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Over 50% Of Makeup Users Make This Cringey Mistake — Do You?

Image by VICTOR TORRES / Stocksy
October 2, 2022

There isn't a right or wrong way to play with makeup. Mastering beauty looks can be an art form for some or a quick daily ritual for others. Either way, what kind of looks you create should bring you joy and make you feel your best.

While there are no hard-and-fast rules, there are a few practices that every makeup user should pick up for the sake of good hygiene. Unfortunately, a recent survey of 564 people shows these best practices might not be so widespread:

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Not cleaning your brushes. 

Next time you write a list of household chores, you should probably add cleaning your makeup brushes to it. This practice is essential for eliminating bacteria and keeping your bristles in tiptop shape.

According to the survey, only 20% of makeup users reported cleaning their brushes every month. That number goes way down when it comes to a weekly cleanse, aka the recommended cadence. If you don't use your brushes often, you might be able to get away with biweekly cleaning, but for the daily makeup wearers, a weekly cleanse is most definitely essential.

And if you think there's no bacteria on your brush, this should be a wake-up call. When researchers tested bacteria levels on participants' brushes, they found that even toilet seats are cleaner than these tools—eight times cleaner to be specific.

Not sure how to clean your tools? Here's a step-by-step guide from the pros to help you out.


Never replacing your brushes. 

According to the survey, one in five makeup users never replace their brushes. This is a major mistake that can contribute to accumulated bacteria and put a damper on your makeup looks. You see, overused brushes can get in the way of a perfectly blended shadow or super-slick liner look.

Even if you tend to your brushes weekly, no brush lasts forever. If your bristles start fraying, feel hard even after a deep clean, or refuse to hold their shape post-cleanse, it's time to toss your tools.

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Sharing makeup tools. 

A whopping 56% of makeup users reported sharing their makeup tools—a big no-no. This is especially dangerous with tools that come in contact with your eyes. Everything from eyeshadow brushes to lash curlers and even eyeliner pencils will have your own bacteria on them and shouldn't be passed around.

"Bacteria from dirty facial tools can result in poor eye health that may affect your vision, so never use others' devices," researchers declare. So while it may seem like a trivial thing, sharing makeup tools can actually affect your skin behind the scenes.

The takeaway. 

There are no rules when it comes to makeup. However, your makeup tools are constantly touching your skin, counter surfaces, and even coming near your eyes. For these reasons, you should make a habit of washing your tools weekly, tossing them when they're overused, and keeping your tools separate from your friends' products. This will help eliminate bacteria transfer and encourage healthier skin and eyes—in addition to some killer graphic liner.

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Hannah Frye
Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor

Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends, holistic skincare approaches, must-have makeup products, and inclusivity in the beauty industry. She currently lives in New York City.