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We use them, toss them back in our bags and maybe don’t think about them quite enough. But the American Academy of Dermatology is sounding the alarm that dirty makeup brushes can harbor everything from oil, which isn’t surprising, to E. coli, which might be. That means that if they are not cleaned regularly and properly, those brushes can cause skin breakouts and even conditions as serious as staph infections.

Keeping those brushes clean and safe means washing them every 7 – 10 days, according to the AAD and board-certified dermatologist Annie Chiu. But in order to make them last longer, there is a right way to keep them clean. Otherwise, loose bristles abound. 

The AAD also recommends not sharing makeup brushes with anyone else, which can spread infection, and seeing a dermatologist if you are experiencing breakouts. 

Follow these steps to clean your makeup brushes: 

·      Rinse the tips of your brushes under lukewarm, running water to remove residual makeup. Only rinse the tip, as submerging the whole brush head will eventually dissolve the glue that connects the brush head to the handle. 

·      Fill a bowl with lukewarm water and a tablespoon of either gentle/baby shampoo or clarifying shampoo. Using plain soap and water can dry out the bristles.

·      Swirl each brush tip in the bowl. For a good lather, you can also massage each brush tip in the palm of your hand.

·      Rinse the brush tips under running water.

·      Continue shampooing and rinsing each brush until the water runs clear from the brush.

·      Squeeze out excess moisture with a clean, dry paper towel. 

·      Lay your brushes flat to dry on a towel with the tips hanging off the edge of the counter. Do not dry your brushes upright in a container, as this will cause the water to run down the brushes, loosening the glue that connects the brush head with the handle. 

(Source: American Academy of Dermatology, https://www.aad.org) 

See these steps in action on the AAD’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmnfGPw3cV8.

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