12 Beauty Products and Tools You Should Never Ever Share
Not to freak you out, but many of the personal care items you use to get clean and feel gorgeous aren’t all that clean themselves. This probably doesn’t come as a huge shock, since you use them against your bare skin, scoop them out with your hands, and swipe them across your mouth.
In order to keep your grooming tools and beauty products safe for your own use, you should sanitize them regularly and toss/replace them as needed (good-bye, expired makeup). But another way to moderate the spread of germs and bacteria is to ensure you’re the only one using them. If you’re staying with a friend for the weekend and forget your deodorant, borrowing hers one morning obviously won't kill you—but don't make a habit of it. For the most part (beyond one-time emergencies), you should BYO at all costs and avoid handing out any of these personal care items to others.
1. Nail Clippers
Since your nail clippers make contact with the area beneath your finger and toe nails, they’re likely exposed to harmful bacteria and fungal spores. If you do need to let someone borrow your clippers, disinfect them with rubbing alcohol (acetone nail polish also works) and some antibacterial soap before and after your friend uses them. By the way, you should clean them after you use them anyway. (This cleaning method also works for other metal grooming tools like tweezers and razors, listed below).
Tweezers can be riddled with bacteria and other germs due to their proximity to your skin or other germy beauty tools—but the real issue comes from tweezer contact with open wounds. That sounds dramatic, but this could be anything as mundane as getting to an ingrown hair (don’t—there are other, better ways!) or accidentally causing a cut with them.
Sharing razor heads is a big no-no. Razor blades don’t just skim off hairs, but pick up skin cells and surface-level bacteria and grime along the way. And that’s the best case scenario—most people accidentally cut themselves while shaving, exposing the razor head to infections or illnesses carried in the blood. Your razor is dirty enough—no need to borrow someone else’s (or let them borrow yours). If you need to steal someone’s razor, at least replace the razor head before and after use.
Many beauty pros and dermatologists suggest tossing your loofah—they’re a breeding ground for mold and bacteria (your hands are way cleaner to use—and free!). But if you’re a die-hard loofah fan, make sure it’s yours and yours alone, as sharing one is the easiest way to swap both microscopic bodily and shower-borne germs.
5. Bar Soap
Bar soap is an easy place to trap bacteria that sticks around from shower to shower. So using someone else’s or lending yours out is, counterintuitively, not very sanitary at all. However, sharing is fine if you’re a fan of bar soap’s more hygienic cousin, body wash (as long as it comes in a squeezable container).
We should specify: Used towels (or washcloths) shouldn’t be shared for the same reasons loofahs shouldn’t be communal. If you need to borrow a towel from someone you’re staying with (or vice versa), do yourselves a favor and pop it in the wash before and after use.
7. Mascara (and Other Eye Makeup)
Borrowing someone’s used mascara is definitely not worth getting pink eye over. Eyes are more vulnerable to bacterial infections than skin, and that mascara wand isn’t any less laden with them than other tools. The same goes for eyeliner and eyeshadow (brushes too!).
8. Makeup Brushes
It’s easy to think, I’ll just use my sister’s blush and makeup brushes for the week, instead of packing my own. But makeup brushes need a bath, too, every once in a while—and that's if one person's using them. The potential germs and bacteria on one person’s face and/or makeup brushes are easily transferred to another’s skin, which could cause (or worsen) acne, along with other potential bacterial issues.
9. Lipstick and Lip Balm
Products that have contact with your mouth make the transfer of viral, bacteria, and fungal infection even easier. Many illnesses, like the common cold and the flu spread through saliva and mucus. Sharing lip products also paves the way for passing on viruses, like the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) that causes susceptibility to cold sores.
10. Jar Products
Eye cream, lip gloss, concealer, cheek tint—any product that’s packaged in jar form shouldn’t be passed around as communal. If you need to dip your fingers (carrying who knows what) into it, touch your face/skin/lips/eyes, and then dip into it again, you don’t want anyone else’s digits in there too.
11. Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Your toothbrush might be an obvious one (your mouth is home to hundreds of species of germs), but toothpaste isn’t a good thing to share either. Think about it, most people touch their toothbrush with toothpaste’s opening while squeezing out, so this is yet another, less direct, way to transfer mouth germs from one person to the other. (Psst, the American Dental Association says you should replace your toothbrush every three or four months anyway).
12. Stick or Roll-On Deodorant
No judgment, but your deodorant is probably gross enough as is, thanks to bacteria borne from sweat—so don’t invite another person’s underarm grime to the party too. Using a spray deodorant or antiperspirant? That’s probably better for sharing in a pinch.