Makeup brushes can harbour all kinds of bacteria, including dangerous E. coli. They can transfer common germs from one part of the skin to another as well as from products. That is why it is important to regularly clean brushes and to never let anyone else use them.
Applying cosmetics with a brush will give you a more blended and precise finish than using the fingers or a sponge. If you are aiming for flawless, always use a brush. However, to prevent breakouts – and even illness – hygiene should play an important role in your routine. Cleaning is pivotal but so too is choosing the correct storage. For example, brushes should never be left out uncovered in a bathroom. Keep them in a dust-free, cool environment.
Common nasties found on makeup brushes include:
- E. coli
As well as causing spots, bacteria on a makeup brush can result in dermatitis, eye infections and potentially illnesses.
How Often Should You Clean Makeup Brushes?
There are lots of beauty experts who recommend washing your brushes monthly. However, if you regularly wear makeup, we strongly suggest you clean them weekly. You should also, where possible, avoid using the same brush for different products. As well as posing a risk of cross-contamination, how often have you applied eyeshadow only to find the brush was still loaded with a colour you used previously? We’ve been there!
After washing a brush, you should allow it dry thoroughly before using. Because drying times can put people off cleaning brushes, we have been taking a look at innovative and inexpensive solutions. Brush cleaners are now widely available. As well as deep cleaning your brushes, they dry them too – and in a matter of a minute or two.
Prices range from around £12 upwards. But you won’t need to buy any special type of cleaning solution. Simply use an antibacterial washing up liquid or a shampoo.
Review: A AP Accessories’ Makeup Brush Cleaner
We purchased this product while it was on offer for £13.49. It normally retails at £13.99. Sold in an attractive box, it was delivered the next day. As well as including all the tools you need to keep your makeup brushes hygienically clean, the set includes three free beauty blenders.
The kit consists of a washing bowl and rim lid, cleaner device, a variety of different-sized collars that your brush handles fit into, spindles that connect the collars to the cleaner, a storage bag for the cleaner, and an attractive display stand. A manual written in clear English is also in the box.
To operate the cleaner, we needed two AAA batteries (not supplied).
In order to put the tool properly through its paces, we cleaned two complete sets of brushes. Before using, we half-filled the bowl with warm, soapy water – changing it after each brush wash. The manufacturer warms against using very hot or boiling water because the bowl is made from plastic.
The eight collars ensured there was a good fit for brushes of all sizes. We simply pushed a brush handle into a snug fitting collar, attached the spindle and clicked it into the cleaner. An easy touch button started the cleaning process. We followed the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and drying. It is important to ensure the spindle is properly pushed into the cleaner or the brushes will not rotate properly.
The brushes came out scrupulously clean. On the product box, it states a drying time of 10 seconds. We found it took longer than that – anything between 30 seconds and a minute, depending on the size of the brush. However, that is still super quick.
For a really clogged up brush that has been used for foundation or concealer, you may want to repeat the wash process with clean water before drying. We estimate it took us around a minute to one minute and 20 seconds to clean each brush.
It was a satisfying task, not unenjoyable. Afterwards, we put the brushes away in a makeup storage box. Job done!