How often should you clean your makeup applicator?

HOUSTON – UT Health dermatologist Dr. Valencia Thomas said all makeup applicators - sponges, wedges, brushes and beauty blenders - carry bacteria.

Thomas said using hands gets a bad rap, when, in fact, if both your fingers and face are clean, it's harmless.

She suggested washing brushes weekly with soap and warm water for a good option. However, she said a daily spritz with a cleanser is even better.

“Brush cleaner, which is available, usually that has a little bit of alcohol to kill the bacteria,” Thomas, said.

As for popular beauty blenders, she said these are just as guilty of carrying bacteria as the sponges.

Both need to be rinsed, washed and air-dried weekly.

“The material itself has no natural antibiotic properties, so they are equally as concerning once they are contaminated and not washed,” Thomas said.

Even though she stays neutral on which applicator is best, she said to be wary of products boasting about being infused with Vitamin E.

“When you apply it to your skin, it’s really like poison ivy, literally," Thomas said. "Where the first number of exposures for ... numbers of years nothing happens and then all of a sudden when your body reaches a level that it’s sufficiently irritated, it will trigger a poison ivy-like response."

Vitamin E is good for our hair and nails when ingested, she said the problem is, people assume that means it’s beneficial to apply it as a topical but if you have sensitive or allergy prone skin, it can encourage breakouts and rashes.