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You're Not Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes? Me Neither. But We Should Be!

SAMSUNG CSCAttention makeup users! If you’re like me and wear lots of makeup (I’m talking eyes, lips, face- the whole sha’bang) odds are you use a myriad of brushes to apply all those products. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t clean my brushes often, and definitely not as often as one really should. Between the actual time it takes to do my makeup and getting through the day, it’s a miracle I even take off my makeup at night, let alone take the time to clean all my brushes. However, this is a trend that we need to stop! Not only is it kind of gross, it’s unsanitary and can lead to things like eye infections and the worsening of acne.

Shockingly enough, dermatologists recommend you wash your brushes every day. EVERY DAY. Daily brush washing would be ideal to entirely rid them of excess makeup and bacteria, but let’s be real…who has the time to deep clean their brushes every single day? It’s a goal to strive for to say the least, but in the meantime let’s shoot for a thorough wash bi weekly, with daily touch ups. You can purchase spray cleaners for your brushes to quickly clean them after use- so a quick spritz of that onto all your makeup brushes at the end of your routine will only tack on a couple extra minutes, and you’re helping yourself tenfold in the long run.

You should view your makeup brushes the same way you view hair. All brushes are different- some more fragile and fine than others, some requiring conditioning and the list goes on. And remember that synthetic brushes are, well, synthetic. They don’t absorb makeup and oil the same way natural hair brushes do, meaning that all the product your using (plus the oils and dirt that’s inevitably on your skin) is going to build up on the bristles which can weigh them down. Now when you’re actually washing the brushes, you’ve gotta be careful with how you manipulate them. Swirl them around and move them side to side but don’t press down too hard on the bristles or bend them more than you normally would as this could lead to permanent misshape of the brush. It might not seem like a big deal but trying to get a sharp wing on your eyeliner with a brush that has stray hairs and a bent bristle is nearly impossible. Clean your brushes on something with a texture like a cleansing mat (give the Cosmat Cleaning Pad a try!) or even a towel to ensure that all the bristles are getting as clean as possible.

The way you dry your brushes is almost as important as how you clean them. Make sure to dry your brushes in a way the water doesn’t get into the handle (which means don’t just throw them back into your makeup bag) as that can cause loosening of the bristles or the head entirely. Take a wet brush, soak up excess water by squeezing it with a wash cloth, ‘brush’ it in a way that helps it resemble its original shape and allow it to dry somewhere that it can receive air on ALL sides. If you rest it on one side, you’ll end up with a flat side to your brush.

Makeup brushes are an investment and should be treated as such. With some brushes costing an upwards of forty or fifty dollars each, we don’t want anything in our control to ruin them. Taking the extra 20 minutes every couple weeks to really cleanse your brushes, even though you might not really want to, is crucial for sanitary reasons. And hey, you might even begin to see breakouts begin to diminish! It’s worth a shot.

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