- so do the window cleaning

Why DIY Eye Hygiene is more crucial than ever

No product shifts faster than concealer…or under-eye masks.  Yet what this booming cynical capitalism is doing is concealing a real health bomb which needs correcting urgently.



STYE infection

Puffy eye, may be cellulitis

Healthy eye, no make up


Our eyes are the windows to our soul: depset, hooded, monolid, classic – however they are lidded, they are beautiful because they let light in and they let our light out.  In makeup, we celebrate this expressive capacity to the max but more and more I’m seeing clients come in with their eyes in a terrible state (which they think is normal) making it unsafe to do a makeup on them.

 To a large extent, the fault is just life in 2023.  We live in a toxic, hyperpolluted environment, a changing climate where moulds and bacteria fester and with less money to buy a fresh mascara/product if ‘this old one will do’.  We spend way, way more time on screens than our eyes were ever designed for.  As a result, our lids, cornea and lubricants are just overwhelmed with filth, bacteria and dryness.  When this is combined with hormonal problems, allergies, infections, poor diets, drugs or black of sleep, our eyes can be in a chronically poor state.  But, as we use them each day, it’s not something we give time to address.  We expect our eyes to just do the job.

Yet we should practice good eyelid hygiene – whatever our age.  I’ll set out some of the procedures I’ve used to bring me back from the brink of blindness and hospitalisation after literally fighting for my life - and the warning signs to look for.  Please do not wait till your eyes look a bit puffy, red, a wee bit greasy. Just dark rings under your eyes.  Do your due diligence. They are YOUR eyes.

 Don’t get me wrong: makeup is my job. I love it. I use colour corrector and concealer every day – on either clients or myself – but if you find yourself literally PAINTING it round your eyes and lashing on lightening powder, you may be making a serious problem worse. A good expressive eye starts with good eye health.  Makeup can only go to town if the basics are in place.  It may be cosmetic but it’s also scientific. It’s your health.  Dark rings and puffy eyes are not remedied by eye gel packs and concealer if they are actually chronic cellulitis.

 Many folk suffer with dermatitis – when the skin gets infected or reacts to an agent or allergen – but cellulitis is when the infection or reaction goes deeper into the soft tissues behind the skin.  This is where your life is in danger because, once it’s in the bloodstream, it’s a whole different ball game; sepsis and your life or limb, let alone your face, is in danger.

 I have a personal experience of this.  For ages, I had a pain around my left eye. Harassed, busy NHS staff dismissed it as a migraine (even though I know what a migraine is) and my worries about a discolouring as vanity.  It wasn’t till it got so bad, my eye started to swell that I finally got seen. Not that anyone had a clue what they were doing or gave me any antibiotics; they just told me to keep it clean and not wear makeup . Like that was an option; I couldn’t even see.  It had been caused by a two-month old eyeliner and an oily cleanser but it resulted in orbital cellulitis which is a killer.  It could have been caused by an inset bite, using a dirty towel, microblading, threading, a tattoo, cracked dry skin – any weakness in the skin barrier that making it vulnerable to the Staphylococcal bacteria.

 Honestly, I just prayed. Each day.  And vowed, if I ever got better, this would not happen again or to anyone else under my watch.  I did my research.  I did my study. I did my training.  Thankfully, I did recover BUT, because I hadn’t had any antibiotics, the infection lay dormant and flared up again…by which time, I was more educated and demanded the right antibiotic.  So, no, I do not trust the NHS. I may not be a medic but I have studied physiology at degree level and do understand basic dermatology.

Below is a checklist for all you minor sufferers of blephritis, dry eyes, puffy eyes, any eye problems.  BEFORE YOU THINK OF PUTTING ON YOUR MAKEUP, do your cleaning.  Look after your peepers, people.  I know it’s cost of living crisis but, seriously, an old makeup product will end up costing you WAY more than a new one.  Believe me.



  1. REMOVE YOUR MAKEUP BEFORE YOU SLEEP. Your eyes and skin go into assimilation mode overnight and all sorts of shenanigans take place. If you still have a day’s worth of gunk, bacteria and pollution on you, don’t be surprised when you wake up with it IN you.
  2. EYELID HYGIENE – that means washing your eyelids with mild baby shampoo or hyperallergenic shampoo – not alcohol or oily cleanser which can cause dermatitis. And at least weekly, your lashes too. A swipe with an eye makeup remover is not good eyelid hygiene. 
  3. MOISTURISE EFFECTIVELY – that means not with the moisturiser that promises no crow’s feet, wrinkles, collagen etc but the one that is actually simple, pure and stops the thinnest skin on your body from cracking and being vulnerable to toxins. I use the Body Doctor’s Manuka Eyelid Cream day and night. It’s very soothing and calms my lids down. 
  4. CLEAN YOUR MAKEUP BRUSHES and BOIL YOUR FACECLOTHS  At least once a week, clean your makeup brushes.  I do it every time I use them but that’s because of my job and personal history.  But you should do it at least every week.  Clean them with a mild shampoo, like the one you use on your eyelids, not soap as it makes the bristles dry and abrasive.  Rinse them with cold water, careful not to let any water down past the metal bit.  Then rinse in vinegar to disinfect them. It sounds like a mission but it’s worth it.  This way you keep the brushes clean and soft and remove any festering bacteria.
  1. UPDATE YOUR MAKEUP – For eye makeup, even if it’s Chanel or Fenty – if you’ve not used it after three months, IN THE BIN. It really is not worth the price of your eye – or your life. For me, the deadline is six weeks. I tend to use pots and clean brushes and sharpen, spray with alcohol cleaner, sharpen again. 

 In other words, CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN. Make everything as new and clean as you can because our eyes in 2023 cannot cope with the shit being thrown at them.


I know this is a pretty brutal post but if only I had read one of these, I could have saved myself a lot of bother because, one last thing: once you’ve had orbital cellulitis, you are more likely to get it again. If I help one person sort themselves out before it turns ugly, I will be happy.

orbital cellulitis & blephritis & stye

You may get three for one...:-(

Optimase eyelid spray

Optimase or blephawipes plus eye drops for dry eyes

Baby shampoo

baby or mild clarifying shampoo - for both your lids and brushes