As someone who has completed space flight training and carried out research in zero-gravity conditions, Kellie Gerardi knows better than most what it’s like to experience life as an astronaut.
The American scientist-astronaut candidate also happens to have the kind of amazing make-up skills you’d usual expect from an Instagram influencer, with a knack for cat-eye liner and perfectly pencilled brows.
So who better to explain what would happen if you tried to replicate your daily make-up routine in space?
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But do astronauts actually wear make-up? “You rarely see an astronaut applying a full face in space as you would here on earth, but certainly, astronauts have brought up things that make them feel less washed out,” says Gerardi, who was speaking to beauty brand FOREO to mark the launch of its high-tech new LUNA 3 cleansing device.
“You are being photographed constantly and making history, so things like blush and eyeshadow, lip gloss, make-up remover; they are possible, providing they fit the right criteria.”
There are several factors that determine what can be used on a spacecraft, from the product formulation to how they would be stored.
Here, the aerospace expert explains how your beauty routine could be affected if you went into space…
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Liquid make-up would be compulsory
Powders are a big no-no when it comes to spacecraft because, Gerardi says: “They can really float into someone’s lungs or into the delicate machinery.”
That means eyeshadow, blusher, and any other powder make-up products are banned.
You wouldn’t need a foundation with SPF
Here on planet earth, skincare experts recommend wearing sunscreen every day to prevent premature ageing, but you wouldn’t need to worry about a foundation or BB cream containing SPF 30 as an astronaut.
“You don’t need any sunscreen because any spacecraft you are in, the radiation levels are as such that the whole thing needs to be entirely covered by blocking windows anyway,” says Gerardi. That means there’s no chance of topping up your tan in space.
“If you were there for a really long time, things with a little bit of tint could be nice as you aren’t getting a natural tan,” she adds.
It’s not hard to locate a mirror
If there’s one thing not lacking on a spacecraft, it’s mirrors.
“Most of them have a scientific function rather than personal,” Gerardi points out. “All astronauts have a mirror on the inside of their wrist so that they can read instruments on their chest, and those instruments are backwards for that reason and that’s for space walks.”
So if you do choose to pop on some lippy, you wouldn’t need to carry a compact to check for smudges.
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Your products would have to be vetted before lift-off
“A lot of general household objects give off smells or omit tiny odourless gases and volatile organic compounds,” explains Gerardi. “Here on earth, if these odours were to collect, we open our windows or go outside, and obviously astronauts don’t have that option or a way of escaping a smell, so that can be really dangerous.”
Make-up can cause ‘off-gassing’, too, so if any product was tested and found to be emitting a gas, you wouldn’t be allowed to take it into space.
Your make-up bag would look very different
Imagine opening your regular make-up bag in zero-gravity – you’d have tubes, pots and brushes flying all over the place.
“Everything needs to be tethered down,” notes Gerardi, and your make-up would be kept in a zipped, compartmentalised pouch. “Then everything inside it is held down with elastic and every little bottle has its own little pocket, or its own elastic tie.”
Make-up removal would be harder
While many of us are trying to reduce our reliance on single-use make-up remover wipes, in space you haven’t really got a choice, because water use is restricted and you can’t rinse your face because droplets float in zero-gravity and, like powders, could affect machinery on board.
“I would apply a pre-moistened make-up wipe perhaps and then maybe a cleanser balm that doesn’t need to be rinsed off, but could be wiped off,” says Gerardi.
FOREO LUNA 3TM, £169, is available now from LookFantastic.
- Press Association