*this post has been extensively updated on 15-June-2020
Having clear skin starts with hygiene and one of the biggest makeup rookie mistakes would be not washing your makeup brushes and blenders. Can you imagine how much product buildup is stuck in your brushes? All the foundation, concealer, powders… everything. This includes oils, bacteria and dust that are swirling around the room as you glam up with your makeup.
Why you should clean your makeup brushes
A research done by dermatologists found out that unwashed brushes and makeup sponges can culture bacteria within your make up tools. The bad combination of product build-up and bacteria cultures within these tools can ultimately lead to breakouts and, even more seriously, skin and eye infections and disease.
There is such a thing as the skin’s microbiome. Every part of our body has its own set of microorganisms that live within a community of its own. The skin, in particular, has its own microbiome and it can be quite tricky since the skin is actually exposed.
A lot of things can affect the balance of the skin microbiome. A small change or contamination can produce a reaction as the balance is disturbed. One effect of this is acne. If there is too much bacterial contamination on the skin, it will be hard for the skin’s natural protective barriers to manage this change and then you get an infection in the form of a pimple.
But it can even be more serious than just a pimple. Some people have actually suffered from serious eye infections and skin bacterial infections. You may want to look great by applying makeup but bad makeup hygiene can lead you directly to the emergency room.
If that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will.
When should you clean your makeup tools?
The dermatologists advise everyone to clean their makeup tools and brushes at least once a week to lower the risk of contamination and prevent face acne and other infections. It's true that the frequency also depends on where you store your tools and frequently you use them, but to stay on the safe side, stick to cleaning your tools once a week and increase the frequency if necessary from there. Cleaning is important to and it’s not just to make your make stash look pretty. It can actually be a serious threat to your health if not cleaned well or not often enough..
Steps to clean makeup tools
Want to get started on your makeup cleaning routine? Here’s how you can do it:
Cleaning routine for brushes:
- Get yourself a clean towel, some warm water, and a gentle soap or brush cleaner.
- Wet the tip of your brush bristles with warm water.
- Put a dollop of soap or brush cleanser on your palm. Amount of cleanser should depend on the size of the brush.
- Massage the tip of the brush bristles in circular motions.
- Rinse the brush under warm water until water runs clear.
- Gently squeeze out the water with a clean towel. Make sure there are no traces of product residue left on your tool.
- Adjust your brush bristles to its original form. Dry your brushes hanging or off a counter to keep its shape and ensure complete dryness
Cleaning routine for sponges and blenders:
- You will need a clean towel, a cup or bowl, some warm water, and a gentle liquid soap or brush cleaner as well.
- Soak the sponge or blender in a container of warm water mixed with some gentle liquid soap or brush cleaner.
- After a few minutes, massage the sponge or blender several times in the water.
- Rinse the sponge or blender under running water until water runs clear.
- Gently squeeze out the water with a clean towel making sure there is no product residue left in the sponge or blender.
- Lay your sponges and blenders on a dry towel so that the moisture can transfer to the towel as the makeup tools dry up.
Tools that can help with your makeup cleanup
As people are slowly becoming more aware of the importance of cleaning makeup tools, there are now products available to help you with your cleaning regimen. We recommend the following two:
- Silicone Makeup Brush Cleaner
There are now silicone gloves and eggs to help you get a deeper cleanse. These tools come with a textured surface to get in between the grains and bristles of your makeup tools as you soap them clean.
- Brush Drying Stand
Drying out the moisture from your tools is actually a very important step in the washing process. Leaving some moisture on your brushes or inside your blenders and sponges can promote bacterial growth even further. So, there are now several versions of brush drying stands to help you keep your brushes in good shape and bacteria-free.
When to say goodbye to your makeup tools:
Aside from keeping your makeup tools free from germs and bacteria, cleaning your makeup tools actually help make them last longer! However, nothing lasts forever, as they say. Once your makeup brushes start to lose their shape, shed, and/or fray, it’s time to let them go.
As for beauty blenders and sponges, most can last up to a few months but once you see them losing their shape and getting tares, it’s best to replace them then.
It may sound like a lot of work to have to clean your makeup tools once a week but think about how this affects your beauty routine:
- One, working with nice, clean tools makes application more fun and easy. That’s the very reason why you spent money on these tools anyway.
- Two, the effort is so much worth the health benefits. You may be spending some time maintaining your makeup tools but compare it to the time you may be spending at the dermatologist’s office or maybe even at the hospital. Plus, makeup related health emergencies will even make you spend hard earned money for something that you could have actually prevented from happening.
- Three, you’re saving yourself a lot of money by extending the life of your makeup brushes and blenders!
See? Isn’t that worth the weekly routine? Now, go wash your brushes, beauties!