How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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woman holding three makeup brushes

Raise your hand if you can’t remember the last time you cleaned your makeup brushes. We’ve all been there despite how we should actually be cleaning them on the regular for sanitary purposes as well as for the sake of our brushes. If you’re not sure how exactly you should go about cleaning your makeup brushes, read through the following tips to help get you started.

Decide If They’re Worth Saving
Not every brush can be saved. If your brushes get to the point where they’re too far gone, such as if the bristles are shedding or they don’t look anything close to what they should, it’s better to toss them and replace them. In addition to your makeup going on improperly, you don’t want to take the chance of getting a skin issue because of bacteria build-up.

Use A Gentle Brush Cleanser
You don’t have to go out and buy anything super fancy to clean your makeup brushes. A gentle brush cleanser, your (clean) hands and a cloth, and water will do fine, just make sure to thoroughly wash out all the cleanser. You can find brush cleanser online and in any makeup store, but read online reviews before making a purchase to ensure that it’s worth the buy.

makeup artist using spray cleanser to clean brush

Don’t Be Rough with the Brush
There are some who—in an effort to get the brushes clean—will tug, pull, scrub, and be overly rough with the tools, but that can cause them damage. Don’t tug or scrub at the bristles, smash them against your palm, squeeze them too hard, or basically do anything that could damage the brush in any way. The gentler you are, the better.

Be Careful with the Water
Don’t hold the brush vertically and let water run over the bristles, and also, keep the base of the bristles away from the water as much as possible as it could wear off the glue that holds the bristles onto the handle. It’s also one of the reasons you should never stand your brushes upright to dry. Doing so could cause the water to drip down into the base and eventually loosen the bristles. Don’t forget to (gently!) squeeze excess water out of the brushes and reshape them before setting them down to dry.

Dry Your Brushes Properly
When it comes to drying your makeup brushes, it’s important to do so properly to help extend their lifespan. This means by not putting your now-clean bristles on any surface, even if it’s on a paper towel or a cloth towel. Let them hang off the edge of a table, desk, counter, etc, while you have the handle on a clean towel. Also, don’t let brushes dry in the bathroom. It’s going to defeat the purpose of cleaning them if someone inadvertently flushes the toilet with the lid still up and your brushes are in close proximity.

What it comes down to is that—even though cleaning your makeup brushes regularly can seem like a bit of a hassle—it’s you doing right by your skin and essentially your health. Our skin does a lot for us, so we may as well reciprocate, right?

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