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  • Writer's pictureBright Eyes Family Vision

The Dirty Truth Behind Your Makeup Brushes

It’s Monday morning and you’re finally sitting down to do your skincare and makeup routine. You’ve washed your face, exfoliated, toned, and moisturized (at this point, you basically look like a beautiful angel), and now comes the time to define those brows, lashes, and lips. You pick up your makeup brushes, dip into your lid color, a pretty cream, and apply it, only to have it look…..dark brown? Oh no, you’ve forgotten again to clean your brushes this weekend.

Is it really a big deal though? All of your eye shadows are powders, bacteria couldn't possibly survive is such dry conditions. Wrong! Let's take a look at why you need to clean those brushes weekly.

  • If the brushes are dirty, so are your eyelids: You’ve just spent all that time and money making sure your face is clean for the day. Why ruin it with dirty brushes? If you’re using brushes that haven’t been cleaned, you’re transferring all the bacteria and germs back onto your freshly cleaned eyelids. For patients with blepharitis, this can be counterproductive to the lid scrubs and foams that we prescribe. Dry eye symptoms can also be aggravated by dirty makeup or makeup brushes.

  • Dirty brushes mean hard brushes: The skin around your eyes is extremely delicate. It is the thinnest skin on your body, and therefore is most prone to wrinkles. When your makeup brushes are dirty, the fibers get harder than they normally are due to all the caked on powders. Hard bristles mean more pulling of that thin skin, and more wrinkling over time. Your brushes could also cause microabrasions, leaving you susceptible to styes and other eyelid infections.

  • Risk of infections: Rubbing a germy brush on your eyelids is one of the quickest ways to contract an infection. Infections, like pink eye (conjunctivitis), need medical attention and sometimes drug therapy to get rid of. During your time with an infection, even if it's just a stye, we don’t recommend using your cosmetics or inserting your contact lenses. Washing your brushes in an antibacterial soap once a week will prevent those nasty germs from passing into your eyes and ruining your week.

  • Dirty brushes can infect your makeup too: Dipping a dirty brush into a brand new eyeshadow is one surefire way to transfer bacteria. Sanitizing makeup is a lot harder than washing your brushes, so skip that nonsense and clean your brushes first.

  • Blepharitis and dry eye flare ups: You wore makeup yesterday and now your eyes are feeling like the Sahara Desert. Contaminated brushes can cause diseases like dry eye to flare up. By making sure you’re cleaning your brushes properly and throwing away any expired makeup (mascara tubes, we’re looking at you), you can do your part to help control your dry eye problems. Check the back of your cosmetics to see the use by label, it looks like a jar with a number inside, to see how long to use a product. If it’s passed the date, throw it out and buy a fresh bottle or pallet.

Clean it Up!

Clean your brushes under a warm running tap with a mild antibacterial detergent. I like Dial antibacterial soap, Beauty Blender Cleanser (solid or liquid forms), and Johnson's baby shampoo. Invest in a small mat with raised sections to really scrub the dirt and grime from those brushes. When you’ve rinsed them, make sure to lay them on a clean towel to dry, or check out one of the inverted brush holders that are on the market. Remember, a clean brush is a happy brush!

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