Beauty

A Guide to Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes

Sep 10, 2016

You wouldn't think twice about washing your clothes on a regular basis or changing your toothbrush every so often, but for some reason, the tools we reach for to apply makeup sometimes get neglected.

Don't get us wrong: We've experienced many mornings where we sit down to put on foundation or eyeshadow and think some variation of "Oops, I definitely meant to clean these last night. I'll just do it tonight!" Well, after a long day at the office (and a couple glasses of wine later), the last thing you're likely to remember to do is lather up your angled liner brush in the sink. And so the vicious cycle of uncleanliness begins. But we're on the case to save your bacteria-caked brushes (and skin!). Without further ado, here's everything you need to know about cleaning your brushes and keeping them that way.

If you use your brushes on a daily basis, there's a good chance you're accumulating product buildup. To rid brushes of any caked-on makeup as well as bacteria, reach for a liquid brush cleanser or a bar soap specifically formulated for getting rid of makeup You can also reach for some dish soap to get the job done, but keep in mind that you're working with harsher chemicals here, which can wear down your brushes more quickly.

When washing your brushes, it's important to always hold them upside-down so water doesn't seep into the ferrule (the metal piece that connects the brush hairs to the handle), and loosen the glue.

Once your tools are squeaky clean, make sure you take the proper steps to dry them, too. Squeeze excess water carefully from the brush and lay it out over an edge to dry. It's also a good idea to put a small towel under the top end of the brush so the head points down toward the ground.

Take care of your brushes in between deep cleans by wiping off any excess product immediately after use either with a clean towel or with a bit of brush cleanser for a quick clean. And if you're going to be using several shades or products at once, we suggest pouring a tiny amount of liquid cleanser into a tiny cup or jar and keeping it accessible to remove buildup quickly in between applications. (Note: this works fine for personal tools, but if you're working on multiple faces, make sure you're giving them a thorough wash because dirt and sebum are real.)

Lastly, make sure to be aware of any changes in color or scent with your cosmetics, as these can be an indication that the product has gone bad. Items packages in tubes (like mascaras and lip glosses) or jars are especially prone since you can't really clean them, unlike lipstick bullets and and powders, which can be disinfected with a light spritz of cosmetic sanitizer mist, which unlike pure alcohol, won't dry out creams or powders or affect pigments in any way.