HOW TO CLEAN MAKEUP BRUSHES EASILY AND QUICKLY
Cleaning makeup brushes is a must. It’s tempting to just pick up yesterday’s foundation brush, keep on buffing powder with it, and reuse it for today’s makeup look—but for your own peace of mind, cleaning your makeup brushes is really, really, truly worth it for a variety of health reasons.
As makeup and oils build up on brushes and sponges, they create a breeding ground for bacteria and other microorganisms, which can cause breakouts, stye, staph, or even herpes outbreaks. Using dirty makeup brushes and sponges can lead to not only skin irritation but also potential infections. That’s not to mention the longevity of your brushes themselves. Gunk and buildup that gathers on dirty makeup brushes can also cause them to deteriorate more quickly, affecting your makeup application.
There are a variety of methods for washing brushes and makeup puff or sponges—from swirling with dish soap and olive oil to putting your Beauty blender in the microwave—but it's often best to seek out expert advice. Here, we asked three makeup artists for their suggestions on exactly how to clean makeup brushes, when it’s worth purging your makeup brushes, and which cleaners and cleaning accessories they like to use.
How often should you be cleaning your makeup brushes?
Because makeup brushes can be such a breeding ground for bacteria, makeup brushes and sponges should be washed at least once per week. This is a good policy for tools used in the delicate eye area, and particularly if the tools are used for liquid and cream-based products, which are more likely to become contaminated. For tools used with dry powders only, it is a more challenging environment for microbes to grow in, and those concentrated on other areas of the face like the cheeks and brows, wash your brushes at least every other week.
Clean your personal brushes with soap and water once a week, and do touch-ups in between with a brush-cleaning spray (typically after every use) you can also rub alcohol wipes for more delicate tools like lip brushes.
For makeup sponges, in particular, clean them after every single use with liquid soap or bar soap.
When should you replace your makeup brushes and sponges altogether?
Everyone seemed to agree that if you treat your makeup brushes right, you can use them faithfully for years without running into issues. Some very rarely throw a brush away and if it doesn’t make the cut for their makeup kit any longer, it would be usually recycled using them for craft art brushes.
It all depends on your mileage, and how regularly you’re using your brushes, but the real signs that you need to throw a brush away, is when you notice the brush hairs are splitting off or falling out, or have a foul smell. Ditto for makeup sponges. To prolong the life of your brushes, wash the container that your makeup brushes sit in a cleaning every once in a while.
And if you’re noticing that the bristles on your brushes are getting mangled from being stuffed in the same cramped container, go an extra mile and slip brush guards on your brushes to keep them in good condition.
The Tools You’ll Need
There are lots of makeup-brush cleaners out there.
Or you can opt for a liquid brush cleaner. Most makeup artists that we spoke with used liquid brush cleaners, it preserves brushes longer, and conditions without leaving an oily sheen behind. Lots of makeup lovers, and even the pros, look to everyday dish soaps and hand soaps to deep-clean their brushes; they’re gentle enough to use on makeup brushes and contain the ingredients to break down oils and powders. Deep-cleaning of professional brushes with Soap breaks down makeup buildup easily squeaky-clean in between jobs. Use liquid hand soap or liquid dish soap for natural-hair brushes, It leaves a clean smell and gets all of the color off of my brushes.”
Certain types of cleansers can be more effective at removing certain makeup products. Deep-cleaning with bar soap is ideal for removing creamier products, such as concealers, lipsticks, and foundations, from synthetic brushes
During the cleansing process, using textured cleaning mitts and mats can help break up even the most budge-proof makeup residue, and they’re extra efficient since they’re often divided into sections with varying textures that are designed to break up pigment on all your different tools—from fan brushes to sponges—based on each tool's shape and bristle length.
The Step-by-Step Method
Overall, the makeup artists we spoke to had very similar methods for cleaning makeup brushes with different types of products. We distilled all their methods below, with some additional tips from each expert. If you’re cleaning a makeup sponge, the same methodology applies, though you’re really going to want to stick to liquid cleaners or bar soaps.
Quick-cleaning with a spray:
Spray your brush a few times, with the heads pointing down to prevent any moisture from seeping into the glue.
Swirl your brush against a clean cloth or paper towel to loosen up the pigments.
Air-dry your brushes on a flat surface.
Quick-cleaning with a liquid cleaner:
Fill a small bowl with a thin layer of the solution (for super-concentrated options like Cinema Secrets, less is more).
Dip the tip of your brush into the solution.
Gently run your brush back and forth on a clean paper towel or a microfiber towel until all the product buildup is loosened up and your brush feels clean.
Air-dry your brushes on a flat surface.
Deep-cleaning with soap and water:
Holding your brushes with the bristles facing down, gently run lukewarm water in the sink and wet the tips of the bristles. You don’t want the water to get inside the barrel of your brushes because over time it can break down the adhesive that is holding your brush together and possibly erode your brush handles if they are made of wood. You don’t want to fully submerge the brush bristles, and you should avoid rinsing under hot water, “which can loosen up the glue.”
