As a woman who is generally obsessed with makeup, I own a lot of makeup brushes. Some of them are so beloved that I actually worry about losing them or breaking them. But since I've owned a great deal of my brushes for literally a half a decade, I started to wonder if makeup brushes, much like cosmetics, have an expiration date. Who better to talk to about this than makeup artists and makeup brush creators?
First, I hit up editorial and celebrity makeup artist, Katie Jane Hughes to ask what she keeps an eye out for when it comes to her makeup brushes. "If you're trying to blend your makeup and a brush that normally works well is blending your makeup in a spotty or patchy way, that's not a good sign," she says.
As for other signs that your brushes may need to be turned in for a new model? One major one is shedding.
"If your brush sheds on a consistent basis, there is a high chance that the glue holding the bristles has loosened," explains Real Techniques founder and makeup artist, Sam Chapman. If that's happening, say peace to your brush and spare yourself the frustration. This, however, can be avoided, Sam elaborated, by making sure you do not fully submerge your brushes under water while cleaning them and hanging them upside down to dry.
Another sign your brush has expired is if your brushes seem misshapen, says makeup artist and Real Techniques founder, Nic Chapman. "It is possible for brushes that are used daily to become misshapen over time—especially if you are heavy-handed. Using a misshapen brush can apply makeup unevenly, so if the bristles do not return to their shape, even after washing, then it is time to replace them," say Nic.
One last tip that should be followed strictly, according to the Chapman sisters, is actually very important.
Broken handles or ferrules are downright bad news. Yes, accidents happen, but if you drop your brush and it cracks, replace it. Why? They explained that even the smallest of cracks can harbor bacteria, which then transfers to your hands and your face. Yikes.
And while we're on the topic of brush maintenance and keeping your tools in good condition, we have to bring up regularly washing your brushes. Not only does it help keep your brushes in good condition, you'll have better makeup application.
"You should be washing your brushes on a regular basis, but especially when it comes to brushes that you use with cream or liquid makeup," explains founder of Zoeva brushes, Zoe Boikou.
We don't unecessary breakouts, do we?
Looks like I'll be a little more vigilant about that from here on out. What about you?
This article originally appeared on InStyle.com/MIMI.