Prevent Breakouts by Keeping Your Makeup Tools Clean

By: Heidi Nicole

July 06, 2021

Women having fun using makeup brushes

Did you know that your makeup brushes are likely full of built-up dirt and bacteria? Using dirty makeup tools can lead to irritation, breakouts and even infections. The good news? It's completely preventable.

An expert explains

For anyone who regularly wears makeup, brushes are great tools for powdering, contouring and finishing touches. Unfortunately, these same brushes also harbor harmful bacteria that can clog pores and cause unwanted breakouts.

“Brush hairs and sponges are porous, and hold on to oils, debris and bacteria,” says Heidi Nicole, medical esthetician with Renown Dermatology, Laser & Skin Care. “Also, if they are dirty, the application of makeup can be spotty and make blending more difficult."

Most dermatologists suggest that you clean your makeup brushes at least once a week. Because they are used on your face, it makes sense to keep them as a clean as possible. In addition, your brushes will last longer if you stay on top of cleaning them.

Six simple steps to integrate makeup brush care into your beauty routine:

  1. Wet your brush with lukewarm water. (Don’t soak your brushes, as water in the brush barrel can cause the hairs to fall out.)
  2. Place a drop of gentle cleanser or specialized brush cleaner in the palm of your hand.
  3. Gently massage the tips of the bristles on your palm.
  4. Rinse the bristles well.
  5. Blot with a clean towel and reshape the head. Let the bristles dry over the edge of a counter. Do not allow the bristles to dry on the towel, which could cause the brush to mildew.
  6. Store your brushes in a clean, dry place in between uses.
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