Add a drop of your soap of choice to a textured cleansing pad (or even something like your palm), and swirl the brush into the soap until it’s fully lathered up and any pigment or dirt is removed. Or, if you’re using bar soap, gently rub your makeup brush or sponge into the soap, creating a lather.
Gently squeeze your makeup brush or sponge to remove any excess cleanser or water.
Rinse again with clean water, with the bristles facing downward. You don’t want to fully submerge the brush bristles, and you should avoid rinsing under hot water, “which can loosen up the glue.”
Gently squeeze out any excess water, and mold your bristles back into place so they will dry correctly.
Lay your brushes flat to dry on a towel or paper towel or leaves the brush heads hanging over a table edge, so there’s air circulating around the entirety of the bristles.
Want to speed up the drying? direct the breeze from a fan on the makeup brushes. Just make sure that you’re avoiding heat from devices like hairdryers, which can dry out the bristles.
.HOW TO WASH MAKEUP BRUSHES
We paint, contour, and highlight our faces with makeup brushes every day, but we can't always say the same thing about how frequently we're cleaning those brushes. Giving them a thorough washing every month or so is not enough. According to dermatologists and makeup artists, we should foam up our tools far more often in order to prevent bacteria buildup, which can lead to breakouts.
But there's much more to properly cleaning your makeup tools than regularity. Read on to find out how to clean up your makeup brushes the right way, according to experts.
How often should you clean your makeup brushes?
Most dermatologists will tell you to soak your tools, especially foundation and concealer brushes, once a week — minimum — to prevent product buildup. Because these brushes are used on your face, the cleaner they are the better. For eye shadow and liner brushes, however, brushes that are used around the eyes should be cleaned at least twice a month.
Protect Your Color
Frequent cleaning doesn't just help keep your skin cleaner. Makeup artists recommend soaping up your makeup brushes regularly can extend the life of the bristles and make for better product applications. Brush hairs and sponges are porous, so they hold onto oils, debris, and bacteria. If your brushes are dirty, your application will be spotty and blending will be difficult.
What should you use to clean your makeup brushes?
The best and most thorough method for cleaning your tools requires water and either a gentle soap (regular soaps can dry out the bristles, especially if they are made of natural hair) or a brush cleanser.
There are dozens of cleansers made specifically for cleaning brushes, but makeup some artists use Professional Makeup Brush Cleaner, which is made from food-grade solvents to gently dissolve powder, liquid, and wax-based makeup. If you'd prefer not to buy a cleanser specifically for your brushes, though, your favorite face wash may be all you need.
And some dishwashing liquids are good too. Makeup artists use gentle soaps they use on their dishes and silverware for their brushes.
What's the right way to clean makeup brushes?
Clean, good-as-new makeup brushes and sponges are just seven steps away:
Wet the bristles with lukewarm water.
Place a drop of your cleanser of choice into the palm of your clean hand.
Gently massage the tips of the bristles in your palm.
Rinse the bristles thoroughly.
Squeeze out the excess moisture with a clean towel.
Re-form the brush head back into its original shape.
Let the brush dry with its bristles hanging off the edge of a counter, which allows it to dry in the correct shape. Never let your brushes dry on a towel — the bristles can turn mil-dewy.
Mid-wash, be sure to keep the base of the brush head (where it connects to the handle) away from soap and water. The bristles are glued to the base, and water and detergent can cause the glue to disintegrate and the bristles to come loose and shed. Also, avoid drying brushes vertically with the bristles up — this can cause water to leak into the ferrule (the piece that joins the bristles to the handle), which also will loosen the glue and lead to bristle loss.
What about brush-cleaning tools?
Although the method above is completely sufficient, some pros like to use accessories to ensure the most thorough cleansing.
Brush Cleaner uses a sponge that looks like a stipple sponge, but it cleans makeup brushes without soap or water. To use, simply swirl your brushes around the sponge to loosen the powder makeup stuck to them, and just like that your brushes are clean. The friction of the bristles scraping against the sponge is what gives the product its cleaning effect. That's it — no special chemicals or secrets. Just make sure to wash the makeup sponge routinely to prevent bacteria growth
using the glove to wash your makeup brushes — instead of your bare hands — will result in a faster, more effective deep clean.
How often do you need to replace makeup sponges?
Regular makeup sponges (the inexpensive kind that come in bulk bag) aren't meant to be reused — toss those after a single-use. Microbial-resistant sponges are meant to be reused and can be safely used for three to four months. As with makeup brushes, make sure to clean your sponge at least once a week, as the sponges can become filled with skin cells, and bacteria can overgrow.
When is it time to throw away a makeup brush?
Although frequent cleansing can help extend the life of your brushes, there are signs you shouldn't ignore when it comes to determining that they're no longer capable of doing the best job possible.
It's time to toss your makeup brush when the bristles start to fray, shed, or lose their shape. It can't be emphasized enough that the right tools are as important in getting the look you want as the actual makeup itself. If your brushes become too pinched or squashed, then they simply will not be up to the job.
