How to Really Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Be honest. When was the last time you cleaned your makeup brushes?

If you haven’t cleaned your makeup brushes in a while, you're not alone. According to one survey by Huffington Post, only 61% of women are cleaning their makeup brushes once a month, 39% of women clean their makeup brushes less than that, and 22% of women don’t clean them at all.  

Makeup brushes are our own personal little magic wands. We need to keep them in tip-top shape if we want them to keep working their magic. But more importantly, we need to clean our brushes often for a few other very scary reasons as well. 

Creepy crawlies up close

When you don’t wash and disinfect your brushes, they will become happy breeding grounds for bacteria. Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and E. coli are commonly found on makeup brushes. "Most people never clean their beauty tools, but you must because they are getting all the dirt and debris from your face too and they can start harboring bacteria," explains dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD.

 

A hand holds a petri dish

 Dr. Andrew Summerfield, microbiologist and Regulatory Affairs Officer at BioCote said “We observed heavy contamination of the tested makeup brush primarily by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus.”   

 

And sadly, it’s not just bacteria you have to worry about. There could even be bugs. It’s true. "Under the microscope, you may see the remains of mites on your brushes," reveals Lynne Sanders, cosmetic scientist and founder of Cosmetics a La Carte.

What do dirty makeup brushes mean for you?

Still feeling unmotivated to give your grimy brushes a good cleaning? Here are just a few more reasons to consider:

  • Acne
  • Skin irritation and rash
  • Eye infection
  • Swelling and puff face
  • Clogged pores
  • Viral infections

So, the next time something unusual appears, it might not be from the coughing little boy in your daughter’s kindergarten class or that woman who sneezed near you in the subway. It could very well be coming straight from your own makeup bag.

How to really clean your makeup brushes

If swiping a dirty bacteria-infested brush all over your face sends you into a disgusted shiver, let us help you really clean your makeup brushes.

1. Remove makeup with soap or alcohol. First, you must remove all of the makeup from the brush. If washing with soap, we recommend a gentle baby shampoo. Wet the bristle with warm water and place a drop of liquid soap into the palm of your hand. Gently massage the bristles into your palm. Rinse well. Squeeze the excess moisture with a clean paper towel and reshape the brush head. If cleaning with alcohol, dip your brush bristles into a small cup of alcohol and rub any leftover product into a clean paper towel. Repeat until there is no more product on the brush.

2. Disinfect. To get those brushes really clean, consider purchasing a UV-C light disinfection device. The PhoneSoap 3 takes 10 minutes to eliminate 99.99% of germs* (see the results below). In fact, you can disinfect other cosmetic tools. Anything that will fit into these devices (check out our large capacity HomeSoap) can be disinfected—hairstyling tools, manicure tools, you name it!

     

    Petri dishes of makeup brushes

    *PhoneSoap 3 has been tested by an independent, third-party laboratory to be 99.99% effective against Salmonella, E. coli, MRSA, H1N1, Coronavirus 229E, Staphylococcus, Rhinovirus, Rotavirus. It has been tested on actual phones, Apple™ watch, headphones, credit cards, and keys. PhoneSoap 3 has also been tested to be 99.99% effective against Salmonella, H1N1, rotavirus, and rhinovirus using a modified ASTM E1153 and ASTM E1053-11 for efficacy of UV light on general hard non-porous surfaces such as glass, metals, and plastics. Real-world results may vary depending on size, shape, and material of phone or phone case.

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