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Beauty Tool Cleaning Tips to Avoid Breakouts

We all use them…From tweezers and nail scissors to beauty sponges, makeup brushes and even facial rollers, tools are pretty much as much a part of a routine as the products we use with them.

And while I can spend hours researching cleansers, serums or moisturisers in the hope of clearing up or avoiding a break out, until recently I hadn’t realised how little time I put into thinking about all the other things that come into contact with my face every day.

And given the lengths most of us go to keep our skin healthy- and that introducing bacteria onto the skin can cause us to break out- how do make sure the tools we use daily are clean (without ruining them in the process)?

Brushes and Sponges

If you’re tired of using the last few drops of your favourite shampoo to clean brushes, or find some makeup stains are particularly to remove, why not try a targeted product.

Beautyblender’s Liquid Blendercleanser may be specifically designed for sponges but its blend of coconut surfactants and dead sea salts is equally as effective for removing stains from brushes too (plus the lavender scent leaves tools smelling yummy, post-clean).

Even tougher on stains is Beautyblender’s Pure Solid Cleanser; a soy-based, bar-style alternative. Also featuring the brand’s signature lavender scent, this cleanser has removed every makeup stain I have ever thrown at it, plus the tub container makes it especially easy to swish brushers around before rinsing.

While this will remove stains, to kill all germs you could try out Youtube’s favourite hack- microwaving them.  Half fill a mug with hot, soapy water before adding and submerging the sponge and zapping the concoction for 30 seconds.  Remove with extreme care because by now both the sponge and the water are seriously hot (I like to use to teaspoons to create a pincer effect and avoid touching).

If you don’t fancy fully washing brushes after every use (and who could blame you?), why not try a quick fix like MAC’s Brush Cleanser, which quickly removes stains and simultaneously disinfects.  Try switching the top this comes with for a spray applicator for super quick brush cleansing.

Whichever way you go, leave sponges or brushes to air dry fully before using to help prevent bacteria building up.

Tweezers, Scissors and Peach Fuzz Removers

Facial hair removal can be a prime time for bacteria to move in, since even the tiniest tear in the skin leaves skin vulnerable to germs.

While water should obviously never go anywhere near an electrical device- and could in fact risk rust forming on metal items like tweezers and scissors- rubbing alcohol (available at pharmacies) used on a cotton pad and swiped across tools quickly disinfects and degreases.

Similarly, facial rollers, and massagers, and even reusable masks can also be cleaned with a quick rub down with alcohol.


Ok, so not a tool as such, but generally something that comes into contact with our faces for a good 8 hours every day.

Minimise the chance of bacteria building up (and therefore the risk of breakouts) by washing pillowcases on a machine’s hottest setting.  Alternatively, to reduce energy use- wash on a cool setting using an antibacterial detergent.

Drying is actually one of the most important steps in killing bacteria (more important even than washing), and either tumble drying or placing out in the sun will help keep pillowcases germ-free.

Finally, for any silk pillowcase lovers who enjoy their skin and hair smoothing benefits (yup, that includes me), while these should still be washed regularly, too much machine washing can cause them to wear quickly. Instead, kill germs in between washes by placing silk pillowcases in the freezer for 24 hours.  Weird yes, but an easy way to inhibit bacteria without affecting the silk’s quality.

Hair Brushes

And a quick final word on hair brushes.  Easily overwhelmed by the build-up of hair, dry shampoo, natural oils, and skin cells, brushes can quickly go from helping hair to weighing it down if not kept clean- resulting in a dull, flat look.

This is when that favourite shampoo does come in handy (especially is your brush contains natural bristles).

Remove excess hair by hand, before damping and applying a small amount of shampoo evenly throughout bristles.  Massage through before rinsing thoroughly (and I mean really thoroughly) and leaving to air dry.

For specific tips on cleaning different shapes/sizes/types of hair brushes, have a look at this guide to cleaning every type of brush.

The Takeaway

Tools- while really useful- can also be a bit of a lurking ground for bacteria.

Luckily, pretty much most tools can be cleaned really easily (and cheaply), helping to protect against breakouts.

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