PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- As women, we all skip it at least once in our regular routine- cleaning our make up brushes. But have you ever wondered what's growing on those brushes when you don't wash them? NEWS CENTER's Katie Bavoso had her very own makeup brushes tested in a lab, and the results were not pretty.
Katie took five of her makeup brushes to the University of New England where associate professor of infectious disease studies, Dr. Meghan May, swabbed each brush in a plate of blood auger, a sterile substance that encourages the healthy growth of bacteria. In full disclosure, Katie says she hadn't washed her brushes in a year.
Dr. May said the most common things she expected to find on the brushes included micro-organisms that live in or on pets, fecal coliforms, and staphylococcus, which is what causes staph infections! However, Dr. May says this kind of bacteria is common and not always harmful, it actually lives on every person's skin.
The swabbed auger plates were left alone for three days, and when they were reviewed they were teeming with colonies of bacteria!
Katie's contour brush yielded the biggest results- the whole auger plate was covered in colonies. Dr. May tested the bacteria, and sure enough, she found staphylococcus. The good news? It was not the kind of staph that would harm Katie.
Dr. May said she does not think not washing your make up brushes for a year is out of the ordinary- and it's also not the most unsanitary thing a person can do. May says that because most woman wash their faces shortly before applying makeup, the application brushes are coming into contact with clean skin, and not picking up as much bacteria as they would on an unwashed face. Plus, the bacteria and other micro-organisms that live on our skin are there for a reason.
"All humans, every single one of us, have microbes living on our skin. They're actually doing us quite a service, they're protecting our skin from other infectious agents," Dr. May said. "They're very important to our health."
However, Dr. May says if you want to keep a cleaner brush routine, cleaning them once a week should be enough.