Something Else That Needs Washing

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Among the many maxims asserted by Maya Angelou, “when you know better, you do better” rings especially true for this post. Until my senior year of college, I never washed makeup brushes. It didn’t occur to me that brushes are fluffy vestibules for germs and that I really ought to give them a swirl in soap and water. So when I learned that cleaning was necessary, I discovered that years of foundation, bronzer, and blush running down a bathroom sink looks surprisingly similar to putrefied waste oozing around a back alley dumpster.

Regularly cleaning brushes prolongs the tools’ life and rinses away bacteria that can lead to skin irritations like acne. I can personally attest to the importance of clean tools for clear skin. Every two weeks or so I thoroughly wash my brushes and Clarisonic head. Even if you wear cosmetics infrequently, it’s a good idea to clean brushes at least once a month.

I wash makeup brushes with dish soap or Sephora’s brush shampoo. Really any cleansing agent will do. Massaging the brush under running water, I rinse until the soap bubbles are gone and lay each brush flat on either the edge of my sink or on a few paper towels. Don’t soak brushes because this can weaken the glue and handle that holds the bristles in place. If you clean at night, brushes will dry by the morning.

If washing your brushes regularly is a champagne wish and a caviar dream, consider brush sprays, which are helpful aids in between washes.

Recently I’ve started to wash my Clarisonic brush head (I am convinced this is needed in spite of the fact that it’s doused in facial cleanser every day). For a deep clean, I soak the head and cap in hydrogen peroxide for an hour or so and rinse with isopropyl alcohol. This kills any lingering bacteria and removes tiny debris (like dead skin cells and other disgusting unmentionables).

When all is clean and dry, it takes only a nanosecond for me to begin to dirty things all over again.

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