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Makeup Brushes, Part II: Do-It-Yourself Brush Cleaning

Welcome to Part II of BellaSugar's detailed look at make-up brushes. Today's installment: do-it-yourself brush cleaning. (To read yesterday's installment on powder brushes, click here.) If you're making an investment in high-quality tools, then it's important that you know the correct way to maintain them. Though people don't often think to wash their make-up brushes, it's very important that you keep them clean, because they harbor lots of dirt and bacteria, which can cause breakouts and make your make-up go on clumpy. Washing brushes will also make them last longer.

Ideally, you should wash any brush that you use for liquid make-up (including concealer, foundation, lip products, cream shadows, and so on) every day. For brushes used with powder, clean them every two weeks. For tips on how to properly clean your brushes,

  • Gently run your make-up brushes under lukewarm water. Swish them around in the sink until the water runs clear. Hold the brush under the water with the handle pointing up so that you don't irreparably damage the brush.
  • Add a small amount of mild shampoo or soap to the palm of your hard and swish your brush around in your hand and then under the water. Keep in mind that natural bristle brushes need gentler soaps.
  • Rinse your hand and the brush thoroughly, then wring out the water from the brush's tip. To retain the shape of the brush hair, gently squeeze to remove all traces of soap and water and place them so they can dry flat on a clean dry towel.

Keep in mind that sharing makeup brushes is not advisable because it may lead to infection.

Join The Conversation
saucyfilipina saucyfilipina 7 years
I currently don't have any brush cleaners. I was gonna try baby shampoo but I just read BerriesMtl's comment about them. I do howevery have some Palmolive. Is that fine because I REALLY need to clean my brushes.
creepupmytee creepupmytee 9 years
nice stuff I'm reading from you all the time, Bellasugar! :D
BerriesMtl BerriesMtl 10 years
Brush cleansers are great, so is anything that is dye and perfume free. Baby shampoo is not. Ingredients in baby shampoos that help keep eyes from burning actually leaves a residue on the brush bristles. I've seen many MAC counters also use liquid dishwashing soap like Dawn and Palmolive. I've been told they are as soft as brush cleansers. While alcohol is terrific for on-the-spot disinfecting, make sure to rinse the brush well after usage. Alcohol is horrible for any bristle and if left over time, damages the hairs, the ferrule and wooden handle. After your done thoroughly rinsing your brushes, make sure you lay them FLAT to dry. Leaving the brushes to soak for hours, holding the bristles up while cleaning, and leaving them in a cup to dry will allow water to penetrate the ferrule and handle. Over time, this will help the glue to undo (hairs will fall) and also damages the handle (cracks). This is the method I use. As an artist, I've had some of my brushes for years and they are still like brand new. Happy cleaning!
ninabee ninabee 10 years
I use MAC brush cleanser, and baby shampoo + alcohol after freelance makeup jobs.
Gatorbiteu Gatorbiteu 10 years
Thank you, I really did not know how exactly to clean them. I bought the "Too Faced, Teddy Bear Hair" brush set and it was an investment!
aimeeb aimeeb 10 years
I use gentle anti bacterial soap to clean mine!
muchacha muchacha 10 years
well, i've known for awhile that i needed to clean my brushes.. and of course, fab has the tips i'm looking for! muchos gracias!
BeachBarbie BeachBarbie 10 years
Make-up brushes rock!
siouxsie siouxsie 10 years
funny story..the few times i bought make-up brushes...i almost always ended up using them to paint in moments of all my brushes reek of turpentine now...HAHA
DearMissPriss DearMissPriss 10 years
I use SLS/SLES free shampoo, and I wash my brushes with it too. I used to use MAC brush cleaner, but it takes longer and it seems like it's just pink rubbing alcohol with soap suds.
nycgirl nycgirl 10 years
I use my Murad Pomegranate face wash first round (because I figure if it takes makeup off my face it will work on the brush) and then wash it a second time --it usually needs it-- with my shampoo, Bumble & Bumble Gentle, since they are natural hairs, and you shouldn't strip them. I have found that I need to wash my loose powder brush once a month or it will start putting clumps of powder on my face, which makes me look like I'm wearing a powder mask! Ew!
DearMissPriss DearMissPriss 10 years
haha VJ! Jinx....sorta!
DearMissPriss DearMissPriss 10 years
I think the fan brush is for really light application, like a shimmer powder; or you can use it to remove/blend excess powder off your face without messing anything up.
VJ626 VJ626 10 years
I use Philosophy's Purity face wash for my brushes since it's free of dyes and perfumes. Just a little washes a lot! I use the fan brush for contouring cheekbones and dusting away excess shimmer on my cheeks...
jaxon jaxon 10 years
usd to not clean my brushes. I would just get new one every so often. And then I went to a MAC makeup class and realized I was wasting money. STUPID ME!
JennaV JennaV 10 years
The only makeup brush that has ever left me perplexed is the fan-like brush. What in the heck is that for :? Anyone?
t0xxic t0xxic 10 years
Oh and I still know nothing about brushes nor do I own any lol
t0xxic t0xxic 10 years
Yep, my dr told me to buy it to clean all my facial things..
txgirlie txgirlie 10 years
Johnsons baby shampoo is a great product to use for cleaning...just a little tidbit :)
yayita yayita 10 years
I love them but i dont know how to use them :)
JennaV JennaV 10 years
Thanks FabSugar! I just printed this out. I have some REALLY nice brushes and a few Sonya Kashuk and I love them all and want to keep them in good condition as long as possible.
honeysugar28 honeysugar28 10 years
Yeah me too.. GUILTY!!!!
tabloidprincess tabloidprincess 10 years
I love brushes.
DesignRchic DesignRchic 10 years
wow, this is an eye opener for me. I never wash my brushes. *slapping the hand*, bad D, bad D!
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