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All winter you've brushed on that blush in hopes of looking a bit brighter, but now it's your brushes that need some attention. Most natural-hair makeup brushes have a lifespan of a year or longer if you take good care of them. But even newer brushes can get nasty if used often or with old makeup, says Dr. Barnett. "Makeup can build up layers of dirt and bacteria—especially on the brushes and pads that are in constant contact with your face and hands," she says. That can cause breakouts, rashes, and infections. Even worse, your makeup and brushes could be carrying E. coli, a bacterium found in fecal matter.
Throw out any brushes that are losing a lot of bristles and wash the rest weekly in a mild shampoo or in hot water and antibacterial soap, Dr. Barnett says. Lay them flat on a towel to dry. Don't stand them up while wet—the water may seep into the glue and cause them to fall apart faster.