The Dirt on Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes

cleaning your makeup brushes

One of the basic necessities of a good makeup routine is cleanliness. You don’t want to keep sweeping days’ worth of different cosmetic formulas, bacteria, and settled dust on your face, so set some time aside each week to wash and dry your makeup brushes – I find Sunday nights to be the best. It’s alarming how many of my friends have admitted to not knowing you should do this!

Contrary to what makeup artists may tell you, you really don’t need fancy brush cleaner. If you need a quick clean between shadows, you can spray alcohol on the bristles (or this inexpensive Sephora Collection Daily Brush Cleaner, $6) and wipe away the pigment; but only use alcohol for synthetic bristles, otherwise it can make the authentic animal hair bristles brittle and dry.

The best method I’ve found for cleaning synthetic brushes is to use a baby shampoo like Johnson & Johnson’s. Squeeze a tiny amount into your hand, add water, sweep the brush back and forth in your palm until the color comes out, and rinse.

For animal hair, dip the brush head in olive oil to moisturize the bristles, then make sure to wash it out thoroughly with antibacterial dish soap, otherwise it will leave behind residue that may clog your pores.

Ideally, you want to dry all of your brushes upside down so the water doesn’t sit in the base and erode the glue, but it’s not always possible. Most of the time I lay smaller brushes flat to dry (and reshape them if I need to) on a towel. With fuller ones, like powder and blush brushes, lay them on the towel but make sure the head is hanging over the edge of the table so they can dry back into their full shape.

It’s a bit harder with kabuki brushes, so you have to get creative. I’ve wrapped an elastic around the base twice and secured it around a wall hook to dry upside down, and have also attached magnets to the base and hung the brush upside down from the bottom of the medicine cabinet.

How do you clean your brushes? Share your tips in the comments!

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