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Makeup blues: The dirty truth about your makeup brush

When I was in college I wrote a poem titled "Makeup Blues." If memory serves me, it went something like this:

Makeup blues and reds and greens I put them on my face And then wash them down the drain.

I know, weird poem. I was into a lot of more ambiguous stuff back in the mid-1980s! The idea though was that we spend a lot of money to buy the makeup, then we put the makeup on our face-spending a lot of time doing that, and then we wash it off, and swirling down the drain it goes!

Those of us who wear makeup probably don't give much thought to these things or to the items we use to put the makeup on our faces.

But maybe we should give a bit more thought to the makeup brushes we use.

Oh, that dirty makeup brush

According to an article found on titled "The Dirty Truth: Makeup Brushes & Bacteria," we really should rethink our come-what-may attitude when it comes to the things we use to apply makeup. In fact, we are probably applying a lot more than makeup!

The article points to a study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology which shows that "researchers found that 70% to 90% of all of the cosmetic products and tools they tested had been contaminated with fungus and bacteria, including E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus."


There are so many ways that viruses, bacteria, and more can get on our brushes, too.

If you keep your makeup in the bathroom, you could be one flush away from a nasty virus or outbreak of something on your face! E. coli, commonly found in the human digestive tract can make an unsightly addition to your body (face) if you are using a dirty brush.

And just because they look clean does not mean they are!

Just because you can't see them, your makeup brush could be harboring viruses, germs, and bacteria just waiting to get a chance to visit your cheeks or forehead, or anywhere else you are applying the makeup.

In another article from titled, "The Dirty Truth About Your Makeup Brushes," the writer of the article said that in addition to the nasty things listed above, you might also find actual bugs in your makeup brush.

"Lynne Sanders, a cosmetic scientist and the founder of Cosmetics a La Carte, told Glamour that even though you can't see them, there are probably bugs hiding out within the bristles of your makeup brushes. 'Under the microscope, you may see the remains of mites on your brushes,' Sanders said. She continued, explaining, 'Most of us have these tiny creatures, about a third of a millimeter long, residing at the base of our eyelashes and nose hairs, living off old skin cells and sebum. They're generally considered harmless, but they may be implicated in acne.' Harmless or not, we'd definitely rather avoid having bug remains spread all over our faces." 


Keep your brushes clean!

In many of the articles that we read in our research on this article, it was suggested that if you use makeup daily, you need to clean your brushes daily. And no, that doesn't mean giving your brushes a few taps on the sink to knock the loose powder free. It means cleaning them!

There are a lot of reasons you may want to keep your brushes clean and replace them as needed, too, according to the "The Dirty Truth About Your Makeup Brushes" article.

Here are the highlights.

  • Dirty makeup brushes can cause acne breakouts

  • Makeup brushes can carry pink eye-causing bacteria

  • The dirtier the makeup brush, the less effective it is

  • Makeup brushes may irritate your skin if they aren't cleaned regularly

  • Makeup brushes aren't meant to last forever

  • Expired makeup brushes make expired makeup that much worse

  • Dirty makeup brushes can cause cold sores to reappear

  • Dirty makeup brushes may steal your skin's glow

  • Makeup brushes may cause wrinkles if you don't clean them regularly

  • Herpes is a possibility if you use dirty makeup brushes every day

  • Dirty makeup brushes can literally paralyze you (staph infection that can spread)

In another article found on, "The Dirty Truth About Makeup Brushes," the article stated that "Studies have shown that your everyday makeup brushes have immense amounts of bacteria that they carry, in fact, foundation brushes have been studied to be 545% dirtier than a toilet seat."


Obviously, a clean makeup brush is vital to good skin health!

How to clean your makeup brushes

So, how do you clean your makeup brush(es)?

There are a lot of ways to do so, but to make sure it is really clean and sanitized, use Vital Oxide.

In fact, using Vital Oxide is a surefire way to keep your makeup brushes safer to use overall.

Step One: Remove the product buildup in or on the brush with unscented soap and warm water.

Step Two: Rinse the brush well and remove the excess moisture with a clean paper towel.

Step Three: Reshape the brush head and spray liberally with Vital Oxide.

Step Four: Let the brush air dry to eradicate germs!

Vital Oxide is safe to use even on food preparation surfaces so you can feel safe using it to clean your makeup brushes, too!


If you have further questions or want to know more about how we can help you with the cleaning and sanitizing of your makeup brushes, your home, office, church, etc., please contact us and we will set you up with an agent near you that will be happy to assist you.

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