how your beauty routine is ruining your jewelry
Updated: Nov 28, 2017
Makeup and jewelry are my two favorite things, so I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to write about them together. While one might not realize how your makeup and skincare relate to the pieces you adorn yourself with, it’s a relationship worth paying attention to. Firstly, I’ll give you a bit of a background on my jewelry experience so you know I’m not just pulling this advice from nowhere. Currently I work as a Jewelry Consultant for a small boutique fine jewelry store in Chicago. I have an Accredited Jewelry Professional diploma from the Gemological Institute of America, one of the most renowned gemological institutes in the world. I hope to achieve my graduate gemologist degree eventually. I have been working in the industry for about four years now. I’ve spent those four years learning as much as I can about jewelry and getting a firsthand look at how pieces wear over time. The bench jeweler for our shop (the person who physically fabricates the jewelry) has taught me more about the structural specifications of jewelry, and how people completely mistreat it, than I could have ever imagined. I hope to pass on my hard earned knowledge to you so you can better care for your most treasured possessions, because if I’m being honest, my friends, from what I’ve seen in life and on the gram – y’all don’t take care of your shit.
In the store I work at we often ask our customers if they are hard on their jewelry and about 99% say they aren’t. Upon inspection of their pieces, however, they clearly are. I’ve come to the realization most people think slamming their hand in a car door or rock climbing is “being hard on jewelry” when in reality leaving your jewelry on when you do dishes, work out, apply skincare and makeup, sleep and shower is being hard on your jewelry. Jewelry can and will last a lifetime, but only when taken care of properly, and let me tell you – leaving it on 24/7 is not taking care of it, it’s destroying it. You should be taking off your jewelry often, especially when applying makeup and skincare.
One of my biggest pet peeves is watching people apply skincare or makeup with their hands while they are wearing jewelry, particularly rings. I see it all the dang time on Instagram. The first issue is simply vanity – the second any product is applied over jewelry your once shiny & sparkly bauble is instantly dulled and dirtied. The more pertinent issue is product buildup. Makeup, lotions, dead skin, soap, sweat, your skin’s natural oils – all of this builds up in any crevice jewelry has and it sits there. Festering. While visually unappealing, it’s also potentially a danger to your skin. Once there is product buildup (especially in your rings) there is also moisture and bacteria which can and often does cause skin irritations and rashes. Product buildup is also troublesome for the safety of a piece’s stones. With regular wear, prongs (the metal part holding the stone in place) will come a bit loose. This can be easily caught as you will often literally hear the stone moving in the mounting when you move. That is, unless, you are regularly using products while wearing your jewelry, in which case product will wedge itself in-between the stones and prongs resulting in your stone being held in place more so by gunk than a prong. I cannot tell you how often I see this. Imagine the diamond of your engagement ring being held in place by years of buildup of your favorite moisturizer instead of its prong. This is how you lose stones, people!
Additionally, your products themselves can be harmful to your jewelry. Many products contain chemicals such as alcohol which over time can break down metals. Soft stones like opal, pearl, and turquoise are particularly susceptible to damage from beauty and skincare products and daily wear (think discoloration, cracking, etc.). Consider how many chemicals are in perfume, for example, and then think about how you apply perfume atop your favorite necklace every day… for years. Sure, one spritz won’t cause much long term harm, but over time the constant exposure to chemicals can truly begin to break down metals and gemstones.
So, what exactly is the solution? Well, it’s simple: do not wear your jewelry while applying product. This means in the shower and outside of it. Besides the obvious buildup in rings from using your hands to apply products, hair products will build up in earrings, body lotion and shower soap in necklaces and bracelets, etc. The best trick I have to remind myself to take off my jewelry is keeping little jewelry dishes scattered throughout the house. I have one on my makeup vanity so I always remember to take my jewels off while I apply my skincare and makeup. I also recommend keeping one by your bathroom sink and kitchen sink as they will become a visual reminder to take off your jewelry, and should you walk away without putting your jewelry back on you’ll always know exactly where you left it.
From my experience in the industry the common misconception seems to be jewelry is much more indestructible than it actually is, so please, I beg of you, be gentle with it! You wouldn’t buy a car and then never take it in for service so please take off your jewelry daily, clean it regularly, and bring it in to your jeweler at least once a year for checkups and general upkeep. I could go on and on about this topic, but I promised to keep this makeup and skincare related. If you are interested in more about how to best care for your jewelry and how the current trend of super dainty rings set with soft stones like opal and moonstone is a fucking nightmare for jewelers, please check out these awesome articles.
Thanks for reading!
PS: If everyone could also stop cooking with their rings on that would be great. If I watch one more cooking show in which someone kneads bread while wearing their bridal set I’m going to have a fit. Imagine all of the product and food particles building up in that ring, and then its touching food that is going to be served to people to eat. ::gags::