The Dirty Truth of Makeup Brush Bacteria

The Dirty Truth of Makeup Brush Bacteria

Regardless of how extensive or minimal your makeup routine is, taking proper care of your brushes is essential to cleaner and healthier skin. Due to popular demand, I’ve compiled a list of questions asked by clients over the years and a how-to guide for your favourite tools.
First, let’s look at the most fundamental question:

“Why is it important to clean my makeup brushes?”

It’s simple. When you don’t clean your makeup brushes, they accumulate dirt, dust and bacteria. Swiping a dirt and bacteria-infested brush all over your face leads to clogged pores, breakouts, skin irritation and viral infections.
If that doesn’t scare you, there was a video that went viral in 2015. A UK beauty professional discovered that her Beauty Blender was infested with bugs. 
Fact: Cleaning your makeup brushes regularly will result in clearer skin.

“I just spent $60 on a contour brush and my makeup is still muddy. Why?”

Have you ever wondered why your foundation wasn’t blending properly? Part of it is because your dirty makeup brush was preventing you from doing so. Old makeup residue will cause your application to become streaky. And what about your eyeshadow looking muddy? Think about it — you’re going for a “no-makeup” makeup look today and you’re picking up the same brush you used for last night’s party. That sounds like a recipe for disaster.
Fact: A properly cleaned makeup brush will result in a smoother, seamless application.

“What is the best way to clean makeup brushes?”

Let’s talk about two things: deep cleansing your makeup brushes regularly and cleaning your makeup brushes in between applications.
Before you start cleaning your brushes, you need to understand the difference between natural hair and synthetic hair. Brushes with natural hair should be treated with extra care, so be very gentle when cleaning these. The synthetic brushes are not as expensive and can be replaced more frequently.
For my deep cleanse: I dispense a dime-sized amount of regular shampoo into the palm of my hand, gently massage the tips of the bristles and run them under warm water. Holding the bristles face down is important as it helps prevent water from seeping into the glue of the handle. Lastly, I squeeze out the excess moisture with a clean towel and let the brushes dry with its bristles hanging over the edge. Sometimes I like to condition them too.
If you’re changing colour in between, you don’t really have to do a deep cleanse. For example — if you used a bright red and you want to switch to a nude, you can spray the brush with brush cleanser (or alcohol for synthetic brushes). Personally, I use a combination of Cinema Secrets Brush Cleanser or 99% alcohol when I am on set or working in the studio.
Fact: Improper cleaning can damage your brushes and cause the bristles to shed.

“How often should I replace my brushes?”

There is no exact timeline to replace your makeup brushes, but if they are losing their shape and the bristles are falling out — it may be time to buy some new ones.
Fact: It is possible for your brushes to last you for many years, as long as you properly clean them well and regularly.