Learning how to clean makeup brushes efficiently and consistently can greatly improve your makeup application, and it’s also better for your skin’s health. Don’t underestimate the impact makeup brushes have on your beauty routine. Brushes can easily become dirty and contaminated with daily use.
Yes, it can be a chore to clean dirty brushes. But you definitely should be cleaning and disinfecting your makeup brushes consistently, and there are easy ways to do it. Read on for facts about dirty makeup brushes and sponges, how often you should be cleaning these beauty tools, and the easiest methods and options available. Plus, you’ll learn some tips to help you identify when old brushes need replacing.
Why Is It Important To Clean Your Makeup Brushes?
Makeup brushes and sponges are prime breeding grounds for bacteria. Product buildup and residual dirt left behind on damp brushes and sponges can create potentially harmful bacteria growth that can easily transfer onto your face the next time you apply makeup. This is especially true for brushes you use for creamier products, such as liquid foundation and lipstick. But even powder makeup brushes are prone to bacteria-breeding residue.1
This bacteria buildup might lead to breakouts and skin irritations. In addition to being more sanitary, clean brushes are more effective at applying product evenly across your skin. This is because makeup brush bristles are porous, and they easily hold onto oils from your face and debris from your makeup. A gunky brush won’t be able to pick up product effectively due to all the buildup. Using a well-cleaned brush may help reduce product waste, streaking, and uneven application that could be undermining your look.2
Wash Your Brushes Weekly
Makeup artists agree that you should wash your brushes once a week, especially the ones you use with wet or creamy makeup products and those used around the delicate eye area. Fluffy brushes you use for dry makeup, like loose powder and blushes, can be washed once every two weeks.3
Spot cleaning is important, too. Beauty pros recommend using makeup brush cleaning sprays to spot-clean your brushes after every use. These are handy disinfectants, especially for your makeup tools, so you may want to look into them if you apply a full face of makeup on a daily basis.4
Different Methods To Clean Makeup Brushes And Sponges
You have several options available when it comes to effectively ridding your brushes and makeup sponges of buildup, dirt, and bacteria. Here are some makeup-maven favorites:
- Professional brush cleaner solutions, which are readily available online;
- Gentle facial cleansers (if it’s good enough for your face, it’s good enough for your brushes);
- Gentle dishwashing soap or antibacterial hand soap (which is strong enough to dissolve tough oils);
- Baby or organic shampoo (gentle enough for delicate bristles)5,6
If you’re a makeup fan, you may have come across special brush-cleaning gadgets, like a brush spinner or silicone mats with a textured surface. These are handy to have, and by all means try them if you feel they can help you keep your tools clean on a more regular basis. But they’re not a necessity when it comes to giving your brushes proper care.
Step-by-Step Guide To Cleaning Makeup Brushes
Here is the simplest, easiest way to wash your brushes. It’s in your skin’s best interest to make this routine a weekly ritual.
- Dip your brush bristles in lukewarm water to wet them thoroughly.
- Place a drop of your chosen brush cleanser on the palm of your hand. Gently swirl the brush around in the palm of your hand to create a lather and soap up your bristles well.
- Thoroughly rinse the bristles with lukewarm water.
- Squeeze out excess water from the brush head using a clean towel. Use clean, dry fingers to shape the brush bristles back into their original form.
- Rest the brush on the edge of the bathroom counter and let it hang to dry fully. Avoid laying your brushes flat on a damp towel — this helps keep mildew from forming.7
What Are Signs Your Brushes Are Ready To Be Replaced?
Generally, good-quality brushes can last for years with the right upkeep. But these are some tell-tale signs your brushes may be ripe for retirement:
- Shedding or splitting bristles
- A foul odor
- Discoloration or product residue that doesn’t come off despite washing
- Cracked, moldy, and smelly sponges should be tossed immediately as well.8
Care For Your Skin By Caring For Your Makeup Brushes
You wouldn’t want to repeatedly dab at your face with dirty fingers, and the same goes for letting dirty makeup brushes touch your skin. After all, these tools are an extension of your hand when it comes to makeup application, and keeping them germ-free is key to keeping your skin clean and healthy as well. Begin a weekly brush-washing habit, and your skin will thank you.
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