Foundation, Blusher, Bacteria? How to Clean Makeup Brushes So You Don’t Gross Your Face Out

How to Clean Makeup Brushes and Avoid Serious Health Risks

You apply it nearly every day. Foundation, blusher, bacteria. It’s high time you invest in your own beauty tools and learn how to clean makeup brushes.

We teach our children, starting from a young age, to share with others. Sharing is a good thing, right?

Of course, there are times when sharing is not a great idea. Makeup brushes happen to be one of them. We’ve been told over and over not to use someone else’s eye makeup due to risk of infection. Would you be surprised to learn that sharing makeup brushes for the face can also spread bacteria and lead to skin infection?

If this seems like a long shot, that’s because it is. Sure, infection by makeup brush is not all that common. But it is a valid concern. Take the rare case of an Australian woman who contracted a horrible case of MRSA, an antibiotic resistant strain of skin infection, that left her confined to a wheelchair. Unlikely, yes. Worth sticking to your own brushes? For sure!

That little tidbit probably scared you straight on shared makeup tools. Now you need to be sure your own aren’t causing any skin trouble. To keep skin clear and makeup application smooth, brushes need to be cleaned. Like, regularly. Would you use the same bath towel for weeks, or even months, on end? Of course not! Same goes for facial brushes.

If you have noticed irritation or breakouts and can’t pinpoint the cause, you may be dealing with dirty brushes. Makeup brushes gather dirt, dust, facial oils, dead skin cells, and (obvi) makeup. This can not only cause the aforementioned irritation and acne, but also makes makeup application less consistent. Pai Skincare offers a cheat sheet on how often you should clean your brushes.

Now, how to clean makeup brushes? Use what works for your face. I’ve noticed many recommendations for cleansing with shampoo, but have experienced some irritation with this method. Your facial cleansing wash is gentler and works well in removing makeup. Be sure to use a gel cleanser here. Lavera Basis Sensitiv Cleansing Gel is my top pick. Wet brushes with warm water, massage with a dab of cleanser, rinse thoroughly, and allow to air dry. If you are in a hurry, blast them with your blow dryer.

And lastly, purchasing high quality brushes will pay off in the long run. Not only do they offer better application, but last longer and are gentler on skin. Repurpose those old worn out brushes you’ve been using for years and give your face a break.

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Image of dirty makeup brush via Shutterstock

Liz Thompson

Liz Thompson is an organic beauty expert who has been researching and writing on the subjects of natural beauty, health, and wellness for over 10 years. She specializes in sharing safe beauty products and her knowledge on healthy ingredients with her readers, and helping organic beauty brands and shop owners share their message and products with the world through her writing services.