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If you're noticing that it's becoming harder to apply your makeup smoothly when you use brushes, blenders and sponges, then it might be time to give them a good clean.
“If you don't wash your makeup brushes, they gradually get clogged up with dead skin cells, dried clumps of makeup, dirt and grime," says doctor and skincare expert Dr Deborah Lee at beauty website RY. "This makes it impossible to apply foundation smoothly. You end up trying to plaster it on more thickly. Stiff bristles can cause tiny micro-abrasions in the skin, allowing bacteria to get into the deeper layers of the skin."
Makeup brushes are also a breeding ground for bacteria, which can cause spots, acne flare-ups and more serious skin infections. “There are reports of an increase in conjunctivitis and blepharitis associated with the use of dirty mascara brushes," says Dr Lee.
It's important to wash makeup brushes and sponges regularly. "Brushes used with dry powders should be washed once or twice a week," says Dr Lee. "If you're using liquid foundation on your brushes, wash them every day. Makeup sponges should also be washed every day."
How to clean makeup brushes:
1. Choose your favourite makeup cleanser or brush cleanser.
2. Run the brush under the tap to wet it using lukewarm water. Take care not to let the handle end of the brush where the bristles attach get wet, as this will damage the glue and encourage the bristles to drop out. Focus on cleaning the end of the brush.
3. Add some cleanser to the brush and swirl this around, pressing the bristles into your palm with a circular motion and getting a good lather. You can use a brush cleaning mat for this if you prefer. Then wash the bristles again under the tap to get rid of all the suds and grime.
4. Squeeze the bristles downwards between your finger and thumb to get rid of the excess water.
5. Lay the damp brush on some kitchen towel or a special brush drying towel overnight to dry.
If you've let your makeup brushes and sponges get clogged up with product, it's time to invest in some new kit in order to keep you skin safe. Here are some of our favourites - and some new brushes incase you need to start from scratch:
This fragrance-free brush cleanser is designed to get rid of makeup residue quickly and easily, leaving brushes in optimal condition.
Designed to be gentle enough to use on brushes every day, this cleaning shampoo washes away dirt, makeup, oil and debris from brushes while conditioning bristles, leaving them soft and clean.
This cleaning tool is made from two different textures that work together to clean makeup brushes. Sweep brush heads against it to thoroughly clean through all the bristles. It's made from high quality silicone that won't split or crack.
This brush cleansing palette helps sweep away makeup, oil, and impurities from bristles, so you get a smoother makeup application. It's lightweight and ergonomically designed to fit comfortably over your hand while you use it.
This specially designed towel lets you hang makeup brushes up to dry, allowing them to keep their shape and stopping water from leaking in to the handles. It has elasticated slots to keep brushes in place, and hooks so they can be easily hung up. Once they're dry, simply roll up the towel for easy transportation.
This lovely dome shaped brush is ideal for smooth and even powered coverage. Buff it in a circular movement for a flawless finish that makes skin look airbrushed and even.
This has angled, firmly bundled bristles which is perfect for contouring cheeks. Made from ultra-soft, high quality synthetic fibres, it's ergonomically designed to give ultimate control and precision when you're using it.
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