How Often You Should Wash Your Makeup Brushes?

For the most part, you wash everything after you use it — socks, dishes, and yourself after a long day — because using it once is enough, which is why everyone's answer to the question, "How often should you wash your makeup brushes?" is likely wrong. Not only are you (probably) using dirty makeup brushes all of the time, but you're putting all of that dirtiness onto your face.

So when asked about the best way to clean makeup brushes, Elle's Senior Beauty & Fitness editor, Julie Schott actually made it clear that everyone needs to do better. And in order for that to happen, she provided three options for avoiding the gunk. I'm going to be honest with you, the first two are not realistic. Schott recommends that you either disinfect/wash your brushes daily, get new brushes and blenders daily, or give up on using them all together. As of now, I'm leaning toward the last option. What you should really be getting out of her list is how bad it is for your skin to use dirty brushes.

And according to her favorite dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, Schott is right. "Brushes that you use to apply powders touch your skin and can build up oil and bacteria between the bristles," Zeichner said. "As a general rule, if you use them daily, they should be cleaned more often. Also, brushes should be cleaned before they are used on someone else.​" And getting creative about how you clean them is always a plus.

But what if you're a regular person with too many things to do, and never enough time to do them all, especially not washing your brushes every single day? Well, there are someshortcuts. Makeup artist Allie Clark told BuzzFeed that while she quickly spritzes a brush cleaner on her personal tools every day, you only really need to give them a full-on baby shampoo bath every two weeks. OK, that seems more reasonable, right?

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Bobbi Brown, another makeup artist, is even more flexible with her cleaning guidelines: She told ELLE that only concealer and foundation brushes need to be washed weekly, while brushes used around the eyes can be cleaned bi-monthly. Any other brush, Brown said, only needs a washing once a month. Phew.

So no need to freak out if you're running too late to clean your brush some random Thursday, but if you're starting to notice more breakouts, it's probably time to give them a good scrub.