Although we don’t get jealous easily, when a friend pulls out a green tea clarifying facial mask, all we have is basics in TSA-approved sizes. It is hard to not feel, and perhaps even want to feel, green.

Let’s not get too excited about a little bit of facial delicacy. You might not want to give your friend’s products a try, no matter how glowing their cheeks are.

These are the rules for sharing skin care with your friend or roommate.

three women lying on bed while raising their feet

First, let me tell you what you absolutely should not share:

1. Prescription products

These products are prescribed for a reason: they are curated and measured to fit the needs of an individual.

Depending on the product and ingredient, prescription-strength skin care may also be stronger than what your skin needs. It could cause skin irritation, dryness, or damage.

2. Jar based

You should reconsider opening a jar with a lot of finger marks.

Dr. Caroline Chang says, “If your friend or you use your fingers, they could leave behind a number contaminants from bacteria, active ingredients from other skincare products, and even skin cell damage.” Caroline Chang, a dermatologist board-certified and the founder of the Rhode Island Dermatology Institute.

You may also have bacteria under your nails, or on your friend’s nails. Your skin might not be as effective in fighting these tiny critters.

If you are really interested and your friend insists, this is the best option. Dr. Chang recommends that you use a sterilized ladle to scoop the product out.

3. Useable makeup brushes and sponges. Facial cloths.

If they haven’t been washed and sanitized recently, you shouldn’t share sponges or cloths. You should also avoid sharing with tools that are still damp.

Dr. Chang says that makeup applicators could harbor bacteria from the skin and bathroom counters, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. Avoid it!

It’s tempting to grab for the closest thing, but it’s better to use Q-tips and a paper towel. Particularly if your skin is sensitive or sensitized.

Before you borrow, take a look

We’re here to support you, friend, if your brain can accept a no and turn it into full-bodied anxiety. Although you might be tempted to look at their products and see the potential for finding something that works for you, it is important to be cautious before you share.

These are the details you should pay attention to before you ask. It might be more logical to hear a “no”.

1. Does it match your skin type?

It doesn’t matter if you are using an antioxidant citrus balm, or a sweet flower lotion, it’s not a good idea to disrupt your skin’s natural defense system. The wrong product can cause skin to become dry, oily, or even breakouts.

If you have the same skin type as your friend, you can ask for two drops to test it out. Your friend will be thrilled to join you on the journey to improve your skin’s health if the product worked for them.

You don’t need to have the exact same skin type as your friend, but there are still skin care products that you can use.

These are okay to start with:

  • Micellar water
  • Gentle make-up removers
  • Low pH or gentle face wash
  • Sunscreen

2. Is it a good fit for your daily routine?

No matter how gorgeous the bottle may look, you need to evaluate whether it makes sense in your daily routine. It’s not a good time to try something new, especially if you are staying over.

Are you using it as an eye cream or toner? Is it a new face oil that you haven’t tried?

Skin care professionals know that the skin is a delicate ecosystem that has adapted to a particular routine. Avoid using products randomly, dermatologists recommend that you do not. You never know what reaction your skin might have, especially if it is sensitive.

3. Is the counter full?

Your friend might be inclined to have their skin products all over their bathroom counter. You should still ask.

Another sign is that your friend is open to sharing other products. You might also notice if your friend has too many products for the exact same step, such as three toners, five face serums, and four face washes. There’ll be one for you.

4. Skip it if you find dust and crust

You should avoid clutter and chaos. Skip it if you find dust on the lids and the jar cracks when you open them.

Open jars are susceptible to bacteria. Products that have been opened and not used may pose a health risk.

Switch tactics if this is the case and ask them if they are aware of any potential skin problems. If they aren’t, then let them be.

5. Is your friend a true lover of skin care?

You might want to continue your fantasies about wearing your friend’s face mask at movie night if they consider their skin care products precious possessions.

Mindful behavior, down to the droplet, is more than mindful. This product is most likely “liquid gold” to them. It’s a good indicator that sharing might be out of the equation.

Sigh and love their beautiful beauties and have a conversation instead. Ask them why the product is so special and how it has changed their lives.

Are there limited supplies or is it too expensive?

Do not be surprised if your friend spent hours waiting in Sephora for the product, talked about saving up, or purchased it seconds after it was available.

It’s not surprising that they may be attached to the keepsake they have worked so hard to acquire.

Avoid the routine and stick to the essentials

The simplest skin care routine involves a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen. It is possible to notice a difference in your skin’s health by going without your daily routine for a few days. (Psst: if that’s the case, it may mean one of your products at-home is doing damage and you may want to consider skin-fasting.)

If your skin needs extra TLC, you don’t have to be afraid to bring all your products along to the stayover. Your friend will get it.

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