Caring For Your Makeup Brushes

July 21, 2009



If you use makeup brushes, they should be washed about once a week to help keep them clean, in good condition, and bacteria-free. Making sure your brushes are well cared for will help them to last longer. It doesn’t matter what brush cleaner you choose, the important thing is that you are washing them. Personally, I like using Sephora Purifying Brush Shampoo ($6 for 2 oz or $14 for 6. 75 oz) or Philosophy Purity Made Simple Facial Cleanser ($10-40 for sizes ranging from 3 oz to 24 oz), which is gentle enough to use on brushes. I highly recommend investing in a good brush cleanser (drug store vs high end is a personal preference) since they are meant specifically for brushes. In a pinch (say, you run out of brush cleaner) you can also use a mild facial cleanser.

To clean your brushes, you’ll need a sink with running lukewarm water, paper towels or a small clean towel (optional), a small bowl (optional) and your brush cleaner of choice. Rinse your brush with lukewarm water, then apply a small amount of brush cleaner in your bowl or in the palm of your hand. Gently massage brush cleaner through bristles and rinse. You’ll know your brush is clean when the water runs clear. I like using a small bowl (glass or stainless) so that I don’t get super crinkly hands (I have a lot of brushes). Gently wipe away excess water with a paper towel or clean towl and lay flat to dry.

***ALWAYS, always, always lay your brushes flat to dry on a counter or flat surface!Drying them bristle side up in a cup or brush holder will allow water to seep into the ferrule (the part of the brush that joins the bristles with the handle. This is usually made out of a metal) and can destroy your brush if it is glued. I like to lay mine on a paper towel or small clean towel to catch any extra water as my brushes dry. I also advise NOT to dry your brush upside down (bristles towards the ground, handle facing up) as this can cause your brush to dry in a funky shape.

If you have brushes with white bristles, you can do a few things to help ensure they don’t stain. If you have time after using them, use a spray on brush cleaner to help remove some of the color. Spray cleanser on a paper towel and wipe the brush until color is removed. You may have repeat this step a few times. Later on when you have time, follow the instructions above for weekly cleaning ASAP. You can, if your brush is synthetic (meaning the bristles are man-made and not from an animal), use Dawn Dish Soap to clean your brush (remember: this is only for synthetic brushes! This method may be too harsh on natural brushes). I’d advise to skip buying white brushes altogether as they are very much a pain to keep white. I own a few and try to only use them with light colored powders to avoid staining.

Be sure to store them in a place where the bristles won’t bend and will hold their shape. I like to use my brush belts and a brush roll to store them. Brush rolls are fantastic because they have individual slots to help keep your brushes separate from each other and organized. You can find decent priced brush rolls on etsy in cute patterns by doing a search. If you are keeping your brushes in an overstuffed makeup bag, the bristles may get bent. If this happens, reshape them after washing before laying them flat to dry.

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