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Cleaning Makeup Sponges Brushes

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Most makeup artists recommend cleaning brushes and sponges at least once a week, but if they are used every day is better to wash them after each use to prevent breakouts or contamination of your natural or synthetic brushes.

A 2016 study, focused on beauty products in salons used by multiple consumers, found that a harrowing 100 percent of the skin and eye products were contaminated with bacteria. Fungus or yeast was also found in 19 percent of the makeup brushes used. The takeaway It's crucial to know how to clean makeup brushes, how often to do so, and when it's time to just throw them the heck out.

We paint, contour, and highlight our faces with makeup brushes every day, but we can't always say the same thing about how frequently we're cleaning our most-used brushes. Giving them a thorough washing every month or so is not enough. According to dermatologists and makeup artists, we should be sudsing up our tools far more often in order to prevent bacteria buildup, which can lead to breakouts.

"At least a few times a year I'm able to track down a new breakout to a patient's old makeup. But there is always the question of how much the makeup brush may have had to do with the problem," says Loretta Ciraldo, M.D., a Miami-based board-certified dermatologist. "When that makeup gets old it may start to harbor bacteria, and the bacteria can overgrow on the surface of the makeup brushes which don't have any antibacterial or antifungal protection. In fact, we know that makeup brushes do grow bacteria and fungus but we don't know how common this is in our own home [if] we're watching them regularly."

There's no one answer for when exactly you must clean makeup brushes, but makeup artists and dermatologists generally agree that the answer is: Often. "I recommend washing makeup brushes at least every two weeks or more if you start to see that there is any makeup visible on the brush," says Dr. Ciraldo.Legendary makeup artist Bobbi Brown is even more conservative, choosing to wash her brushes once per week. Because these brushes are used on your face, the cleaner they are the better, she says. She's a little more lenient with eye shadow and liner brushes, however. "Brushes that are used around the eyes should be cleaned at least twice a month," she says.

Houston-based makeup artist Kat Sketch, who has more than 200 brushes she can rotate through, washes them about every two weeks. But if you don't have a full makeup artist's kit at your disposal, she'd prefer you wash even more often. "I would suggest most people wash their brushes every week," she says. "Makeup brushes can build bacteria very fast, especially ones used around your eye."

Frequent cleansings don't just help keep your skin cleaner. According to makeup artist Ashleigh Ciucci, soaping up your makeup brushes regularly can extend the life of the bristles and make for better product application. "Brush hairs and sponges are porous, so they hold onto oils, debris, and bacteria," she says. "If your brushes are dirty, your application will be spotty and blending will be difficult."

There are dozens of cleansers made specifically for cleaning brushes, but makeup artist Benjamin Puckey is an especially big fan of Parian Spirit Professional Makeup Brush Cleaner, which is made from food-grade solvents to gently dissolve powder-, liquid-, and wax-based makeup. If you'd prefer not to buy a cleanser specifically for your brushes, though, your favorite face wash may be all you need. Kim Kardashian's go-to makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic famously uses Philosophy Purity Made Simple facial cleanser because, he says that if it does such a thorough yet gentle job on your face, it will do the same for your brushes.

For Sketch, dense and especially dirty brushes require heartier fare; she's a fan of Cinema Secrets Makeup Brush Cleanser. "This one specifically cleans, disinfects, and leaves your makeup brush dry in one to two minutes flat," she says.

And some dishwashing liquids are good fo


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