a disinfected palette (use the alcohol swab). 
     - Wipe the pump nozzle clean of any product with the alcohol swab.
     - Cap the product.
2. Bottles which can be squeezed: 
     - Squeeze out product onto the back of your clean hand or on a disinfected palette. 
     - Wipe the tip of the nozzle clean of any product with the alcohol swab. 
     - Cap the product without letting air enter the bottle. Air is a source of bacteria.
3. Bottles without pumps and cannot be squeezed (e.g.: Revlon Colorstay Liquid foundation) 
     - Pour out the product. If this causes too much wastage (pouring too much out because it is too viscous), use the disinfected spatula to remove product. 
     - Wipe the mouth of the bottle with an alcohol swab.
     - Cap the bottle.
*** This is to be done every time you use the product

Liquid Eyeliner
There are two types of packaging for liquid eyeliners.
1. The bottle that comes with an applicator to be dipped into it. (e.g.: Silkygirl Precision Liquid Eyeliner)
2. The pen type with a felt tip or brush tip. (e.g: K-palette 24 hour Real Lasting Eyeliner)

It is not possible to maintain hygiene for pen type liquid eyeliners, but you can do it for bottle type.

Frankly, these are too much of a pain in the ass to keep hygienic.
And I recommend that no one should share liquid eyeliners as no one would like an eye infection.
Liquid eyeliners should be kept a maximum of 4 months.

To maintain the hygiene of bottle type liquid eyeliners, you will need alcohol swabs.
1. Open the product and use the eyeliner.
2. Before you re-dip the applicator to get more product to finish your eyeliner, wipe the entire applicator with the alcohol swab.
3. Dip the now disinfected applicator into the bottle, and continue to draw your eyeliner
4. Repeat step 2-3 as many times as required to finish your eyeliner or tattoo or whatever.
5. Wipe the applicator again with alcohol swab and close the bottle 

*** Note that you will probably use 3-4 alcohol swabs, and this is to be done every time you use the product.

Mascara and Lipgloss
Many people do not realise it, but mascara is considered a liquid product.
Mascara generally has a shelf life of 3 months from opening.

Similarly to hygiene for bottle type liquid eyeliners, keeping mascara / lipgloss hygienic is a pain in the ass.
However, if you do this religiously, you can extend the shelf life of a mascara to 6 months.
To maintain the hygiene of these products, you will need alcohol swabs.
  1. Open the mascara and use the product on the wand.
  2. Before you re-dip the wand into the bottle for more mascara, wipe the entire applicator with an alcohol swab. From tip to butt of the cap.
  3. Insert the disinfected wand gently into the bottle and twist to pick up more mascara. Do not pump the wand up and down, to prevent introduction of air and bacteria. Proceed to apply your mascara.
  4. Repeat steps 2-3 as many times as required to get your desired effect.
  5. Wipe the applicator again with alcohol swab and gently insert the applicator and close the bottle.
*** This is to be done every time you use the product.

Cream products (e.g.: Gel Eyeliner, Stick concealers, Maybelline Jelly blush, Lipstick)
Cream products generally have higher oil content than liquid products, usually more waxy oils to make them more solid in nature.
Cream products are also the ideal environment for growth of bacteria.

To maintain the hygiene of these products, you will need alcohol spray or a container to hold alcohol, something to scoop out product and tissue paper.
1. Lipsticks: 
     - Twist up the lipstick. 
     - Wipe the top layer of the lipstick off with a tissue (the parts which have been contaminated by use) 
     - Dip the lipstick bullet into the container holding alcohol. (I find the cap for the spray bottle to be a good container)
*** This can be done every few weeks for a personal lipstick.
2. All cream products including lipsticks: 
     - Use the disinfected spatula to remove product, cap the product.
     - Dip your brush into the product on the spatula and apply it.
     - Discard all excess product that was scooped out.
     - Every few weeks, wipe with a tissue and spritz the surface of the cream product with alcohol and allow to air dry.
*** This is to be done every time you use the product and is highly recommended if you are sharing the product.

That's all folks!
I hope that this was helpful to everyone.
Thanks for reading~


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