For all you makeup lovers, have you known how to wash makeup brushes properly? If you’re part of the good majority of makeup users, chances are we forget to give them a good scrubbing after a while.
Unfortunately, as much as we’d love to continue using our fluffy brushes, they’re also the perfect environment for bacteria growth, which can eventually lead to clogged pores, accumulation of bacteria on our skin, and even contribute to breakouts. Eek!
Even the American Academy of Dermatology of Association (AAD) cautions, “Dirty makeup brushes can cause an infection, such as a fungal infection, E. coli, or a staph infection,” besides acne breakouts and rashes.
So how can we tell whether our brushes are in need of a deep clean? Not to mention, how can we cleanse our brushes effectively without losing hair? What is the best way to clean makeup brushes? We’ll give you all the tips and tricks so you know what to do before nailing your next look!
How To Wash Makeup Brushes: Pro Tips
1 – Avoid the Ferrule and The Handle
For the non-experts, the ferrule is the area where the brush bristles are bound together. As a rule of thumb, try your best not to get this area and the handle wet while cleansing your brushes. You can tell when the brush is damaged when you notice loose or shedding brush hair.
2 – Know Your Brush Type
This will help determine what cleaners you can use for your brushes effectively! Usually, your makeup brushes will either come with natural or synthetic hair, and you can rely on the brand you purchased from to tell you what material they use.
But say you threw out the packaging before you took a closer look. Here are some tell-tale signs to discern whether your makeup brush is made with natural or synthetic hair:
Makeup brushes with synthetic bristles are usually made with nylon, Taklon, or polyester fibers. When you take a glance, you can tell that these bristles are shinier, especially under light.
Makeup brushes with natural hair typically use animal hair such as sable, squirrel or goat, which may make them fragile and dry after washing.
How to Clean Makeup Brushes at Home: Step-By-Step Guide
Soak the brushes
Dilute liquid soap with lukewarm water in a cup. Dip the brush in and let the solution break the makeup down. Remember to keep the liquid below the brush ferrules.
It won’t take more than 10 minutes before you start seeing the makeup residue coming off.
Run the brushes over a cleaning mat or glove with water.
Apply gentle pressure and switch between short and long strokes and swirling motions to avoid damaging the bristles.
Keep the head down while you are rinsing underwater. You can dip the brush into the cleanser again if you feel like the makeup residue still isn’t off. You’ll know your brush is thoroughly clean when the water runs clear.
Squeeze to dry
Remove water by squeezing gently from the ferrule down the bristles. Again, keep your brush head down during the process to prevent damage.
Leave them on a dry towel as you work with the rest of the makeup tools.
Remove extra moisture
Use another towel to massage the brushes dry. Be patient with this process.
If the manual work isn’t for you, you can even invest in a tool like the StylPro Brush Cleaner to get the work done. Attach your brush to the spinner, let it spin for several seconds, and voila!
Hang the brush head down on a drying rack or a brush tree. Reshape the hair with mesh covers and use once the bristles are dry to the touch.
Some Tips You Need to Know for Cleansing Brushes
- Keep the brushes head down when washing under running water and when you dry them.
- If you are soaking them with a cleaning solution, use a small bottle and keep the liquid level in contact with the hair only.
- Don’t use hot or boiling water. As much as we’d like to think that hot or boiling water can help disinfect our brushes, it would only melt off the glue holding the hairs together. Instead, opt for warm water when cleaning your brushes.
- For makeup brushes with animal hair, you can fix dry bristles with a little bit of hair conditioner.
If you’d like a more thorough cleanse, you can try using these popular brush cleansers:
How To Clean Makeup Brushes With A Spot Cleaner
If you can’t invest time to stand over the sink or you’re in a pinch, you can consider cleaning your makeup brushes with a spot cleaner.
A spot cleaner is a no-rinse wash that effectively removes all makeup residue from your brushes at a fraction of the time spent. Since your spot cleaner comes in a spray bottle or as a liquid, you’ll want to use a tissue or paper towel.
- Spray (or damp) the spot cleaner on the tissue or paper towel.
- Press and move your brush in a back-and-forth motion onto the paper towel.
- Be sure to use light pressure to let the makeup residue come off without damaging the bristles.
What brushes work best with a spot cleaner?
Spot cleaners work best with small-sized brushes, particularly concealer, eye, or lip brushes. Although you can theoretically use spot cleaners for big brushes, we found that it might not be enough to remove the makeup residue completely due to the thick buildup.
