Beauty Tool Upkeep

How to make your brushes, blow-dryer, and other beauty instruments last.
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We spend lots of time with our beauty tools, using them daily to keep our hair looking great, our makeup flawless, and our skin silky. But with all the use they get, how often do we stop to take good care of our makeup brushes, loofahs, blow-dryers, and other staples? For most women, the answer is almost never. But not anymore -- it's time for a beauty-tool tune-up! Here, how to keep your tools clean and in good working order, so they, in turn, can keep keeping you beautiful.

Makeup Brushes

Because makeup brushes come into daily contact with the skin, they need frequent cleaning. (Not doing so can cause bacteria to grow on the head of the brush, which can then cause acne or skin reactions.) To clean, fill your sink with warm water and add a small dollop of gentle shampoo. Swirl with your hand until sudsy. Dip the head of each brush into the water and swirl around (the water will become dirty pretty quickly -- you may need to refill the sink). Avoid getting the entire brush head wet, especially where the bristles meet the handle. Rinse brush head in cool water. To shake out excess moisture, put the handle between your palms and rub back and forth, so the brush head fans out (it's good to do this over the tub). Lay brushes flat on a towel to dry. Try to clean your brushes at least every two weeks.

Shower Puffs/Loofahs

These implements can easily be breeding grounds for bacteria because they capture dead skin cells and are usually stored in a warm, moist environment. Synthetic shower puffs can be thrown in the washing machine and washed in hot water. Clean shower puffs once a week. Loofahs are tougher to clean. Try rinsing under hot water after every use to flush away dead skin cells, then shaking to dry. Or simply toss your loofah after a month and replace with an inexpensive new one.

Blow-Dryers

Bacteria aren't the issue with a dirty blow-dryer -- power and effectiveness are. On the back of your blow-dryer, there's a small screen, usually topped with a plastic grid. This screen allows air to flow through the dryer, and covers the fan that powers the air flow. Often, the screen can become caked with hair and dust, reducing the power of the fan. To clean, simply twist the plastic grid until it comes off, and gently remove the screen underneath. Use a soft toothbrush to brush away collected dust and hair. Replace the screen and plastic. Clean your dryer at least once a month.

Makeup Sponges

Sponges pose the same problems as makeup brushes when left dirty. To remedy, you have two options: Wash your sponges with mild soap after every use, or buy inexpensive, disposable sponges so you can use a brand-new one every morning.

Eyelash Curlers

Take a good look at your eyelash curler. You're likely to see a ring of eye shadow and mascara on the metal curling surface, and shadow stains on the rubber pads. To clean the metal pieces, use a cotton ball dipped in eye makeup remover. For the pads, swipe with remover, and replace every three months.

 

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