Thinking of beautifying your face today? You could be giving yourself a fungus facial.
An alarming new UK study revealed that makeup brushes can be dirtier than a toilet — with microscopic photos showing the tools encrusted in mold, bacteria, yeast and other nightmarish microbes.
“It’s awful to see the amount of bacteria that could potentially sit on a makeup brush,” Dr. Suhail Alam, medical director at the Aventus Clinic which conducted the research, told Jam Press. The study aimed to show how these cosmetic accessories can turn into veritable microbe-breweries if not maintained properly — even after only being used a few times.
In order to determine what horrors lurk on the brush’s surface, researchers took samples from 12 makeup appliers and then analyzed each under a microscope. They then snapped pics of each vial.
The resultant photos show the gag-inducing results, which include an eyeshadow brush test tube completely overgrown with fuzzy blue and green mold. Meanwhile, the foundation brush sample is streaked with blood-red bacteria like something out of a CDC petri dish.
All told, scientists found that samples harbored a collective 4,364 colonies of yeast and bacteria while 11 of the brushes were reportedly filthier than the average toilet seat.
“It’s awful to see the amount of bacteria that could potentially sit on a makeup brush,” said Dr. Suhail Alam.
“Even after a person uses a makeup brush for the first time, it will already be forming colonies of bacteria,” warned Alam.
The samples harbored a collective 4,364 colonies of yeast.
The worst offenders on average were the eyeshadow brush with 928 combined colony forming units, the blusher brush (697.5 combined colony forming units) and lipgloss (625 combined colony forming units).
Along with being aesthetically displeasing, these impromptu germ incubators could be spreading infection.
“Even after a person uses a makeup brush for the first time, it will already be forming colonies of bacteria,” warned Alam. “With daily use, the brushes will automatically start collecting dirt, pollutants, oil and dead skin cells, which is why make-up brushes act as a breeding ground for bacteria which can lead to breakouts and skin irritations.”
“If a contaminated brush comes into contact with the eye, this could cause infections or allergic reactions,” said Alam.
11 of the brushes were reportedly filthier than the average toilet seat.
He continued, “If a contaminated brush comes into contact with the eye, this could cause infections or allergic reactions.”
Fortunately, contamination “can be avoided with a weekly cleaning routine,” per the good doctor.
“To clean the brushes properly, we suggest lathering the brush in an appropriate skin cleanser, massaging any bristles in the palm of your hand thoroughly, rinsing with lukewarm water and then squeezing the brush to remove any excess moisture,” he said. “The more you clean your brushes, the less dirt seeps out of the bristles, but this is a good thing, so don’t stop cleaning your brushes regularly if you find this to be the case!”
Researchers took samples from 12 makeup appliers and then analyzed each under a microscope.
Mold lip gloss anyone?
Perhaps contamination is doubly likely for this freeloading influencer who uses department store makeup counters as on-the-go beautification stations.