Sloppy bathroom habits largely to blame for existence of rife superbugs.

It's a finding that might just take the gloss off the party season — nine in 10 used makeup products are harbouring potentially deadly bacteria, research shows.

The study of almost 500 items including lipsticks, eyeliners, mascaras and beauty blenders found superbugs were rife, with pathogens likely to be hiding in every cosmetic bag.

E.coli, staphylococcus with high levels of antibiotic resistance, and fungus were among the main culprits isolated by British scientists.

The study found that beauty blenders — an increasingly popular product used to apply skin foundation — had the highest levels of potentially harmful bacteria. In total, 92 per cent of them were found to be carrying some kind of germ.


The scientists behind the study suggested sloppy bathroom habits were largely to blame. The study found 93 per cent of such products had never been cleaned — though 64 per cent of them had been dropped on the floor.

Eyeliner and mascara also fared badly, with around four in five found to be carrying germs, as were three quarters of lipsticks.

Experts warned that as well as causing skin and eye infections such as impetigo and conjunctivitis, such germs can cause blood poisoning, which can be lethal. In the research by Aston University, and published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, scientists examined 467 lipsticks, lipglosses, eyeliners, mascaras and beauty blenders, which were donated after being used.

In total, 56 per cent of lipsticks and 55 per cent of lip glosses were found to be carrying staphylococcus bacteria, along with 69 per cent of mascaras, 72 per cent of beauty blenders and 77 per cent of eyeliners. More than a quarter of beauty blenders and one in 10 lipsticks and lipglosses were harbouring E.coli and other closely related germs and 57 per cent of beauty blenders, 37 per cent of lipsticks and 28 per cent of eyeliners, were found to be carrying fungi.

Scientists said products used to apply makeup must be washed regularly, and warned against sharing items, or using makeup testers found on beauty counters.

Dr Amereen Bashir, a researcher, said: "Consumers' poor hygiene practices when it comes to using make-up, especially beauty blenders, is very worrying when you consider that we found bacteria such as E.coli breeding on the products we tested."

She added that "more needs to be done to help educate consumers and the makeup industry as a whole" and researchers have called on manufacturers and regulatory bodies to make expiry dates and cleaning requirements more prominent on packaging.