5 Reasons to Clean Your Makeup Brushes Regularly (Hint: Clearer Skin Is 1 of Them)

e.l.f. Cosmetics
e.l.f. Cosmetics
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The horrors of dirty makeup brushes are no joke. And while we all know it's important to clean them regularly, once you dive deeper into learning why, it suddenly becomes a top priority — and for good reason, too! After all, dirty brushes are a breeding ground for bacteria, which can result in unwanted breakouts and infections — but even that's just the tip of the iceberg.

We don't mean to scare you, but if you're not into the habit yet, now's the time to start. Most experts agree you should clean your tools at least once a week, but just looking at the points ahead, there are many reasons you may want to consider cleaning them as often as once a day. Because ultimately, when it comes to your health, there's no such thing as too clean!

1. To Help Prevent Breakouts

This one is simple. Your pores become clogged when there's a build up of oil, dust, dead skin cells, and bacteria on the surface of your skin. Whenever you use a makeup brush, it accumulates all of those things along with the makeup and deposits it around your face. So you're essentially spreading dirt and bacteria from your face, to your makeup, then back to your face. If you keep breaking out and you're not sure why, dirty makeup brushes could be the culprit.

2. To Avoid Germs

Not only can dirty makeup brushes ruin your skin, they can also muck up your beloved makeup products. When you apply makeup with a brush and then swirl it back into a particular product, you're transferring the bacteria from your face to the product. Not to mention, bacteria especially love the damp texture of products like foundations, concealers, bronzer, and blushes. Hello, petri dish!

3. To Prevent Viral Infections

Yes, dirty brushes can lead to viral infections. And as cringeworthy as it is, this may be the most convincing argument yet. We've already covered that through daily use, makeup brushes can accumulate dead skin cells, dirt, oil, pollution, and bacteria. But this also includes staphylococcus, streptococcus, and E. coli, fungus, and viruses, according to Good Housekeeping. It's even possible to contract a staph infection or pink eye through sharing dirty makeup brushes.

4. To Make Your Brushes Last Longer

When a makeup brush isn't cleaned regularly, it becomes caked with product buildup and matted down with oil and dirt. This can lead to hairs falling out prematurely or fibers splitting. If you want your brushes to last, taking care of them is essential.

5. To Apply Makeup More Flawlessly

Going off of number four, when your brushes are weighed down with last week's makeup, today's makeup won't apply as smoothly. You may end up with a splotchy or streaky look that could have easily been avoided.

The good news is that cleaning your tools doesn't require a lengthy time commitment. Follow these seven quick steps for good-as-new brushes:

1. Wet the bristles with lukewarm water.

2. Place a drop of cleanser into the palm of your hand.

3. Gently massage and swirl the bristles in your palm.

4. Rinse the bristles thoroughly.

5. Squeeze out excess moisture with a towel.

6. Reform the brush head back into its original shape.

7. Allow the brush to air dry with its bristles hanging off the edge of a counter. If you let them dry on a towel, the bristles can turn mildewy.

If you're in the market for new brushes, e.l.f. Cosmetics offers tons of affordable options for all types of makeup applications. And while you're at it, pick up the brand's brush cleanser, so that your brushes stay clean, effective, and germ-free.

Solid Brush & Sponge Cleanser

Solid Brush & Sponge Cleanser

Cruelty-free and vegan, this solid cleanser ($4) deep cleans your brushes and sponges, melting away makeup and dirt. It also comes in a travel-friendly case and is formulated with charcoal to help detoxify and prevent breakouts.

Professional Set of 12 Brushes

Professional Set of 12 Brushes

From a smudge eye sponge to a bronzer brush, this kit ($12) has pretty much everything you could need for a full makeup look. The brushes are even cruelty- and animal-free, as they're made with synthetic bristles. And with glowing reviews touting their durability and softness, this set is a no-brainer.

Small Oval Complexion Brush

Small Oval Complexion Brush

This irresistibly soft brush ($6) makes blending a breeze, giving your complexion an airbrushed effect.