Make-up artist work in her studio.
Image: Shutterstock/Solis Images

Real talk: Our makeup brushes carry so much bacteria. It’s actually really gross. And more than that? It’s dangerous, as model Anthea Page found out the hard way, according to People Magazine. 

Models, such as Page, are painted to have it “made.” Just look pretty, get hair and makeup done, and smolder in front of the camera. But the hard truth is that models are in a tough industry. Having modeled for years myself, I can attest to the fact that the model’s health and body are rarely taken into consideration when it comes to a designer’s end goal. Model’s (especially those who aren’t supermodels, which is all but, like, seven), endure crap pay, no breaks, little recognition, and, as in this case, questionable hygienic methods.

Model Anthea Page took to Instagram the other day to describe her experience with contracting a staph infection in her eye after a makeup artist (who has remained unnamed) forgot to clean her makeup brushes before applying makeup to Page’s face.

Page wrote a public statement to all “makeup artists and those getting their makeup done” to warn everyone of the dangers of dirty makeup brushes.

She first wanted to make a point that her statement isn’t meant to complain about her job— she loves her job and describes it as “awesome”. But she wants us to realize that it’s not all it’s hyped up to be sometimes.

“Models have it good most of the time, especially in Australia however there are health/hygiene risks involved for models and anyone using testers or getting their makeup done people can overlook,” explains Page.

Her recent staph infection is a prime example.

“I have just been on a fashion show job for the past 4 days and unfortunately even though I had observed unhygienic practises and confronted the qualified artists (who I will not name) I still ended up taking home a nasty eye infection from fashion weekend,” she says. “I do feel my safety concerns were dismissed as if it was part of my job to put up with these unhealthy conditions. My message is not intended to critique the women who I trusted with my eye and skin health but to raise awareness of importance of hygiene practices amongst artists.”

Page is now taking medication for her infection, but continues to urge makeup artists and those getting their makeup done to keep their makeup tools clean, especially when sharing.

“If you are getting your makeup done or using any testers, check everything has been cleaned to your standard even if someone scoffs at your concerns,” she explains. “This is not my first time receiving an ailment from a dirty makeup brush and unfortunately in my line of work I doubt it will be the last but please be aware of this if you ever come close to a makeup kit so you can keep yourself safe and healthy.”

Talk about gross. So let’s consider our options here, ladies.

One method we can use to keep our makeup tools clean is to buy a trusted makeup brush cleaner, such as Sephora’s Daily Brush Cleaner or Bobbi Brown’s Brush Cleaner Spray. Don’t feel like splurging on these beauty buys? Try this DIY method from POPSUGAR for cleaning those makeup brushes:

Step 1: Mix two parts antibacterial dish soap and one part extra-virgin olive oil on a clean plate (avoid paper plates as the oil will seep through).

Step 2: Grab your first brush and gently soak it in lukewarm water (making sure the brush stays bristle-side down throughout the entire process).

Step 3: Dip the damp brush in the soap and olive oil solution and coat the bristles. Work the mixture into the bristles using the palm of your hand and fingers. Continue until the soapy residue is makeup free.

Step 4: Rinse the brushes under lukewarm water until no soap runs from the bristles.

Step 5: Roll a dish towel like you would a yoga mat, and drape a paper towel over it so that most of the paper towel hangs off. (The paper towel should look like a slide coming down from the dish towel). Next, arrange the brush so the top of the handle sits on top of the towel, pitching the rest of the brush down onto the paper towel. This will allow your brushes to dry on a slant, while keeping moisture away from the ferrule.

Let’s learn from Page’s experience, shall we? Whether you use a makeup brush cleaner to keep those makeup brushes clean or prefer to try our DIY method, make sure to keep your makeup tools clean and bacteria free, ladies!

Ellen contributed to this piece.