The Environment and your Skincare/Makeup Products

The Environment and your Skincare/Makeup Products

There’s nothing quite like the feeling (and look) of sun-kissed skin—and don’t get us started on the sweet vitamin D you get as a bonus! However, as much as you and your skin might love the sun, it can actually be your skincare and makeup products’ worst enemies. Environmental factors such as direct sunlight, exposure to air, humidity, and more can degrade the quality of your favorite makeup products, mess with the ingredients and even turn them toxic. Let’s dig deeper into how the environment damages your makeup… and what you can do to protect it!

Nail Polish

Have you ever opened a bottle of your favorite nail polish only to find your beloved silky smooth formula has turned sticky and hard? The culprit might not be the nail polish per se, but rather the environment you’ve kept it in. Direct sunlight impacts the chemicals in the formula, changing its feel and look, so your best bet is to keep your nail polish in a cool, dark place. Bonus fact: prolonged exposure to sunlight can also dull your gorgeous mani, so if you’re tanning at the beach, keep that in mind and slather on a quality topcoat. 


Perfumes usually come without an expiration date, unlike most cosmetics and makeup products. However, this doesn’t mean they won’t spoil. Overexposure to heat and direct sunlight can lead to oxidization and ruin the scent. Heat breaks down the chemical bonds in the formula and can also warp or damage the plastic bottle the perfume is stored in. As a rule of thumb, the darker the packaging, the safer the contents, but if your perfumes come in transparent glass bottles, they’re best kept away from direct sunlight. 

In addition, humidity can also wreak havoc on your perfumes. Most people keep their perfumes in the bathroom, but the high post-shower humidity can also damage the contents. You’re better off storing your perfume in a dry room like the bedroom.

Antioxidant creams and serums

Serum placed under the sun

These are especially sensitive to sunlight, particularly formulas enriched with vitamin C and vitamin A. Exposure to direct sunlight can lead to a rapid breakdown, even in a matter of hours. Avoid serums in clear containers: the opaque, amber color will provide an additional layer of protection against direct sunlight.

Humidity is also not your creams’ best friend. It causes oil and water to separate, not just making your products nasty to look at and apply but virtually useless.

Natural products

Hand holding cream jar under the sun

Pay special attention to any natural makeup or cosmetic products as they can be extra sensitive to environmental factors. Another rule of thumb is that the more preservatives a product has, the more resistant it is to the effects of oxidization, humidity, bacteria, and more. As natural products often have little to no preservatives, they are very easily damaged by prolonged exposure to the elements. Some bacteria are photosynthetic, which means they work best in warm, sunny environments, and their favorite playground is a tub of preservative-free cream.

Powder and liquid foundations

These are usually more resistant to the elements. If your liquid foundation is visibly separated, don’t toss it in the bin just yet: shake it a little to mix it back together. If this doesn’t work, then you should definitely refrain from using it as the formula might be too damaged and irritate your skin or result in a color change. The high humidity and sunlight can also lead to cracks in powdered foundations and other powdered makeup products.

While you can’t exactly escape environments with high humidity and direct sunlight—nor should you—it’s best to keep the elements in mind when storing your makeup products. If you’re on holiday or traveling around, don’t keep your makeup products in the hot, toasty car for long. Store them in a cool, dry place (not the bathroom!) and if you notice any changes to the formula’s look, feel or color, play it safe and toss it aside.

Cheers to a more beautiful, and healthy you!

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Photo by Mathilde Langevin on Unsplash
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