Study Shows Makeup Brushes Hold More Bacteria Than a Toilet Seat

Study Shows Makeup Brushes Hold More Bacteria Than a Toilet Seat featured image
Photo Credits: Rosdiana Ciaravolo / Contributor/ Getty Images | Image Used for Illustrative Purposes Only

When was the last time you washed your makeup brushes? With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, small things like washing your makeup brushes can fall to the wayside easily, but a new study just revealed that these beloved tools could be much dirtier than you think.

We all know that we should be washing our makeup brushes more than we probably are, but a recent study conducted by cosmetics brand Spectrum Collections found that these tools can actually harbor as much or more bacteria as a toilet seat. After finding out that 40% of their consumer base washes their makeup brushes every two weeks while 20% only wash them every one to three months, Spectrum conducted a study in which they swabbed brushes in five different storage vessels—makeup bags, a vanity holder in a bedroom, makeup brush bags, a brush drawer and a brush holder in a bathroom—and compared them with swabs from toilet seats. In the end, they found that all unclean makeup brushes contained more bacteria than their toilet seat counterpart.

Spectrum Collections

The study also tested cleaned makeup brushes for comparison, but found that all five samples of the unclean, stored makeup brushes contained trace amounts of E.coli, mold and yeast, all of which can lead to fungal infections, while the cleaned brushes harbored “significantly less” bacteria overall.

Skin-care scientist and cosmetic chemist Carly Musleh commented on the findings ensuring that “not all bacteria are harmful, the human skin microbiome contains many different types of microbes which can help maintain a healthy skin barrier and protect us from pathogenic microbes that cause infections,” but also reiterated that “using dirty brushes could increase the risk of causing an imbalance to the healthy microbial community and lead to an increase in the number of pathogenic microbes which could cause breakouts or more serious issues like impetigo or Staphylococcal (Staph) infections.”

When it comes to cleaning your brushes, Musleh recommends making it a regular practice and focussing on the center areas towards the base of the brush as these are often overlooked and contribute to the build up of bacteria. “Never submerge the ferrule (the metal part) as it can damage the brush,” she adds. “After washing, allow them to dry either on their side or upside down and store them in closed containers to reduce the risk of contamination from other objects or airborne particles.”

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