Girls love makeup, and makeup applicators love bacteria. They’ve always had this love affair, and it’s a shame that we can’t coexist more peacefully – can I get an amen? The problem isn’t in the fact that we load our pretty faces up with makeup on the daily, the problem lies with HOW and WHAT we put the makeup on WITH. The 2 main type of applicators are brushes and sponges, and you’ll be surprised to know they behave quite differently.

Makeup Brushes

These are great, right? We use them to pack on the powder, line our lids, and contour our cheeks. We have a gazillion different sizes and shapes, and we swear they all have a very distinct, different function – though we can’t sometimes recall what they are. In case you’re not getting it, MAKEUP BRUSHES ARE LIFE. We need them to function, and without them, well the world would just not be the same or at least not as pretty. Now that we have an agreement with how essential they are, let’s talk about why they can potentially give us some grief.

I know I am not just speaking for myself when I say that washing my brushes is a rare occasion. When I go weeks without washing my brushes, which are constantly getting used in different shades and different products, there understandably becomes quite a bit of build-up on them. What we don’t always think about is what type of build-up occurs. Not only is 10 different shades of eyeshadow built up in the bristles, but so is a ton of bacteria! Every single time those soft, furry bristles touch your face, they are also picking up dead skin cells, oils on your skin, and you can only imagine what else. And where do you set the brushes when you move on the next product? Likely onto your counter top or back in your makeup bag, both of which are crawling with germs.

151248_2ff2_3IF YOU’RE STILL NOT CONVINCED – let me set the scene for you. You’re in your bathroom, getting ready for a first date, and low and behold you have a giant pimple on your cheek. You give yourself a moment to properly *freak out* when you realize that you’re a makeup wiz and you’ll cover that baby in no time. Easy breezy. You grab your best concealer brush, dip it into your favorite product, and blend the pimple into your foundation like a real pro. You put the brush back in your bag and hurry off to your date where he doesn’t suspect a thing. Score! The next day, your hurrying to get ready for work, your pimple is already healing (thank heavens) but you have some pretty crazy bags under your eyes from the late night. No problem, if you can cover a pimple, then surely you can cover a simple little bag or two. You grab that same concealer brush, swipe on some product and *presto* your flawless. What you might not realize is YOU JUST USED THE SAME BRUSH ON A PIMPLE LAST NIGHT! Whatever bacteria that was on your skin that caused your blemish in the first place, just marinated on your makeup brush all night and is now spread on half of your face.

Sponges

The king of blending. The god of smooth coverage. I know my trusted sponge has saved my life a time or two, and I enjoy letting everyone else know how much it means to me. A Beauty Blender works best when it is damp so that it doesn’t soak up too much of your product. This is something I found out the hard way, so please take the advice and run with it. One major fault of the basic makeup sponge is in its design. Unlike a makeup brush with a handle for your grimy little fingers, a sponge must be held right in your hands. Every time you touch your sponge, hold your sponge, or set your sponge down, it’s surface is picking up debris, bacteria and anything else it can soak up. This can be quite problematic for your skin! Because of its nature, a sponge needs cleaned even more so than a makeup brush due to those simple little design flaws. Also, you will notice that it is so much easier to just clean your sponge right away, directly after applying your foundation when the product is still wet and hasn’t fully absorbed in the sponge yet.

Getting Your Brushes and Sponges Squeaky Clean

You should be washing your makeup brushes and sponges AT LEAST once a week, and honestly you should be doing it every single time it touches your face for the best results. If you are particularly prone to acne and you can’t remember the last time you washed your makeup applicators, then listen up. It’s surprisingly easy to clean both your makeup brushes and sponges. First you will want a gentle cleanser, I really like using a fragrance free baby shampoo. Gently massage the brush or sponge with the soapy substance of your choice. Now, run warm water over the tool, continually massaging out any old product until the water runs clear. You may need to rinse and repeat with the soap several times before the water is clear of product running down the drain. Once your applicators are clean and clear of any product build-up, you can rest assure that your skin with sincerely thank you, and you’ll see a lot less blemishes!

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