You clean your clothes to remove dirt and grime. You wash your dishes to get rid of leftover food. You wash things to protect you from bacteria and germs.

Everything you wear and every tool you use should be cleaned after use to ensure that no harmful pathogens are passed on to the next user. This behavior stems from us wanting to protect others as well as ourselves. However, many people do not take the same care when it comes to items that only they use.

Makeup brushes are a great example of this. Many women do not think of washing these because it is only their face that touches the tools. This is very dangerous logic because these tools can collect a great deal of bacteria as makeup accumulates.

Just as you would wash a glass before letting your guests drink from it, you should clean your makeup brushes between uses too. Even if they are only for your face, there are practical and health dangers to using dirty makeup brushes.

1. Bacterial growth

The average day of a makeup brush involves moving from makeup bag to beauty product to face and sometimes to bathroom counter before being sent to one of its previous locations again. Through contact with these many surfaces, they are exposed to bacteria and germs.

Studies have found that after a month, an uncleaned makeup brush held more bacteria than could even be measured. Given the exposure of these brushes to your face, you want to make sure you are washing them at least once a week. You may even consider spot cleaning them between daily uses.

2. Damaged brushes

As makeup accumulates, it gets heavy and can damage the fibers, and as they weaken you end up with broken bristles. Once the bristles start to break, you get uneven application and your makeup ends up looking very sloppy.

3. Uneven makeup

When you used to use sponges from the drugstore to apply your makeup, you could tell when it was time to throw them out. Brushes last longer, so we tend not to realize when they are damaged.

These brushes are your best friend because they apply makeup so much better than those cheap sponges, but you need to take care of them. Over the course of the week, your brushes collect makeup, which gets added to the fresh makeup you apply each day.

What you end up with is spotty application. The bristles are clogged, and you cannot effectively blend, which ultimately makes you look messy, and older.

4. Irritated skin

The constant damage causes your once-soft makeup brushes to harden and even change shape. Continuing to use these tools can irritate you skin, causing rashes and redness. You end up needing to cover this with more makeup, but you still have the same brush, so all you get is more redness.

5. Clogged pores

Clogged bristles can lead to clogged pores. Using a dirty brush and putting it back into your products repeatedly is a dirty and vicious cycle. The dirty tools deliver bacteria to your beauty products and even if you clean the brushes, the bacteria have already found a new home.

When you go to use that favorite powder again, the bacteria go right back to your face. You may notice increased acne or blemishes when using tools that are not regularly cleaned.

6. Pinkeye

Conjunctivitis is primarily caused by the sharing of beauty products and tools. You can never be entirely sure how clean another person’s brushes, sponges, or products are. Always play it safe: use your own tools, and be sure to clean them regularly.

7. Missing lashes

To make sure you always get curled, fluttery lashes, you need to keep your eyelash curler cleaned. When it is caked in old mascara, you end up depositing old mascara onto your lashes, creating a clumpy look.

Sometimes, your lashes even get pulled out because they stick to the caked-on mascara glue that is accumulated on the curler. These tools are easy to clean; simply soak in warm water and wipe all the gunk away with a cloth.

8. Wrinkles

When your skin is continually exposed to bacteria, it becomes stressed. Overly stressed skin will show signs of aging quickly because the collagen and elastin are broken down at a faster rate. Your plump, bright skin is replaced with premature wrinkles and a dull appearance.

To maintain your youthful appearance, keep your brushes and other makeup tools clean.

9. Staph infection

Germs that cause you to breakout are bad enough, but dangerous bacteria that can impact your health are far worse. Bacteria, such as E. coli and Staphylococcus, can make you very ill and can be life-threatening. (1, 2)

Most people will shake this off as a very unlikely occurrence, but the truth is that women have ended up seriously ill because of using a bacteria-infested makeup brush.

10. Wasted money

Your makeup brush set is a big deal and you likely put some money into it. Trading up from those cheap sponges was something to be proud of. As with anything that costs money, you should value it, and take care of it. After all, they are investments.

If the thought of extra pimples, deadly bacteria, and missing eyelashes isn’t enough for you, then maybe an empty wallet is. Having to get rid of dirty or damaged brushes is like throwing money away, because all you had to do was clean them. They last longer when cleaned regularly, and you get value out of the investment you made.

Final Thoughts

Looking good matters to most of us, and for women this usually involves makeup. Makeup is not cheap, so to get the value for your money, take care of your investment. Keep your brushes and tools clean, and do not share with your friends.

Bacteria are everywhere, and you cannot void them. But, you certainly do not have to give them the upper hand. Clean makeup tools keep you healthy and looking your best. Daily spot cleaning doesn’t look like such a chore now, does it?

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