Makeup Brush Cleaning 101

When was the last time you cleaned your brushes? Once upon a time I was that person who rarely ever cleaned her makeup brushes, but since I’ve learned the importance of it, I make the effort at least once a week. So, if you can’t remember the last time you’ve cleaned your brushes or they’re getting rough, you should probably give them a little love and a good cleaning.

Now I’m not saying clean them after every use, although you definitely can and that’s really great, but I am saying you should be cleaning them at least once a week. Cleaning your brushes is not only good for your skin, but also good for the brushes.

Good for your skin

Makeup brushes, whether used every day or a few times a week, pick up and harbor gunk. They pick up natural oils, dead skin cells, dirt, bacteria, sweat, tears, old makeup, new makeup and other debris every time you use them. It’s not healthy for your skin to keep sloughing around excess dirt each time you apply makeup. This can result in acne, fine lines and maybe a science experiment.

There are also some factors that make it more imperative to clean your liquid and cream product brushes more often than your powder product brushes. The moisture and product that stays with a liquid foundation brush or lip brush are better conduits for bacteria growth. Since powder product brushes typically do not harbor moisture, they can be cleaned every other week if you so choose.

Good for your brushes

Not only is cleaning your brushes good for you and your skin, but it is also good for your brushes! Makeup brushes are investments – I mean they can get pretty pricey and I doubt you want to buy a new $20 makeup brush every 6 months or so. Cleaning your brushes keeps them in tip top shape. It rids them of bacteria, makes them look as good as new and it conditions them. After I clean my brushes, they are super soft and luscious. Overall, cleaning your brushes extends their life, makes them soft and improves makeup application.

Step by step

Items needed:f1ba75be-530f-47a0-a0b8-c15048a8833d.jpg

  • Dirty brushes
  • Brush cleaner – I like to use Real Techniques Deep
    Cleansing Gel. It’s easy to use and smells amazing. (Featured to the right)
  • Towel – for laying your brushes on to dry.
  • Bowl (optional)

The way I clean my brushes is super simple. I gather all my dirty brushes and brush cleaner and go to my bathroom sink. I take each brush, one by one, put some cleansing gel on them and with the sink running, I cup my hand and swirl the brush around on my palm making sure the water only touches the bristles. Instead of cupping your hand, you can always use a shallow bowl. I may reapply cleansing gel if I feel like the brushes aren’t as clean as I’d like them to be. I swirl them until the water runs clear and lay them flat on a towel to dry. If it’s a fluffy brush or a brush with a certain shape, I make sure to lay it in that shape for drying. Once they’re all clean and put on the towel, I let them dry overnight.

Important Tips

  1. Never submerge your brush in water. The only part of the brush that should get wet is the hair of the brush. If the ferrule, or metal piece, of the brush gets wet, it loosens the glue that keeps the bristles attached to the brush which will ultimately ruin your makeup brush.
  2. Never dry your brushes standing up. See above. Your brush will shed and it will be ruined.
  3. Use cleaning products that you would feel comfortable using on yourself. There are plenty of DIY brush cleaners and brush cleaners with different cleaning agents, but use something that you feel comfortable with. If you have sensitive skin, use a light and or organic cleaner.
  4. Make sure to not leave behind any residue. When cleaning your brushes it is important that during the rinsing process the water eventually runs clear. There shouldn’t be any makeup residue or cleaning residue left behind.
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