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Organic Skin Science

What's in makeup brushes

Find Out What’s Really Living In Your Makeup Brushes…

If you are suffering from constant breakouts and/or other skin irritations, even eye infections then the cause might just be that one thing most of us happen to overlook.

Yep, I’m talking about your makeup brushes.

You try hard to take care of your skin, right… after all, it’s the one thing we have to face the world with every day! You might always take your makeup off, apply serums at night, and SPF during the day. You might even be neurotic about not picking a zit or touching your face (as this spreads bacteria)… which will simply make an already existing skin condition, like acne, even worse!

While doing all of the above should ensure a clean and clear skin (remember your healthy diet plays a huge role of course!) if you haven’t washed your makeup brushes for the past few weeks or even months, then all you are doing is cleaning your face only to spread bacteria all over it when you apply your daily makeup. *And apparently at least 72% of us don’t wash our brushes properly!

How bad are the bacteria in my makeup brushes really?

Makeup brushes accumulate a whole host of “nasties” including dust, bacteria and dirt, which naturally encourages the growth of further bacteria. It’s not just bacteria from product build-up that lingers in your brushes, other factors play a role too.

Natural oils from your skin, dirt or germs that may be on your hands as well as toxins or chemicals in the air – this means that you should not keep your brushes openly in the bathroom where there are germs (and other dangerous petroleum derivatives), but rather in your room or a cupboard. If you suffer from hormonal acne, for example, this bacteria will only aggravate your condition.

If you use your brushes to apply liquid foundation or other creams and gels, then these gels will cling to your bristles creating a sticky, wet environment. These are ideal conditions for bacteria and the bacteria will thrive.

Where’s the proof?

A single month *study on the build-up of bacteria on makeup brushes resulted in some scary findings. After one week there was a definite build-up of bacteria on the brushes, however, the results weren’t horrifying. In fact, the number of bacteria was comparable to the number of bacteria we usually come into contact with on surfaces on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the results weren’t so positive after the second week, as the bacteria had in fact doubled and after a month the bacteria had increased to such an extent that it could not even be measured. Now maybe those breakouts and skin irritations will make a little more sense!

So how often should I clean my brushes?

It is recommended that you wash your brushes at least once a week. You can leave it for 2 weeks, but definitely no longer than that! Brushes that only use loose powder can be washed less often than brushes that use creams, gels or liquids as wet, moist environments are perfect for bacteria growth.


How to clean your makeup brushes at home?

Cleaning your own makeup brushes is much easier than you think. There are various ways to do it, but here’s one of the simplest! Just as you use a face wash to cleanse your face from bacteria and dirt, so you can use it too for your makeup brushes.

Simply pour some of your favorite organic face wash into the palm of your hand and wet your makeup brush before swirling it in the face wash in your hand. Keep swirling it until is saturated in the face wash before rinsing with warm water. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear. Once completely rinsed, simply leave your brush somewhere to air dry and voila! You can also add a few drops of lemon juice or a teaspoon of baking powder to the face wash for an extra antibacterial boost if you wish.

*Simonian, A., 2013, The Identification of Bacteria Found on Makeup Brushes, Loyola Marymount University, California.

PS: We encourage you to shop around for the best makeup brushes, but if you’d prefer a 100% Vegan and Cruelty-Free choice, La Mav’s Kabuki Makeup Brush may be suited for you! 


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