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Quick Cleaning Guide: Makeup Brushes

It’s a drag but we all know we have to clean our makeup brushes and other application tools. While we all know we have better things to do, having clean brushes and makeup tools is right up there with brushing our teeth and doing the washing. The truth is, dirty makeup on brushes and sponges can be harmful to your skin.

When you apply makeup your brush or sponge comes into contact with oils on your skin. These oils then build-up on the brush and when reused can cause skin flare-ups and breakouts such as achene. Additionally, the makeup build-up on brushes can cause them to deteriorate. This will affect your makeup application in the long run.

When should I clean my makeup brushes?

Uncleaned brushes and sponges can be the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. To prevent this, you should be cleaning your brushes at least once a week if not more often. This is especially true for brushes used on sensitive areas including around the eyes and lips. If you are using makeup sponges, you should be cleaning them once every week.

When should I replace my makeup application tools?

While some high-end makeup brush brands can last you a lifetime, others will show signs of needing replacement much sooner. One sure-fire way to see if your brushes need replacing is to look at the hairs. If the brush hairs start falling out or have split ends, you should look at replacing them. With regular care and cleaning, your brushes should last quite long.

Here’s my quick guide for cleaning your makeup brushes:

Overall there’s a big debate on whether you should be using chemicals to clean your makeup brushes to not. What you choose to use is up to you, but remember, using strong chemical cleaners can damage your brushes. Here I’ve gone over two methods of cleaning you can use.

Cleaning Spray

A cleaning spray can be homemade or bought. Choose the one that suits you best.

  • Holding the brush pointed down and give the hair a few good squirts of cleaning solution. You do not want to hold the brushes facing upwards because the mixture could seep into the bristle base loosening the glue.
  • Twist the brush around on a paper towel to loosen makeup pigments.
  • Allow drying on a flat surface.

Liquid Cleaner

Use this method if you have specialised makeup application cleaners.

  • Put a small amount of cleaning in a dish.
  • Dip your brush into the solution.
  • Brush as if painting over a clean paper towel until the brush feels clean and all makeup is removed.
  • Allow drying on a flat surface.

Deep Clean

If you haven’t cleaned your brushes in a while, you may want to use this method.

  • Run lukewarm water over the tips your brushes holding the brush pointed down
  • Drop a little soap on a textured cleaning pad and swirl your brushes over the soap to create a lather.
  • Rinse under clean water and remember to avoid wetting the base of the bristles.
  • Squeeze out excess soap and water and lay your brushes on a flat surface to dry.
  • Do not dry your brushes with a hairdryer as it will damage the bristles.

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