Err... We’ve Got Some Gross News About Your Makeup Bag

When you’re rushing to get ready in the morning, cleaning your make-up brushes is probably the last thing on your mind between trying to organised, getting a coffee and getting out of the door. And if that’s you, then don’t feel bad; apparently only 40% of us clean our brushes every two weeks, with 20% saying they only do it every one to three months.

But you might want to consider giving your brushes a proper Kim Woodburn-style deep clean now, after research undertaken bySpectrum Collections, revealed how dirty our make-up brush storage areas really are.

Their team used two sets of foundation brushes for the experiment, cleaned and uncleaned, with swabs taken at the end of the two weeks.

Looking at five different areas, including a make-up brush holder in the bedroom, a make-up bag, brush bag, a brush drawer and a holder in the bathroom, the study revealed the unclean make-up brushes contained either the same or more bacteria than – wait for it - a toilet seat. *Insert Scottish mum shouting ‘Dis-gus-tang!’ here*

The results from the samples revealed the unclean make-up brushes contained potential traces of E.Coli, yeast and mould, which can lead to fungal infections and other health problems.

Discussing why it’s so important to keep on top of cleaning our make-up brushes, cosmetic scientist Carly Musleh shares about the impact these dirty make-up tools can have on our skin: “Many of us use make-up brushes daily to apply a variety of different products but often leave them weeks or months before they are cleaned.

“Studies have shown the average make-up brush can contain dead skin cells, oil and bacteria, which can be transferred between the product and the face. Additionally, where, and how we store them could add further implications.”

She adds: “Not all bacteria are harmful, the human skin microbiome contains many different types of microbes, which can help maintain a healthy skin barrier and protect us from pathogenic microbes that cause infections.”

What kind of issues could be caused by using dirty brushes?

“It could cause an imbalance to the healthy microbial community and lead to an increase in the number of pathogenic microbes”, explains Musleh, “which could cause breakouts or more serious issues like impetigo or staphylococcal infections.

“To reduce the build-up of bacteria it is important to clean make-up brushes regularly. Be sure to clean the centre and towards the base of the brush as this is often missed and can be where bacteria accumulate. 

“Never submerge the ferrule (the metal part) as it can damage the brush. After washing, allow them to dry either on their side or upside down and store them in closed containers to reduce the risk of contamination from other objects or airborne particles.”

The more you know! Now, don’t mind us – just off to deep clean our make-up brushes…