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Introducing the Perfect Bacterial Breeding Ground - Your Makeup Brushes!

The Facts:

If you stopped to give it some thought, you would realise that dirty makeup brushes provide the perfect environment for bacteria to breed. Nasty!!! Dead skin cells, sebum build-up and caked on makeup. Have a look at your brushes. When was the last time you cleaned them?

When you consider that we actively shower daily, wash our hair, wear clean clothes, wash our hands after visiting the little girl’s room or before handling food, how many of us are mindful of the fact our brushes may contain more bacteria than a dirty bathroom. Worse than that, we put them on our face!

Let’s face it, good quality makeup brushes can be expensive to buy and we really should look after them better than we do. Dirty brushes are less effective and you will achieve better blending and product distribution with clean brushes. Working with dirty brushes is like trying to apply your makeup with the pretend Barbie doll size makeup brushes you get in makeup compacts. A helpful hint! If you are using those silly little brushes, dispose of them.

Washing and caring for your brushes:

Fill a small bowl with roughly 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon baby shampoo and fill with warm water. No need to measure that by the way. A rough guess is fine.

Dip your brushes into the solution. Do not soak. You need to keep the ferrule out of the water as much as possible. The ferrule is the tapered metal tube that holds the makeup brush hair. Water seeping up into the ferrule will loosen the glue and swell the timber handle and ruin the brush. Swirl the brush in the palm of your hand and squeeze the water out of the hair. Repeat until brush is clean. You can add baby shampoo to your palm if the grime is persistent. Change the solution as it becomes dirty.

Alternatively use a solid shampoo bar such as “Squeaky Green” from “Lush”. It contains Tea Tree which has antibacterial and fungicidal properties. Thoroughly wet the brush in water and swirl the brush onto the bar of soap. Now swirl the brush on the palm of your hand to clean the brush hair as above. Rinse well. Repeat until the hair is clean.

Be mindful to treat the hair gently. Never use hot water, only warm water.

When you are rinsing the brush, always make sure to keep the brush hair pointing downward. Remember to avoid letting water go up into the ferrule. Squeeze out the water gently.

You may also like to condition the hair. Fill your bowl with water and add a squirt of conditioner. Dip the brush hair into the solution and swirl it around. Squeeze out the solution and rinse under clean cool running water. Gently squeeze out the water by hand and also blot between paper towel or a towel to remove the excess. Reshape the hair.

Lay out to dry on a clean dry towel and rotate half way through the drying process. Some big brushes can take up to a day to be fully dry. Never under any circumstances, try standing the brushes upside down in a cup to dry. Water will seep down into the ferrule and weaken or damage the brush. When the brushes are completely dry, store them away in a clean dry area. Preferably a brush bag or roll.


Wherever you intend to store your brushes may also be harbouring germs. Give your brush bag, roll, drawer or wherever you are storing them a good clean first.

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