Manchester women torn on whether to share make-up brushes after mum paralysed

A significant number of Manchester women have revealed they are torn on whether they will share cosmetics following the news a mum was left paralysed after using her friend’s makeup kit. 

Young Australian mother Jo Gilchrist, 27, who has a two-year-old son, believes she contracted an infection due to staphylococcus, or staph, bacteria entering her body and attacking her spine after borrowing a friend’s makeup brush to cover a pimple.

The young mum must now spend the next three months in hospital, where she will be administered with strong antibiotics, as medics at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane are still attempting to rid the bacteria from her body almost three months after she became ill.

This rare case highlights the dangers that people can face by not cleaning their brushes regularly.

Dermatologists advise that all makeup brushes should be cleaned weekly to avoid viral and fungal infections.

In light of this news, MM took to the streets to ask female members of the public these questions:

Do you share makeup brushes?

73% 27%


Would this story make you reconsider sharing cosmetic tools?

50% 50%

An astonishing 50% of females surveyed said that they would reconsider sharing comestic tools with their friends, in case of contracting an infection. 

Marion Foster, a retired nurse, was very emphatic about the risks people could be taking if they don’t wash their brushes enough.

She said: “I’ve never shared so much as a lipstick. There are a lot of dangers associated with people sharing any makeup so I’m always very careful.

“I don’t understand why anyone would ever be so careless.

“I’ve worked as a nurse for years and I’ve seen all the infections that can occur when people are careless.”

DANGERS: Marion Jones said that people sharing makeup is careless

Flo, a 25 year-old freelance designer from Montreal, agreed that people need to be more careful.

She said: “I don’t think people think about the dangers enough – when you walk into shops that offer makeovers I always wonder if they’re bothering to clean the brushes properly in between clients. 

“Also when you try makeup samples, think about how many people have probably tried it before you.

I also think it’s a real danger for kids. My daughter always wants to try my makeup on and share it with her friends.”

Emiliya Hriystovia, a Scandinavian finance executive, said that she was much more stringent about never sharing.

She said: “I would never share my makeup brushes. I’m very careful and wash them regularly with warm soapy water.

“I don’t understand why you would take any risks when there can be really serious consequences.”

SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES: Emiliya Hriystovia said she wouldn’t take any risks when it came to sharing her makeup brushes

Jenny Ferreira, a Geography lecturer at Coventry University, admitted that she probably has shared brushes in the past, but would be more careful now.

She said: “When I was a student, I lived with six girls so I think we just shared everything.

“However I’m married now and I don’t think my husband is interested in sharing.”

Aimee Backhouse was horrified by the story, but admitted that she might still share with her family.

She said: “You’d never think about it – you just don’t link it. 

“I never share makeup brushes with friends anyway and definitely won’t now but I will probably still share with my mum and sister.”

Yasmin Shaikh, a 19-year-old student at the University of Manchester, was more relaxed about the dangers posed.

She said: “When I’m going out, I always share brushes.

“It makes you think and I will probably tell all my friends about the dangers but then we will forget. The risk is small after all.”

SMALL RISK: Yasmin Shaikh said that the story hasn’t deterred her

Zara Rotherham, a 19-year-old Oxford University student, explained that she ‘wasn’t really worried’ about the risk.

She said: “I’ve definitely shared makeup brushes with my friends before and never thought there would be any health risks. I probably wouldn’t worry too much about it in the future as it sounds like a rare case and the majority of people with MRSA on their skin don’t actually get it.”

Sarah Tustin, a 28-year-old part time teacher and student, admitted that she has shared and probably would again.

She said: “I think my friends, who are the people I would share with, are very hygienic.

“I do make sure to wash my brushes although then you should be just as careful about drying.”

Flick Duvall, an advertising executive from Guildford, felt that she would still share makeup brushes with friends on nights out.

She said: “I don’t really use makeup brushes that much but I have definitely borrowed friends’ eyeliners and such when I’ve needed it.

“I remember a similar story happening about ten years ago and it didn’t stop me then, so I doubt it will stop me now.”

India Biggins, a student from Nottingham, said that she had probably never shared but would be willing too.

She said: “It is unhygienic, but I would share with my friends.

“I don’t tend to because my skin tone is different so it would be difficult to mix it up. This story does make me think that maybe I shouldn’t though!”

UNHYGIENIC: India Biggins is aware of the risk but would still share with friends

Beauty expert Zoella suggests that makeup users should be careful about sharing any of their products and advises people to wash their brushes in lukewarm water with a mild shampoo.

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