Cleaning Makeup Brushes

We get up in the morning, shower, wash our face, apply moisturizer and then our makeup. Every day is the same routine and we really don’t even think about it much. If I may ask my Beauties, how often do you clean your brushes?

Our face constantly produces oil with natural bacteria present which can transfer to our makeup. This is why we toss it every so many months. But those same oils and bacteria can also transfer to our brushes. The oils and bacteria not only transfer back into our makeup, but our clean faces and is often partly to blame for breakouts and rashes. Also, brushes are made with either animal hair, human hair or synthetic fiber. Don’t you wash your own hair or a wig on a regular basis? Our makeup brushes should get the same treatment. It keeps them soft and in good shape for years and these babies are an investment that should last many years. Let me show you how it is done.

First assemble your tools. There are a variety of options and while most people have a preference they all work. Shampoo is designed to clean hair so it is a natural choice for your brushes. Makeup remover and face washes like Younique’s Illuminate line are designed to remove makeup and also work well. Both of these options are nice because you already have them in your bathroom. Many people opt for a brush cleaner that is specifically for this purpose. While they can be expensive, many feel that because they are often marketed as antibacterial it is better, especially if you use brushes on other people.

Shampoo, face wash, makeup remover or brush cleaner
Shampoo, face wash, makeup remover or brush cleaner

Next grab all of your brushes and lay them out. Not pictured is a wash cloth to wipe them with.

Let's get those brushes clean!

For the sake of this tutorial I am using a cup with warm water but I normally do this in my bathroom sink. I am simply not skilled enough to hold brushes under running water while taking a picture with my iPad. I have asked Santa for a third hand this year but I don’t think I will be getting one. Anyhoo, get your brushes good and wet. I don’t let them sit in water as water would run down the handle. I have copper ferrule brushes which won’t rust, but that isn’t true of all brushes so just don’t make it a habit.

Put a little face wash in your hand. If using a brush cleaner some will have a spray nozzle so you can saturate the bristles directly.

Wet brushes

When cleaning your brushes do not push down on them in such a way that is not natural to their shape. This will damage them over time. If it is a flat brush, move it back and forth as if applying makeup. A blush brush I move in a circle so it will pick up the cleaner and work it’s way down. Gently squeeze and rub the bristles to work the cleaner all the way through.

Get the cleaner on the bristles without changing the direction and shape they were designed to be.
Get the cleaner on the bristles without changing the direction and shape they were designed to be.

You can see how much makeup came off just 1 crease brush by how dark the color became. (Just pretend you don’t see how dry my hands are right now.)

Icky yucky oil and makeup
Icky yucky oil and makeup

Thoroughly rinse the brush, if any cleaner is left it will not only affect how well it works the next time you use it, there is a good likelihood it will end up in your makeup. Once they are rinsed, use the wash cloth to gently squeeze dry and reshape. Lay them flat on the counter to dry. If you have a lot, leave them on a washcloth so they are not sitting in water that drips off the bristles. Many like to have them hanging slightly over the edge of the counter but I am a big enough klutz that I would knock every one of them onto the floor so I keep them nice and safe next to the sink.

Air dry laying flat.
Air dry laying flat.

Experts disagree on how often you should clean them and say anywhere from every week to once a month. I use such a variety of eye shadows that I clean them every week and often rinse them off when I am done using them daily. I always clean before using on a client. This really only takes about 5 minutes to do and I will often do them during the weekend when I am hanging out at home and cleaning my bathroom. Cleaning them is taking care of an investment and well worth the effort.

I love to hear from you! Do your regularly clean your brushes? Did you notice a difference in how well they worked after cleaning them? Take care and enjoy your weekend.


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