HOW TO CLEAN MAKEUP BRUSHES
If you want your skin to stay clear and healthy -- and your makeup to go on as flawlessly as possible -- you must wash your makeup brushes regularly to get rid of old makeup residue, bacteria, and other germs. But that doesn't mean you have to buy an expensive brush cleaner from the store. You can make your own at home with ingredients that you probably already have. Make a basic version with just two ingredients, use all-natural ingredients for a gentle cleanser, or whip up a spray that you can actually use to spot clean your brushes every day.
Basic Brush Cleaner
2 parts antibacterial dish soap
1 part olive oil
Natural Brush Cleaner
½ cup (118 ml) witch hazel
2 teaspoons (10 ml) liquid castile soap
1 cup (237 ml) distilled water
1 teaspoon (5 ml) nourishing oil, such as olive, jojoba, or almond
Daily Brush Cleaner
2 ounces (59 ml) distilled water
5 ounces (148 ml) isopropyl alcohol
10 to 15 drops essential oil
Method 1 of 3:
Preparing Basic Brush Cleaner
1.Mix the soap and olive oil. On a small plate, combine 2 parts of antibacterial dish soap with 1 part of olive oil. Swirl the two together with a spoon until they’re fully mixed.
The antibacterial soap will kill any germs or bacteria on the brushes, while the olive oil will help break down stubborn makeup so the brushes rinse clean.
Don’t use a paper plate for mixing the cleaner. The oil will seep through paper.
2.Wet your brushes. Take the brushes that you plan to clean and run them under lukewarm water. Run your fingers over the bristles to ensure that they’re all completely wet.
Be careful to hold the brushes with the bristles facing down when you wet them. If water gets inside the brushes, the part of the brushes just below the bristles that holds them to the handle, it may loosen the glue so bristles start falling out.
3. Dip the brushes in the cleaner and work it through the bristles. Coat all of the brushes’ bristles with the soap mixture. Next, run the brushes back and forth over the palm of your hand to work the cleaner in. Keep moving the brushes over your hand until the suds are no longer colored with makeup.
For extremely dirty makeup brushes, you may need to wipe off the suds and dip the brushes in the cleaner a second time.
3.Rinse the brushes and air dry them. Once the soapy residue is no longer colored, run the brushes under lukewarm water until no suds come out of the bristles. Gently reshape the wet bristles with your fingers, and lay them flat to air dry.
If possible, lay your brushes flat on the edge of a table or counter so the bristles hang over the edge. That will keep any moisture from seeping into the ferrule.
Method 2 of 3:
Creating Natural Brush Cleaner
1.Combine all of the ingredients in a container. Add ½ cup (118 ml) of witch hazel, 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of liquid castile soap, 1 cup (237 ml) of distilled water, and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of nourishing oil, such as olive, jojoba, or almond, in a mason jar or other container. Put a lid on the container, and shake it well to thoroughly mix all of the ingredients.
The witch hazel in the cleaner is antibacterial so it kills any germs on your brushes. The castile soap removes makeup residue and other dirt. The oil also helps break down makeup and helps condition the brushes too.
Because the oil may separate from the other ingredients, always shake the cleaner before using it.
2.Dip the brushes into the cleaner and allow them to soak. When you’re ready to clean your brushes, pour some of the cleaner into a small bowl or cup. Place the brushes in the cleaner, and let them soak for 5 to 10 minutes.
If you prefer, you can put the cleaner in a spray bottle, spray some on the brushes, and then rub the bristles over a towel.
3.Rinse the brushes and let them dry. After the brushes have soaked for several minutes, remove them from the cleaner. Run them under lukewarm water in the sink to rinse them, and carefully shape the wet bristles with your fingers. Set the brushes out on a counter or table to air dry.
Be sure not to dry the brushes with the bristles up in the air. Water can drip back into the brushes’ ferrule, which can cause bristles to fall out.
Method 3 of 3:
Mixing Up Daily Brush Cleaner
1.Pour the alcohol into a spray bottle. Add 5 ounces (148 ml) of isopropyl alcohol to a clean plastic or glass spray bottle. Make sure that there is enough room at the top of the bottle to mix in the water and oil.
For the best results, use 70% isopropyl alcohol in the brush cleaner spray. The alcohol doesn’t just serve as a disinfectant for the brushes; it also helps the cleaner dry more quickly so you can spot clean your brushes and use them right away.
Your spray bottle should hold at least 8 ounces (237 ml).
2.Add the water and oil. With the alcohol in the spray bottle, pour in 2 ounces (59 ml) of distilled water and 10 to 15 drops of your favorite essential oil. Shake the bottle well to ensure that all of the ingredients are fully mixed.
The essential oil is meant to cover the alcohol scent of the cleaner, so you can use whichever fragrance you prefer. However, you may want to use an oil with antibacterial properties, such as eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender, or tea tree oil.
Because the oil may separate from the other ingredients, always shake the spray well before using it.
3.Spray the brushes with the cleaner and rub on a towel. To use the cleaner, lightly spray the bristles of the brushes. Run the brushes back and forth over a towel or piece of paper towel. Allow the brush to air dry for a minute or two, and then use the brush as you normally would.
Feel the brushes’ bristles before using them after cleaning to make sure that the cleaner has dried completely.