One of the best ways to ensure a professional, polished look is to invest in good quality makeup brushes. And the best way to protect that investment is to keep brushes clean and refreshed with the proper care. Not only do clean brushes reduce breakouts caused by oil and bacteria that can build up on bristles, but they also make application both easier and faster, without contaminating your makeup with skin oils. Here are some tips on how the pros keep their brushes clean and sanitized for years of everyday use.
What to Use
Choose a gentle, lightweight formula to clean brushes, steering clear of strongly scented, harsh cleansers, hand soap or body wash. The goal is to remove dirt and bacteria without damaging the brush and many soaps contain harsh detergents or alcohol that can strip the bristles of their softness.
- If you choose a professional brush cleaner, we recommend Paula Dorf Brush Out Bath. Keep your brushes feeling soft and looking new with this gentle formula designed to cleanse and protect delicate bristles. Use once a week for fresh and flexible brushes.
- You can also use a brush cleaning spray to refresh brushes weekly between deep cleansing.
- Baby shampoo is an effective and inexpensive alternative.
- Vinegar and water: Mix two parts water and one part vinegar; dip your brush in the mixture and rinse in warm water.
- For lipstick brushes, use a grease cutting soap to dissolve more waxy substances.
How to Clean Them
Some specialized brush cleaners have specific instructions, but if you’re using a gentle shampoo or cleanser, here are the basics:
- Rub a dollop of cleanser or baby shampoo in the palm of your hand
- Gently stroke the brush back and forth in the shampoo.
- Rinse in cool water until the water runs clear.
- With your fingers, gently reform the bristles to their original shape.
- Lay the brushes flat to dry with the bristles hanging over the edge of a surface. NEVER dry them upright; this can damage the bristles or handle of the brush.
- If you use a brush cleaner, spray the bristles lightly, then rub them gently back and forth on a cloth (not a tissue, as this can leave little pieces of tissue in the brush) until the cloth stops changing color.
How Often to Clean Them
Most brushes (shadow, powder, blush, eyeliner, brow) should be cleaned at least once a week, even if you don’t have time for a deep clean. It helps to choose a regular day or time in your routine to do this every week. Foundation, concealer and lipstick brushes should be cleaned every day to avoid product drying in the bristles.
If you have problem-prone or sensitive skin, clean your brushes every day as build up or bacteria could be contributing to acne flare-ups or redness. For the best application, clean your brushes between changing colors—so if you’ve worn light brown shadow and now want to wear navy, wash your brushes between color changes to avoid colors looking muddy.
Good quality brushes can last years if you take care of them. Once they start to fray, refuse to lay flat or get fuzzy, it’s time to replace them.
- Avoid sharing makeup brushes with anyone as this can spread germs.
- When cleaning a lipstick brush, first wipe the excess off with a tissue to make it easier to clean.
- If you’re too busy to clean your brushes, use disposable sponges to apply your makeup.
- Avoid pouring water directly onto the metal rim of a brush as water can get underneath the base of the bristles and weaken the glue that holds it together.
- In a pinch, use antibacterial wipes to keep brushes fresh between cleanings.