Dirty Makeup Brushes Can Give You a Serious Infection

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The dangers of using dirty and unsanitary makeup brushes got a scary closeup in news headlines this month when Katie Wright, 21, popped what she thought was just a giant “under-the-skin” pimple.

But what happened next was anything but ordinary. Within 48 hours, an area above her eyebrow became raised, enlarged and discolored. Wright photo documented her facial changes and described the pain she suffered on Twitter.

“Within an hour my entire face swelled up and hurt,” she wrote. “It felt like something was going to burst out of my skin.”

In fact, there was something erupting from her skin. It was an extreme case of cellulitis — a staph infection that compromised the cellular tissue in Wright’s face.

Credit: Natasia Causse/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

The ironic thing is that Wright admits she was “super strict” about consistently washing her makeup brushes. But there was one she overlooked in her routine — her eyebrow brush. Wright believes her dirty eyebrow tool is what caused her infection.

Lots of lessons can be gleaned from Wright’s story. Never squeeze painful spots or acne flare ups on your face and, most importantly, always wash all your makeup tools on a regular basis.

“If you wear make up PLEASE make that a step in your cleaning routine,” Wright wrote. “It’s a small thing to do to avoid a painful expensive and traumatising infection on your face.”

Inspired by Wright’s experience, Vital Updates has assembled a guide for keeping your cosmetic tools free of potentially harmful bacteria.

Step 1: Start with the Palmat® Brush Cleaner

Credit: Practk.com

This 2-in-1 brush cleaning tool deep cleans your makeup brushes every time. Say goodbye to washing your makeup brushes in the palm of your hand, where cleaning them feels more like a painting project gone awry than sterilizing your cosmetic applicators.

This small, portable silicone cleansing pad can be worn on either palm, thanks to adjustable, comfortable straps. It can also be suctioned to the side of your sink for independent cleaning. With its two cleansing textures — one large bumpy one for washing and one woven-styled one for refined cleaning— brush bristles of any size will become bright, soft and clean as new.

–> Buy the Palmat® Brush Cleaner Here

Step 2: Dry brushes with the Benjabelle Sunflower Brush Tree

Now that your brushes are super soft and free of dirty residual makeup, you’re probably wondering what’s the best way to dry them. Don’t even think about plugging in your hair dryer!

Benjabelle Sunflower Brush Tree. Credit: Beautylish.com

It’s recommended to hang your brushes vertically (bristles facing the floor) to keep water away from the ferrule — the metal cap or binder that holds the bristles together. However, drying your brushes upside down puts you at risk for trapping water and moisture at the root of the brush, which can lead to fungi and mold buildup, and that would leave you with unusable brushes.

Enter the Benjabelle Sunflower Brush Tree, the perfect accessory to dry your brushes safely and correctly. This acrylic and silicone sheet stand can hold up to four large brushes, six medium brushes and sixteen thinner eye and lip brushes. The Brush Tree allows you to clean all your brushes at the same time. This setup is so boss it would leave any professional makeup artist jealous.

–> Buy the Benjabelle Sunflower Brush Tree Here

Step 3: Blast remaining bacteria with the Zapi UV Toothbrush Cleaner

Since the Zapi UV Toothbrush Cleaner is so superb at zapping 99 percent of bacteria and germs off toothbrushes, couldn’t it be equally superb at blasting germs off cosmetic tools? If you are one of those gals who keep their makeup accessories in the bathroom for easy access to the mirror, keep in mind that those toilet germs can easily end up on those bigger brushes. Yuck!  

That’s why we recommend purchasing a Zapi, especially for large foundation, bronzer, blush or concealer brushes, so you can give a final zap of UV light to any lingering germs that might remain after drying. Consider this the final step of your makeup brushes’ ultimate bacteria-blasting spin cycle.

–> Buy the Zapi UV Toothbrush Cleaner Here