Not sure what spot cleaners to use? Here are some highly rated products:
How do you clean makeup sponges?
Your beauty blender sponges can hold just as much bacteria – if not more – than your makeup brush. That’s because beauty blenders are meant to be used damp, which can cause grime and bacteria to cling onto the spongy fibers.
Store this still damp blender into a makeup bag and you created the perfect moist, dark environment for mold and mildew to grow!
Fortunately, you can prevent mold growth by thoroughly washing your makeup sponge with soap and water after every use.
As you work the liquid soap into the sponge, give the tool a few good squeezes to “push” out any makeup residue and product from the inside-out. Rinse thoroughly, squeeze out excess water and leave your beauty blender sitting on a well ventilated and cool area to dry completely before your next use.
How Often Should You Clean Your Makeup Brushes?
In an ideal world, cleaning your brushes at least once every 7 to 10 days is perfect for preventing bacterial growth. However, not everyone has time to do a massive cleaning every week.
If you’re using certain makeup brushes sparingly or you’re using powder formulas (we’re talking about eyeshadow, contour, highlight, finishing powder, and blush), you can pull off deep cleansing for up to a month.
Unfortunately, this rule won’t apply to your foundation or concealer brushes, so it’ll be best to give them a good wash every week.
What to Clean Makeup Brushes With
A brush-washing mat or any similar silicone mat with grooves (for example, a rubber oven mitt) can help clean between the bristles without the bacteria transfer. You can use your palm and fingertips instead if you don’t have one. Make sure to be extra thorough if you’re using your palms since removing all makeup residue takes extra time.
If you’re in a rush or can’t find brush cleaners in your area (it happens!), you can compromise with cleansing agents already available at home. But stay alert that some prospective detergents will either kill your brushes the moment they meet or turn them against you with residues that irritate the skin (especially for sensitive skin).
We recommend mild options such as castile soap, dishwashing soap, or baby shampoo. All of these shampoos might require giving your brushes some extra love to rid them free of makeup residue, but they can work well with removing excess oils and bacteria from your bristles.
Mesh covers can help you reshape the bristles after washing. Some brush racks, such as the Brush Guard, come with shaping bands that allow a quick air-drying process.
Can you clean makeup brushes with Dawn Dish Soap?
Since Dawn Dishwashing Soap is notorious for its strong grease-cutting properties, they can be a decent option for removing makeup residue on your makeup brushes in a pinch. But take care not to rely solely on using the soap. It’s designed to remove stubborn grease, which can potentially lead to damage or potential skin irritation, especially if there’s leftover residue from the bristles.
How do you clean makeup brushes with household items?
For a more “natural” remedy, you can create a mixture using a small amount of oil (olive oil or facial oil) and shampoo. The oil will help to break down the makeup, while the shampoo helps to wash away any remaining impurities.
To clean the brushes, treat the process as if you’re double cleansing: oil first, then shampoo. Repeat several times until you see most of the makeup coming off, then rinse under warm water.
Can you clean makeup brushes with alcohol?
Theoretically, you can use alcohol to disinfect your makeup brushes. Not to mention that most brush cleaners use alcohol in their formulation anyway! But using alcohol solely to wash your brushes can damage the bristles if you’re not careful. This can especially be the case for natural bristles, which are more fragile than their synthetic counterparts.
Can you clean makeup brushes with diluted white vinegar?
Since white vinegar is a natural disinfectant, you can also consider using it in place of alcohol.
However, you might get turned off by the lingering smell that comes with the ingredient (think about smelling vinegar every time you use your brush to apply makeup!) or dissolve the glue holding the bristles together. You can give your brush another wash with soap afterward; the smell should subside once the brush dries.
Can you use shampoo to clean makeup brushes?
Yes, you can. I highly recommend baby shampoo because it is gentle, has a mild fragrance, and is safe for the skin.
Can you wash makeup brushes with coconut oil?
Yes, you can use coconut oil to break down the makeup. Make sure your coconut oil is in its liquid form before using.
Read more articles:
- Why Skincare Makeup Hybrid Products Are Popular in 2023
- 15 Best Oil-Free Moisturizers for Oily, Sensitive, Dry, Anti-Aging Skin
- 11 Best Sunscreen Sticks for Face: Acne Prone, Oily, Sensitive Skin
- The Best Affordable Sunscreens from Korea for Sensitive, Oily, Dry Skin (2023)
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