Asian woman applying makeup on cheeks

It goes without saying: if something is dirty, you clean it. However, people tend to be more relaxed with makeup brushes. You think, “Oh, it only touched my face, which is clean.” Or, “It’s just a little bit of blush, no biggie.” The truth? Cleaning your makeup tools — brushes, sponges, puffs — is a big deal. Find out why you should wash them regularly.

They Harbor Germs and Bacteria

A 2022 study by the Aventus Clinic in the UK found that makeup brushes harbored 4,364 yeast and bacteria colonies and were “dirtier than the average toilet seat.” Even using the tool once can transfer bacteria from your face, which will then multiply unless it’s washed. A dirty brush — even if it’s not yet toilet seat level — can cause infections and .

It Makes Application Easier (and Makeup Look Better)

Imagine using a clumpy mascara wand to apply product to your lashes. It just won’t look good. The same goes for using dirty makeup brushes to apply foundation or powder. Fresh makeup will mix with old makeup on your applicator. It compromises how the formulas look, feel, and stay on your skin. You also contaminate your palettes with bacteria in the process.

To Prevent Breakouts

Aside from bacteria, brushes can also harbor oils. Sebum from your face transfers onto the bristles with every use. Oil from makeup products (a primary ingredient, by the way) also tends to stick to the brush unless cleaned well. The mix of sebum, dead skin cells, product residue, and bacteria can clog your pores. Like , cleaning your brushes will help prevent breakouts from starting.

To Prolong Their Shelf Life

Regardless of how high-end or good in quality, makeup brushes do not last forever. Chemicals and oils can ruin the fibers of the applicator. can make them clump together. Most of these tools are investments you want to keep for a long time. Washing them regularly can help make them last longer.

Instead of a makeup brush cleaner, you can use mild shampoo like Baby Dove Rich Moisture Shampoo or a cleanser like POND'S Bright Miracle Ultimate Acne Control Facial Foam with lukewarm water to release any residue. Dry them on their side completely before use. Wipe down handles, palettes, mirrors, and other surfaces with wipes.

Keeping your makeup brushes clean preserves their integrity while protecting your skin from irritation, breakouts, and viral infections. Wash your most used brushes at least once a week to keep them bacteria-free.