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Even if you’re not sharing your tools, keeping them clean can keep you healthier and more gorgeous.

I recently read an article about a 27-year-old Australian woman, Jo Gilchrist, who, by borrowing a friend’s makeup brush to cover a pimple, contracted a staph infection that left her disabled and fighting to walk again. Although experts say that Jo’s spinal paralysis from a staph infection is “very rare,” it’s still scary to know that it can still happen due to spreading infection via a simple makeup brush.

Living in a household with my mother and two sisters, never would I have imagined that I’d have to be mindful of maintaining and cautious of sharing my makeup tools. With the frequency I use makeup, I do clean them, but I honestly never thought about how diligent I had to be until now–they can bereally disgusting.

Makeup is all about beauty but there are hidden beasts lingering inside your makeup bag that you need to keep in mind before applying your favorite eyeliner or foundation. Regularly and diligently cleaning your makeup brushes and sponges can prevent many conditions, risks and more. For example, it will help you…

Avoid Breakouts

Old makeup, bacteria, debris, germs, dirt and oil can build up on makeup sponges and brushes. You can have the cleanest and most enviable skin, but with unsanitary brushes, none of that really matters when all of that buildup is transferred onto your face, leading to acne, clogged pores and breakouts.

Think of washing your brushes like washing your face every day to combat skin conditions. Sanitizing your brushes will allow for healthier skin.

Prevent Infections

Dirt, oil and anything with moisture left on your brush (from creams and gels) can harbor festering bacteria, become contaminated and transmit infections such as pink eye or herpes. Sharing makeup brushes and sponges is just as bad because of the possible transmission of viral or fungal infections to anyone else who uses them besides you.

Beware of using brushes on open sores or cracks in the skin as infections can easily spread onto the tool you are using. You may be taking medication to get rid of a cold sore or eye infection but using those same infested tools could allow the infection to reoccur.

Long story short: disinfect makeup tools and keep them to yourself.

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