Most of us wash our makeup brushes every few months – if at all. For a long time I was like that because the brushes were never quite the same after I washed them. I recently got strep throat, however – a miserable experience that involved a few days of pain so intense I could barely swallow my own spit and a few days of total and utter nausea – and I’m now a convert. Staphylococcus and streptococcus are the two most common bacteria found on makeup brushes and the ones responsible for staph infections and strep throat. On top of that, not washing brushes can also contribute to acne, rashes, and skin infections; so if you’re experiencing any of those, it might not be hormones or products after all! Basically, if you want to be on the safe side, and you’re using a brush regularly, you should wash it every week (especially if you have acne or oily skin or are using brushes for multiple products as this can cause cross-contamination). I’ll do anything to prevent infections and rashes, so I’ve been keeping up with the regular washing; but I will say that a brush never really is 100% the same afterwards. I’ve found the Sephora Collection Brush It Off Cleansing Brush Wipes (at Sephora for $7, from $16) to be the best out of all the options I’ve tried. They’re fast, effective, and smell good. If you’re going to opt to wash your brushes with soap, though, it’s really important to let the tools dry naturally while standing up or else their shapes will be totally off. If you have one that can’t stand upright, lay it on a clean towel to dry overnight.