How to Keep Makeup Clean


We blend, bronze and add beautiful designs our faces with makeup every day. Something we may not think about as we are working on our makeup art is how gross our products and tools can be. The applicators and brushes we use touch our faces collecting oil, dust, and grime. Did you know that bacteria doubles every 20-30 minutes!? We definitely don't want that on our face. We all know how important it is to clean our faces each night so the question now becomes how often are we actually supposed to clean our makeup?

How often should I clean my brushes?

Most dermatologists will suggest for you to soak your tools at least once a week to prevent any grime buildup, especially if they’re used with creamy products.

Brushes for dry products (such as shadows and powders) need to be cleaned at least twice a month.

Brushes that you don't use as often should be washed at least once a month.

All of these time frames are the maximum time frame you should go between washes. Ideally, makeup brushes should be cleaned and sanitized after every use.

Cleaning your brushes regularly can actually extend the life of them and make for a better makeup application. Natural brush hairs are porous and hold onto the product it touches and bacteria it creates. Using dirty brushes can make your application spotty because it'll have an uneven amount of product buildup in different areas.

How do I clean my brushes?

When washing your brushes there is actually a very simple method.

  • You will want to begin by giving it a good rinse with lukewarm water.
  • Wet the bristles with the water and place the soap in the palm of your hand.
  • Rub the tips of the brushes and your palm.
  • Softly rub the bristles in your palm of your hand in the same direction that they come out of the brush.
  • Make sure to repeat this until the water runs clear., Squeeze out the moisture with a clean towel then lay the brush flat to dry.

Never let your brushes dry on a towel, this can produce mildew. Bacteria also thrives in moisture. Let the brush dry with the head hanging off the edge of a box or counter.

Make sure to clean your brushes in the same direction the bristles come out of the brush to prolong their life. For example, if the bristles are compact and come straight out of the brush, we'd recommend avoiding to clean your brushes with a “swirling motion”. It'll break down the integrity of the brush sooner than it needs to be replaced.

The cleaning solution you use will be different depending on if the bristles of your brush are natural or synthetic. If they are synthetic, you can get away with using most cleansing agents including soap. Synthetic fibers don't dry out like natural hair. If you have natural bristle brushes, we'd suggest getting a brush cleaner made specifically for them.

Can I clean my powders?

Yes, you can! Powders typically get overlooked cleaning wise in the makeup department. They don't get as much of a buildup of bacteria because they are dry but that being said, it can't hurt to clean them every so often.

Obviously, you cannot wipe a powder with wet disinfectant wipes. Instead, you can pour some antiseptic alcohol into a spray bottle and spray it onto the pressed powder to disinfect them. I would not recommend doing this every day. Over time it will dampen the product too much and damage it. If you’re an MUA, we still suggest cleaning it after every application or shoot just for sanitary reasons. If it's your personal makeup though you could get away with cleaning your powder once every two weeks.

Yes, even your makeup bag

Cleaning your makeup bag is also often overlooked! No, it doesn’t touch your face, but it holds all of the applicators that you use for your face. Luckily the task is very simple. All it takes is flipping the bag inside out, and wiping the entire surface with a disinfectant wipe (or throwing it in the washing machine if it can sustain that). If you find that some of the makeup has stained your bag, try using a gentle soap to clean it. Some makeup bags are more delicate than others so there is a possibility of a damaging the fabric of your bag if it isn't cleaned properly.

What about the products I can’t clean?

It’s a safe practice to replace products that can't be cleaned every 3-6 months. It is not worth risking a possible infection just to keep that mascara for a couple more months. Mascara is actually impossible to clean because the germs still get into the product after each use so cleaning the wand is not worth your time or effort.

Keep in mind disposable products, like blending sponges, are just that; disposable. Trying to reuse these products can cause unwanted breakouts or styes.

Expiration dates

Cosmetics trap bacteria every time they are used. Replacing them is necessary to avoid skin breakouts, eye infections, etc. Different products have different life spans, powders last a lot longer than liquids or creams.

Start counting it's “life span” from the moment you open it. We recommend that anything liquid or creamy is replaced within 6 months to a year. 3-6 months for things like mascara because the bacteria from your eyes and body go back into the product. A year for products like foundation where the bacteria doesn't come in contact with the product because you squirt product out as you need it.

We don't recommend using any products after the expiry date. The use-by-date is typically posted on the product, but if unsure always look up that product specifically. This date is put there for a reason and is not something to overlook. Even dry products (such as shadows and powders) need to be replaced. They do have a longer shelf life and vary from product to product so follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Help your skin defend itself against blemishes by keeping your makeup clean! Make sure to leave any comments or questions below or ask us directly at @dollareyelashclub. Stay tuned for new blogs every week, and remember: live, lash, and love.

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