The Art of Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes

Make-up brushes

Soap. Wash. Sanitize. Disinfect. These words have been playing at the back of our minds like a broken record for the past two years now. And perhaps, rightly so. It is after all crucial to keep surfaces and products clean in order to avoid having any nasty buildups. And just as we are meant to clean our precious handheld devices and personal items with the utmost care, it is important we treat our makeup brushes and tools the same way too.

Now, you may be wondering… “I wash my beauty blender and brushes with soap after a couple of uses, what else can I possibly do?”

We put so much effort into developing a good skincare routine, taking our makeup off at night, throwing out our foundations when need be, and using the right products for our skin. Why not put in the same effort into making sure our tools remain germ-free so as to prevent any breakouts or possible infections?

[Read Related: 7 “Makeup Rules” you can Kiss Goodbye]

Of course, purchasing a cleansing kit or an electronic makeup brush cleaner should get the job done. But there is an art to guarantee cleanliness. Here are a few points you must bear in mind to ensure your makeup brushes are squeaky clean and remain just as gentle to your skin as they were when you first unboxed them. 

  • Grab a bowl or a cup full of warm water and put all your makeup brushes and tools in. Then, pour some dish soap and mix it with some olive oil or baby shampoo. A good oil-free facial cleanser also works! Make sure the soap is fragrance-free. Let the them soak for a few hours (without getting the metal part too wet); leave overnight if possible. This combination of products is said to effectively remove dirt from bristles and sponges. 

Note: Do some research on whether you makeup brushes have synthetic bristles or are made up of natural fibers. Shampoo will work well with synthetic ones, but a milder soap is a better option for natural brushes. If you have natural bristles, add some coconut oil with lemon to condition after washing, as you would with your own hair!

  • Try to wash your brushes at least once a month. This frequency is dependent on how often you use them to put on makeup. Personally, if I put on makeup almost every day, I will wash my most-used tools every week. However, if I don’t apply makeup as often, I would just clean them once or twice a month.
  • If you are using your makeup tools to apply a liquid product, wash them after every use. Be it a brush or a porous sponge, the oil and moisture from the foundation/liquid/blush/highlighter, etc. can cause buildup after a while, which then leads to bacteria growth.
  • Wash your makeup brushes even if you do not use them. That’s right. Even if it’s a smokey eye brush that you only use once a month, try to clean it periodically. This helps get rid of any dust that gets collected overtime.
  • Of course you want to wash a tool with any remaining coloured pigment, especially when it comes to eyeshadow and blush/contour brushes. What if you want to use the same eyeshadow brush for two different shades? I use a makeup wipe or better yet, a quick brush cleaning spray in between uses.
  • How you wash them is as important as how often you wash them. Cleaning mats work perfectly, but no worries if you do not have one. If you have a spare toothbrush that works wonders too. Or just with your bare palm, give the bristles a good rub after the brush has been soaked for some time. Wash with lukewarm water while holding the brushes downward. Squeeze out any excess water. Dry by hanging them down or laying them flat on a cloth or paper towel.

  • FYI, throw your mascara out if it’s been in use for more than three months! Did you know that mascaras are a picnic spot for bacteria? 
  • Grab some rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer on a Q-tip or a cotton ball to clean eyelash curlers, makeup pencil sharpeners, tweezers, and other hair tools. Air dry afterwards.
  • Try not to share makeup brushes and tools with anyone, even if you routinely clean them. Especially the ones you use around your T-zone. Also avoid sharing lip products. In case you do, wipe down the surface of lipsticks and lip gloss applicators with a makeup wipe or some gentle disinfecting ones.
  • Nowadays, for an extra layer of protection, I spray some sanitizer lightly over the bristles and sponges. This is super important if you share tools or are a MUA!

[Read Related: 7 Brown Beauty Enthusiasts Share Their Favorite Dupes, Tips, and Tricks ]

The most important step, however, is to make sure you wash your hands properly before touching your face and/or your makeup tools, particularly that life-saving beauty blender!

PSA: Do not add these tasks to your to-do list, but make them a part of your self-care checklist!

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By Shezda Afrin

Shezda Afrin is an aspiring physician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the age of four, it was quite normal of her … Read more ›