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What's Lurking in your Makeup Brush?

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Do you have irritated facial skin? Do you keep switching skin care products to no avail? Well, if you use makeup brushes, the problem could lie there, especially if you never or rarely clean them. Even if you don't have problem skin, you should seriously consider the cleanliness of your makeup brushes.

Think about it. Your makeup brushes are being constantly used on your face, your lips and your eyes. This means they pick up all manner of things – the natural oils in your skin, product residues like your moisturiser, as well as dead skin cells. And if you leave your brushes sitting on your dressing table or bathroom vanity, uncovered, they also pick up general dust and dirt.

All of this matter accumulating in your brushes creates the perfect environment for bacteria to grow – that’s right, bacteria. So if you don’t clean your brushes regularly, you’re potentially applying and spreading bacteria onto your face every time you use your brushes. Pretty disgusting, right? And if you share your lip brushes or eye liner brushes with other people, you also run the risk of contracting viruses like conjunctivitis. The bottom line is, if you’re not careful about sharing your makeup brushes and keeping them clean, then you’re just inviting a whole world of trouble for your face. By the way, synthetic nylon brushes – apart from being cruelty free – tend to harbour less bacteria than those made with animal hair.

La Mav Kabuki Brush

So how often should you clean your makeup brushes? At the very minimum, your brushes should be washed once a month. For powder foundation brushes, once a fortnight is more preferable as the foundation tends to build up in the brush, making even application of your makeup more difficult and causing the brush to feel rough and prickly against your skin – another source of irritation. Of course, if you use any liquid or cream formulations with your brushes, then you should clean them immediately after each use.

How to Clean your Makeup Brushes

So how do you clean your brushes? The method for washing your brushes, like washing your hair, is a personal preference – just remember to use a quality, chemical-free shampoo or soap. Here is my preferred method:

  1. Mix tepid water with a little shampoo in a shallow container.
  2. Swirl the bristles of your brushes around in the mixture for a minute or so. If the water becomes too dirty, you may want to change it, as necessary.
  3. After washing, rinse your brushes under running water until the water runs clear.
  4. (Some people also like to swirl their brushes in a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar before doing a final rinse.)
  5. Finally, gently squeeze out the excess water and lay the brushes flat on a clean, dry towel to air dry – I prefer to do this overnight.

Using clean, soft and fluffy brushes will result in a better, more even, application of makeup. By regularly cleaning your brushes, you will prolong their life, saving you money (after all, some brushes can be quite expensive). Clean brushes are better for your skin, your health and your hip-pocket! 

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