The Beauty Tools You Probably Aren't Cleaning

by Jessica Willingham

We all know makeup can be dirty business. Bacteria, dirt, and grime can linger in our beauty products and tools, causing breakouts and irritation. Still, cleaning makeup brushes regularly is low on most priority lists. According to one survey, only 61 percent of women are cleaning their makeup brushes once a month, if at all.

A recent online survey conducted by Harris Poll (on behalf of Anisa International, a global leader in the design and creation of unique beauty tools and solutions) found that women are sort of cleaning their makeup brushes, but they are definitely not doing it as much as they need to.

“Interestingly, 65 percent of women who clean their brushes do so to avoid bacteria, breakouts and blemishes. They understand the consequences, but they still don’t clean them as often as beauty experts recommend,” said Anisa Telwar-Kaicker, founder and CEO of Anisa International. “We suggest cleaning cosmetic tools a minimum of once a month, but twice a month would be best.”

According to the survey, 31 percent of millennials don't know how to clean their makeup brushes properly, but although we are too lazy to clean our brushes, we are using more makeup tools than ever before. From eyelash tweezers to contour brushes, cleaning our nifty beauty gadgets has never been more important, because they've never been more used.

“Today’s consumers are spending a significant amount on cosmetic brushes in order to achieve desired makeup looks, but they’re not protecting their investment or their skin by properly caring for these tools,” said Telwar-Kaicker. “This survey indicates that there’s a need for beauty brands to educate consumers about the importance of cleaning, the proper techniques, and the revolutionary new products available that minimize the amount of time it takes.”

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While all of this may sound scary, cleaning your brushes is easier than you think. Here's a step-by-step guide for disinfecting your favorite beauty tools.

1. Choose a soap

While there are makeup brush-specific cleansers on the market, any gentle soap will work. Dawn, baby shampoo, or even shampoo will suffice in cleaning and disinfecting your brushes.

2. Prep a bowl of lukewarm water

You'll need a bowl of lukewarm water to begin. Squirt a couple drops of your chosen soap into the water, and begin swirling your brush heads in the soapy mixture. You can swirl the wet brush head on the palm of your hand to work up a lather.

3. Begin rinsing

Run your soapy brush head under the faucet, using only lukewarm water. Work your fingers over the brush head, massaging out the excess makeup and foundation until the water runs clear.

4. Reshape

Gently reshape the wet bristles. Forgetting this step may result in a funky, non-functioning brush shape.

5. Let dry

It's important you lay your clean brushes on a flat surface, like on a towel on your counter top, to dry. This will result in the fastest dry time without damaging your tools.