How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

We all know we should do it, but cleaning makeup brushes can be a massive chore. Not cleaning them, however, can cause major problems. All that junk leftover form previous uses is not going to do any good on your face and a common cause of breakouts is use of unclean brushes. Have you ever got to this stage? Where the once beautifully-coloured tips of your brush hairs resemble a color oddly similar to your face? (Don't be fooled if any of these look even close to clean)

I present: a solution

Brushes featured: Real Techniques Buffing brush, MAC 217, Real Techniques 301 Flat Contour (used as a foundation brush, I'm not that pale)

For spot cleaning, rinsing quickly after each use to prolong the time between big washes, grab yourself a brush cleaner like this budget one I have from the UK. Many companies do them, and Cinema Secrets is rumored to have the best one but I haven't tried it as of yet.

Now spray one to two pumps (or as directed) straight onto your brush hairs and work the brush into a tissue or the palm of your hand (although this will get your hands filthy). This only takes around a minute, and this particular brush cleaner doesn't require rinsing so you can just put your brush in a ventilated area to dry and you're done! Perfect for mornings when you're rushing to class. Cleaning like this, a little every day, helps reduce buildup on the hairs, reducing the chance of you breaking out from your brushes until you can wash them properly. It may seem a little tedious, but so are pimples all over your face!

However, this type of light cleansing isn't enough for long-term, heavy-duty brush use. For that, you need a deep clean. This can be done anywhere from once a week to once a month depending on your rate of use and how squeaky clean you want to get. So grab your shampoo...

This is Dove's Oxygen Moisture shampoo. Cool bottle, eh? This is my real hair shampoo and I would recommend it for both cleansing purposes.

Head to the bathroom, dampen your brush, squeeze a little shampoo (roughly a pea-sized amount for most face brushes and smaller for other brush types) and just like before, swirl the brush in the palm of you hand. I'd recommend the palm method more for the deep cleanse since you'll definitely be washing your hands afterwards (since you're already in the bathroom) and it allows the brush to pass over the many crevices of your hand (such as between your fingers) and this helps with the cleaning process.

After about a minute of swirling, place the brush under the water stream for around a minute and squeeze the bristles to release the shampoo-and-makeup mixture you've just dislodged from the bristles. Do this until you can't feel any more shampoo in the hairs, or until the water runs clear.

TIP: Don't face the brush upwards into the water source. You want it going in the same direction as the water. This is because the water could mess with the glue that fixes the bristles to the handle, meaning your brush will shed more, and eventually break. A MAC 217 is $25, so try as much as you can to only dampen the bristles, not the handle.

Some 'well-loved' brushes (such as this Buffing Brush) will take a few repeated of this process. My RT 301, however, only needed one cycle, as did my MAC 217. Generally, foundation brushes will be the biggest pains since they're used the most consistently and with the most difficult consistency of product to remove - liquids.

Eye brushes, as well as other kinds of tool (including sponges) follow the same routine. Watch out with smaller brushes that you don't splay the hairs and ruin the direction they lie in when swirling in your hand, though. Since these brushes are smaller and used for more precise work, it's key to avoid the elementary-school-crazy-paintbrush look. You know what I'm talking about.

Make sure all the shampoo is washed out of the brushes. Since its formulated for contact with skin it won't make your brushes bad to use, but just to be sure (especially with the eye brushes) give them a couple more rinses than you think it's necessary.

Once you've cleaned your brush, lay it on some tissue. Then, when you're finished deep cleaning all your dirty brushes, place the tissue in a well ventilated area, such as by a window. Again, to make sure the water doesn't seep into the glue, elevate the handle of the brush so the hairs are facing downwards. I did this here by folding the tissue on itself a few times before placing the brushes on it.

So go forth into the world, my friends, and work that breakout-free face now you know how to clean your makeup brushes like a pro!

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