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According to a Beauty in the Bag poll conducted earlier this year, 70% of us aren’t washing our makeup brushes as often as we should—and here’s how often we actually do it…
- Once a week: 30%
- Every 3 months: 27%
- Every 3-6 months: 20%
- Never: 23%
This is disturbing, considering we’ve all be told that washing our makeup brushes regularly is as important as washing our faces each night going to bed. The purported reasoning behind this cosmetic edict is that dirty makeup brushes are a breeding ground for bacteria, but this isn’t actually the case, according to board-certified dermatologist Lisa Donofrio, MD of New Haven, Connecticut.
“I’ve been a practicing dermatologist for 22 years and I never seen a rash, eye infection or anything else that I can attribute to a dirty makeup brush, even as a long shot. When the skin barrier is intact, you could rub dirt on your face and it won’t be a problem. Our hands are dirtier than any makeup brush ever could be, and there are more bacteria living on the skin’s surface that on any inanimate object, including a makeup brush,” she explains.
This information is certainly enlightening, as far as our skin is concerned, but we wanted to give a makeup artist the opportunity to chime in, so we spoke to Ramy Gafni, founder of Ramy Beauty Therapy for his take. “Dirty brushes can wreak havoc on makeup application. For example, if you use one shade of blush today and another shade tomorrow, you won’t get the true color as the shades will mix,” he says. That’s reason enough for us.
So how often should you really be cleaning your brushes? According to Gafni, “The correct answer is after every use, but if you’re not sharing them with other people, it’s fine to clean them once a week.” At least we weren’t too far off on that one, right?
Naturally the next question is how to clean our brushes, and Gafni says “Anything that cleanses and disinfects will work,” whether you choose baby shampoo, rubbing alcohol, makeup remover or a facial cleanser. We’re partial to Cinema Secrets Pro Makeup Brush Cleaner (starting at $8) because it kills 99% of bacteria, removes product residue and prolongs the life of both natural and synthetic brushes without the need to rinse.
For those of us who prefer to go the soap-and-water route, a textured silicone mat ensures deeper cleansing that our hands alone can’t match. The Palmat by Practk ($9.95) is a great inexpensive option that features different textures for small and large brushes, and you can wear it on your hand or secure to your sink.
When you cleanse your brushes with water, allowing your brushes to dry properly is part of the process. Gafni emphasizes, “Never stand your brushes upright to dry. If you do, moisture can run down the ferrule (the metal part that holds the bristles together), loosen the glue and cause the head to fall off the handle. Always lay your brushes flat on a towel to let them air-dry.”
Another drying option is a specially designed rack like Sigma Beauty’s Dry’n Shape Tower—Face and Eyes ($49). Large enough to hold up to 24 eye brushes and 20 face brushes, this stand helps your brushes dry faster and restores their shape.
So there you have it… When will you be washing your makeup brushes next?
*NOTE: The Practk Palmat was provided for review. Opinions are my own.