6 Beauty Tools You’re Not Cleaning But Should + The Right Way to Do It

BY Alexis Farah · May 17, 2016

Clarisonic - The DermStore Blog

When skin and hair start acting up, dirty brushes, styling tools and/or skin cleansers may be to blame. Why? The buildup of product on hot tools could actually cause your go-to style to fall flat. And bacteria, dirt and dust on makeup applicators could transfer to skin, causing breakouts, irritation or even pink eye. Use this cheat sheet for the best cleaning times and techniques to keep your skin and hair healthy.


1. Makeup Brushes

Makeup brushes are one of the main culprits of breakouts,” says Gary Goldfaden, M.D., dermatologist and founder of GOLDFADEN MD. And while it would be best to give them a good washing once a week, it’s just not realistic. Instead aim to clean your makeup brushes every two weeks using a gentle makeup brush cleaner. Pour about a quarter-size amount of the solution (depending on how many brushes you’re washing) into a dry hand (or a textured glove or mat), swirl the makeup brush around in your palm to cover it with product and rinse thoroughly with water to ensure that all the product has been washed out. When rinsing, it helps to hold the brush upside down (or use this makeup brush tower) to prevent water from absorbing into the base.

2. Facial Cleansing Devices

It’s tempting to just throw that Clarisonic back on the charger without a second thought, but not cleaning the brush head could cause a cranky complexion. “Bacteria can grow in the crevices of the brush around and between the bristles,” says Dr. Goldfaden. Remove the brush head and use anti-bacterial soap and a toothbrush to clean it once a week if you’re using it every day (if using less frequently, then every two weeks is fine). Rinse with warm water and let it air-dry before reattaching. For best results, don’t forget to change your brush head every 90 days.

3. Eyebrow Spoolies

You know that gunk that builds up in eyebrow spoolies? Well, it’s a lot easier than you think to remove it, allowing for more even brow grooming. According to celebrity makeup artist Jenny Patinkin, brow tamers can be run through a makeup-remover wipe like Klorane Make-up Remover Biodegradable Wipes or an alcohol pad every two weeks. “They’re made from synthetic fibers, so you don’t have to worry about them drying out,” she adds.

4. Eyelash Curler

For the sake of your lashes, wipe down the eyelash curler with a makeup-removing towelette between uses. “Product buildup can make your lashes stick to the metal and possibly pull them out,” says Patinkin. The little rubber pad in the curler needs to be replaced about every three to four months since they do break down and then can, in extreme cases, snap your lashes off.

5. Hair Tools

While it may be hard to actually spot residue on your hair straightener or curling iron, it’s there — and it could be messing with your look. “The tool is overworking trying to get through the product buildup,” says Matrix SoColor Stylist, Daniel Moon, adding that it could also be transferring different product left behind on the tool to your hair. When it’s cool, wipe it down with a moist towel between uses. Just make sure it’s been off for a while, otherwise you can get burned!

6. Makeup Sponge

The miracle blending tool beautyblender comes with both a cake and a liquid cleanser, but Patinkin has another solution to that getting a Beauty Blender squeaky clean: Woolite. “I dampen and then dab the blender into the liquid and work it in, focusing on any large stains, and then gently milk away the foam before I start to rinse in warm water and squeeze again until there are no more bubbles coming out,” she says. If you can get the majority of the cleanser out before you start to rinse and wring, it’ll take less time to rinse away all the bubbles, she adds. Once the rinse becomes clear, squeeze the blender dry in a paper towel to help it dry faster. Use this method after every three to four makeup applications.

Alexis Farah

Before becoming a freelance writer in Los Angeles, Alexis was the Senior Beauty Editor at Everyday Health in New York City. She started her career as the Associate Beauty Editor at Women’s Health magazine and... Read More >

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