We’ve all been there before. We’re putting foundation on in the morning and suddenly think to ourselves, “When was the last time I cleaned this brush?” or even scarier, “This brush is how old?!” Though cleaning and replacing makeup brushes can be a hassle, it’s a very important step in promoting healthy skin and maintaining the effectiveness of our skincare products.
Makeup brushes that haven’t been cleaned in a while, old mascara, crusty eyeliner, and expired products often contain loads of bacteria, fungi, and other contaminants that can have detrimental effects on our skin. These dirty applicators can cause acne, skin irritations, clogged pores, eye infections, and even viruses that can lead to more serious illnesses like the flu.
So, what can you do to prevent irritating your skin, or worse?
1. Clean your brushes!
Most companies recommend cleaning foundation or moisturizer brushes every day. Bacteria love to live in moist places, so these kinds of brushes collect harmful contaminants more easily. Powder brushes can be cleaned less often -- once a week or bi-weekly at most. You can clean your brushes with homemade remedies or purchase brush cleaner from almost any cosmetics company. Some people swear by a mixture of dish soap and olive oil, while other people like to use fragrance-free shampoo or gentle hand soaps. If you are looking for a more professional product, check out Elf’s Daily Brush Cleaner Spray or the Well-Cared For Makeup Brush Cleaner from BareMinerals. On the go? Try this Waterless Sponge and Brush Cleansing Spray that you can travel with!
2. Replace your products!
You will most likely be able to tell when it’s time to kiss your makeup brushes goodbye, but the general rule is every 3-6 months. If you notice that your brushes aren’t returning to their original shape, your foundation is coming out streaky on your skin, or if the brush smells a little funky, just trash it. This set of 12 brushes from Elf is a great bang for your buck along with this Blend Sponge from Thrive Causemetics. When it comes to mascara, it is recommended that you replace your product every 3 months. Eye pencils can last slightly longer; up to a year. The reason for replacing these products more frequently is because they come into direct contact with your eyes. Make sure you aren’t increasing your risk of eye infections or transmission of bacteria by replacing these products often.
3. Never share products!
This is a no-brainer, but sharing makeup brushes and other skincare products is a big No-No. Everyone’s face is different. There are natural oils, chemicals, and (good) bacteria that live on our skin. Sharing makeup brushes can lead to cross-contamination, acne flare-up, and the spread of germs, fungi, bad bacteria, and more. If you absolutely must share a brush with someone, clean it with alcohol first to ensure the least amount of contamination possible.
Do your skin a favor this month and invest in quality cleaning products and new makeup brushes. Your face will thank you for it and you will likely notice a new “glow” you haven’t seen in a while!
Maggie Blehar is a Philadelphia based writer/educator with a Bachelor’s in English and a Master’s in Education. She has been plant-based since 2011 and is always in search of ethical companies to support. She loves traveling, walking her dog, painting, meditation, working for social justice, digging deeper into her zodiac sign, and exploring the Philly vegan scene with friends. Some of her favorite organizations are: Don’t Eat the Homies, Farm Sanctuary, CHNGE, Gentle Barn, and the Equal Justice Initiative. You can find out more about her at www.maggieblehar.com.