You paint, contour and flush your complexion with makeup brushes every day, but when was the last time you actually cleaned them? If they’re caked in foundation, concealer and other products you put on your face on a daily basis, then it’s likely you haven’t given them a thorough clean in a while — and it’s time you did!
Dermatologists and makeup artists everyhere strongly advise us to clean our brushes regularly to avoid product buildup, which in turn causes unwanted breakouts, congestion and skin irritation. Not good news for your skin…
Here, we’re telling you why cleaning your makeup brushes is important and how to go about keeping them pristine.
Why Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes Is Essential
It’s easy to go days, weeks and even months without cleaning your makeup brushes. Buildup of dirt, oil and product make brushes a breeding ground for bacteria, which can lead to acne breakouts, irritation, rashes and congestion. According to makeup artist Caroline Barnes, unwashed brushes can also cause infections, like folliculitis. “It’s extreme, but I once read once about a lady who contracted cellulitis, which can cause blindness,” says Barnes.
If you’re one of those girls who does everything by the book when it comes to applying makeup and yet can’t understand why you keep getting rashes and spots, then you’d better take a look at your makeup brushes.
Not to mention that not washing them regularly can lead to the bristles becoming limp, clogged with grime and unable to blend products properly. “Brush hairs and sponges are porous, so they hold onto oils, debris, and bacteria,” says makeup artist Ashleigh B. Ciucci. “If your brushes are dirty, your application will be spotty and blending will be difficult.”
There Are BUGS in Your Makeup Brushes
You’ve read that right — your brushes may have bugs in them! Lynne Sanders, cosmetic scientist and founder of Cosmetics a La Carte, claims that “you may see the remains of mites on your brushes” under the microscope. These creepy crawlies are about a third of a millimeter long and usually reside at the base of your eyelashes and nostril hair, living off old skin cells and sebum. And while generally harmless, they may be an acne-causing factor.
As if mites weren’t bad enough, Sanders also informs us that staphylococcus, streptococcus, e-coli and even some fungi can easily get trapped in the bristles of your brushes.
Getting creeped out already? You should — luckily, we’ve got the perfect brush cleaning routine to make sure your fave makeup tools are kept in excellent condition for longer.
How Often Should You Clean Makeup Brushes?
While there’s no rule for how often you should clean your makeup brushes, many dermatologists and makeup artists recommend you do it as often as possible. Ciucci recommends cleaning foundation, concealer and powder brushes once a week. Because these brushes come into contact with your face every day, they should be cleaned more often. Eye brushes should be cleaned in between uses to ensure you won’t have a hard time blending the shadows.
In addition to regular cleaning, you should also consider soaking your brushes at least once a month to give them a really deep cleanse.
How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes
Dreading cleaning your brushes? You shouldn’t — it’s actually a very easy process.
Here, makeup pro Christabel Draffin is giving us all the info on how she’s cleaning her brushes in just four easy steps.
Step 1. Wet the brushes with hot water, then dip them into a bowl of gentle soap or shampoo. Rub the bristles gently using your fingers for a few minutes. A brush washing mat will also do the trick and can save you some time if you’re in a rush.
Step 2. Hold the brushes under running water to remove all traces of the soap or shampoo.
Step 3. If there’s still any grime or product left on the brushes, repeat the process. If not, gently squeeze the water out of the brushes and lay them flat on a towel to dry.
Step 4. Once all brushes are cleaned and lovely, lay them in a row underneath the radiator. Avoid stacking them on top of each other, as this will prevent them from drying properly.
Don’t forget your beautyblender or makeup sponge, too. If you can’t afford one of those fancy cleansers, a bar of soap will be just as good — all you need to do is rub your makeup sponge against the bar of soap and hold it under hot running water, squeezing it every now and again until all traces of dirt are removed. Make sure there is no soap left on the sponge, otherwise you may have difficulties in blending your products later. Once clean, let the beautyblender or sponge dry.
Sure, cleaning your makeup tools may be a chore, but there’s undoubtedly a winning payoff — nice, clean brushes (or sponges!) that apply products like a dream and don’t mess up with your skin!