How Often You Should Really Clean Your Makeup Brushes

When was the last time you cleaned your makeup brushes? Do you clean them regularly? You may have been taught not to use other people's lipsticks or mascara, but this is true for makeup brushes too. Your makeup brushes fill up with your foundation, concealer, eyeshadow, eyeliner, blush, and lipstick. But do you know what's in your makeup brushes that you can't see?

According to an October 2019 study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, researchers collected used, donated makeup products and beauty blenders and tested them for bacteria. They discovered that approximately 79% to 90% of those products and beauty blenders had bacteria, including E. coli and fungus. The researchers in this study want manufacturers to better display expiration dates for users and make it clear that contaminated makeup products and blenders can pose a health risk. 

Cosmopolitan says that your dirty makeup brushes not only make application difficult, but can also cause acne breakouts. According to Elle, they can also cause skin rashes — Yikes! Get those brushes and beauty blenders out, and let's get cleaning. 

How to clean your makeup brushes

The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends cleaning your makeup brushes roughly every 10 days. If you use them daily, you should set aside a day every week to clean your brushes. For example, on Saturday nights, you could block out some time for a routine cleaning.

Experts recommend using lukewarm water or clarifying shampoo to clean your makeup brushes. Start by rinsing the bristles — but just the tips. You can damage the glue that holds the bristles in place if you fully submerge them in water. Fill a bowl with lukewarm water and shampoo — baby shampoo works well — and swirl each brush's bristles in the mixture. Use the palm of your hand to create a lather. Rinse and repeat the cleaning process until the rinsing water runs clear. Use a paper towel to gently squeeze the excess water out. Use a hand towel to lay on the counter and lay your brushes on it with the bristles hanging over the side so they can dry properly. Avoid putting them in a cup to dry as the water will run inside the brushes ruining the glue. 

Makeup brushes can last for years when you clean them regularly, but Glamour recommends replacing your beauty blenders every three months. Generally speaking, you only need to replace your makeup brushes if you notice bristles falling out.