Your beauty tools are good to you. They give you the hair that nature did not and create a face that you don’t wake up with. Treat them right and they’ll be there for you through thick and thin. Our experts tell us how to give them the TLC they deserve.
Makeup Brushes
A study found that 72 percent of women never wash their brushes or sponges, even though they harbor dirt and bacteria that can cause breakouts and don’t perform as well when coated with facial oils and residual makeup. Jessica Wu, a dermatologist and author of Feed Your Face: Younger, Smoother Skin and a Beautiful Body in 28 Delicious Days, recommends washing loose powder brushes every two to three weeks and brushes used to apply foundation once a week.
To wash brushes, mix a couple of drops of gentle facial cleanser and lukewarm water in a cup. Then swish your brushes around and rinse them with lukewarm water. Pat them dry, and finally lay them flat to air-dry.
To prevent damaging the area where the brush bristles meet the handle, makeup artist Hillary Clark always washes brushes at an angle so that the bristles are pointed downward. While drying, she makes sure to maintain the same downward angle.
If you're in a pinch or on the go, quickly clean brushes with specially designed wipes. Makeup artist Dana Chasen Thomases loves Beauty So Clean Cosmetic Sanitizer Wipes. Simply wipe the brush from side to side and you're good to go.
Curling Irons and Flat Irons
If you are using a product on your hair—be it a heat-protectant spray, silicone serum or volumizing mousse—it’s found a home on your styling tool, as well. Over time, products build up on the barrels and plates of your irons. Making matters worse, the intense heat causes the buildup to become a stubborn sticky film, which can tug at your strands, pulling them out and causing breakage, says Manuel Solorzano, owner of Manuel's Hair Salon in Washington, D.C.
To prevent buildup, it’s best to wipe down unplugged tools with a damp cloth after each use. To cut through the layer of goo once it’s already set, pour some rubbing alcohol on a damp cloth and rub the barrel or iron plate clean. If you’re cleaning a curling iron, make sure to wipe underneath the clamped area, as well. If the goo is still not coming off, try gently scrubbing with a soft toothbrush dipped in rubbing alcohol. Once the buildup is gone, wipe a clean damp cloth over your tool to remove the alcohol.
Razors
Even the priciest blade only lasts through a few showers, as most of us have learned the hard way! That’s because the reason razor blades get dull has nothing to do with their cost or quality. When water hits any metal razor, it causes the blade to corrode and become duller and duller. Leaving your razor in the shower, where it’s constantly exposed to moisture, is a surefire way to shorten its life. Instead, shake as much water off the razor as possible, then blot away any remaining liquid on an old t-shirt (towels can deposit lint). Or blast it with a quick stream of hot air from your blow-dryer. Then stick it in a drawer until the next time you use it.

Photo: Getty Images