How to Wash Makeup Brushes

Anyone whose work or hobbies require heavy use of various tools can explain to you the importance of keeping your tools clean and well-maintained. That might be your father, husband, brother – or even you if you’re like me and are kicking ass and taking names in a male-dominated industry. Your brushes and sponges with which you apply makeup (or take it off if you like buttons and internet in your cleansing routine like I do) are your tools. In order to get the best performance and longest functional life from them, it is important to keep them clean. Maintenance does not have to be costly or time-consuming, though – I know I wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of cleaning my brushes with expensive brush shampoos and tools.

How frequently you wash your brushes is typically a preference and usage (as well as how many brushes you have) thing – obviously someone who wears a full face every day should wash more frequently than someone who wears a bit of makeup a few days a week. I don’t wear a full face very often, so I usually wash my brushes every 2-4 weeks with regular usage, more often if I think I need it. Eventually, you’ll be able to tell at a glance when something needs to be washed – the greyish-black brush used for last week’s smokey eye is not going to be so great for today’s light, neutral eye for work so you’ll want to clean it beforehand or reach for a different brush.

Turn your tap to warm (not hot – may damage your brush and not cold because good luck getting, say, foundation out with cold) water and – avoiding to get the ferrule wet – hold the brush under the stream with the bristles angled downwards to saturate the bristles and (hopefully!) rinse away some of the product.

How to Wash Makeup BrushesHow to Wash Makeup Brushes

Next, you’ll need to shampoo the brush – you can buy a cleanser specifically for makeup brushes if you want, but I personally use Johnson’s Baby Wash on my brushes (any baby wash or shampoo will do just fine). It is gentle enough to clean both natural and synthetic bristles without overdrying and/or damaging the fibers. If I’m worried my brushes are particularly grungy, I’ll use a drop or two of Dawn dish soap (the anti-bacterial varieties are good for this if you’re concerned about germs – I’m not) in conjunction with the baby wash for a deep clean. Other times, if I’m lazy and only have 1-2 brushes but am also cleaning my BeautyBlender, I’ll just use my BlenderCleanser Solid (left in the photo, white disc).

Some companies (like Sigma!) offer neat brush-cleaning gloves to help facilitate the process, and while these are fun-looking, they are not necessary. Your hands will do just fine – or, if you have a handful of brushes to wash and you don’t want your hands to get prune-y, you can get creative like I did (above photo) and use something like the surface of my Ziploc container lid. In this case, the indents for the logo will help work the soap into the bristles, almost acting like an agitator. If using your hand, dispense a small amount of the soap into the palm of your hand and swish the brush back and forth in your palm, then work the shampoo in further with your fingers. If you’re doing what I am demonstrating above, dispense the soaps onto the lid (or into your fancy Sigma glove), and swish and swirl it back and forth. The suds you create will eventually look dingy and frankly, gross, but that’s normal and fine and means your efforts are paying off.

Rinse your brush in the same way you initially saturated it, under the faucet with the bristles angled towards the drain, avoiding the ferrule as much as possible (exposing the ferrule to too much moisture can work away at the glue and cause the brush-head to come loose). Use your fingers to thoroughly rinse the bristles until they are their original color and free of suds.

Gently squeeze bristles to drain excess water from them, then reshape and dry. Check back on Wednesday for some tips on how to dry your makeup brushes!

Disclosure: None of this stuff was sponsored. That said, some of the links in this post are affiliate links – this means I may get a very small percentage of the sale if you decide to buy something. I’ll only tell you that something is awesome if I have verified it myself!

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