How to Properly Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Dirty makeup brushes? We can help. Learn how best to clean your brushes

Keep your makeup brushes pristine with these cleaning tips

Do you suffer from acne? Skin irritation? Dry or patchy skin? While hormones and environmental factors could be causing these pesky things, there's a good chance dirty makeup brushes are to blame.

If you've invested in a good set of makeup brushes, washing those brushes may seem like a no-brainer. But the truth is that plenty of women fail to do so regularly enough to avoid the occasional breakout or two. And believe it or not, the way you wash your makeup brushes could have an impact on how clean they stay as well. So get your suds and makeup brushes ready: it's time to get clean!

Why you must clean your brushes regularly

Did you know that washing some of your brushes as frequently as once a week is necessary to prevent breakouts and skin irritation? While this may not sound fun, it's simply something you need to do if you use your brushes on a regular basis. That's because bacteria can build up in your brushes, whether it's your contour brush, eyeshadow brush, or foundation brush.

Because these brushes come into contact with tons of germs from your eyes, mouth, and blemishes, bacteria build-up in your brushes is unavoidable. That's one of the reasons why you shouldn't ever share dirty brushes with friends or family members even if you feel perfectly healthy. Sharing these germs can lead to eye infections, cold sores and more. Needless to say, when it comes to brushes, sharing isn't caring!

Because your eye brushes can contain the most bacteria and can become somewhat dangerous to your health, be sure to wash them at least once a week. Other brushes, such as  your foundation or blush brush, can be washed every week or every other week, depending on how much you use them.

How to clean brushes the right way

If you find yourself putting off cleaning your makeup brushes and sponges because you assume it'll take tons of time and effort, think again. Cleaning your brushes may take a little time out of your daily routine, but it really couldn't be much easier.

First, wet the bristles of your brush with lukewarm water. Take a dab of gentle soap, whether it be unscented liquid hand soap or even a basic facial cleanser, and put it in the palm of your hand (you can also put the glob in a glass or mug along with a little water if you prefer). Take one of your makeup brushes and gently rub the brush into the glob of soap you're holding. You may notice makeup immediately fall off the brush.

Once you've massaged the brush into the soap for 30 seconds or so, go ahead and rinse off the brush with lukewarm water. With a clean towel, squeeze out any moisture that is still trapped in the bristles. With your fingers, reshape the head of the brush so that it dries in the shape it's supposed to.

Drying your brushes

Drying your brushes is very important. You want to make sure they become completely dry so additional bacteria doesn't begin to grow in there. To ensure the bristles dry completely, place your brush on the edge of a countertop with the brush head hanging just over the edge. Don't ever let the bristles dry on top of a towel since this is a great way for the brush to develop mildew.

Another big drying no-no? Never dry your brushes vertically, bristles facing upward. This causes water to trickle down into the base of the brush, loosening glue as it seeps through. This will significantly shorten the life of your beloved makeup brushes.

As for cleaning your makeup sponges, go through the same steps. When it comes time to dry them, you can lay them on a towel, just be sure to flip them over as they dry so mildew doesn't form. Or better yet, if you have a clean, dish-drying rack, you can pop them on there as well!

How to know if it's time to replace a brush

If you notice that after cleaning brushes you've had a while, they aren't getting as clean as they used to, it's a sign that their time is up. While it may seem crazy to throw away brushes you've only bought six months to a year earlier, it'd be even crazier to keep using it knowing it's causing your skin to break out and feel irritated.

However, there are some well-made brushes that can last for years at a time. The important things to look for are if the brushes develop an odor, they look dingy, or if they shed a lot of bristles. If they seem just as good as they did when you first bought them, keep using them to your heart's content!

Resources — Allure, Elle


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