We'd love to say that all of our makeup brushes live in a beautiful, sterile box on top of our boudoir where we delicately sweep them over our faces each morning as we chant our daily mantras. But we live in New York City, people. A boudoir is about as common as a West Village apartment with in-building laundry. The reality is that our brushes and sponges are scattered throughout our bathrooms, tossed in bags, whipped out on the subway, and, in short, really, really gross.
And while many of us can't remember the last time we cleaned them, we know deep down that it's the most important thing you can do for your skin. A makeup brush is a breeding ground for bacteria and dirt that can easily cause breakouts and, according to dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf (MD), can pose a risk of infectious agents like fungus (ringworm), parasites, and viruses too. Yikes.
Makeup artist and owner of her synonymous brand Sonia Kashuk says any makeup tool can become contaminated, "especially brushes used to apply concealer, eyeliner, lip color, and cream eyeshadows or blush." She recommends washing makeup tools weekly, "with the exception of brushes or tools that touch the eyes, which should be washed more frequently. If you have an eye infection or a cold sore, you should wash all of your tools and throw away any cosmetics you used during that time."