How To Clean Makeup Brushes

Cleaning your makeup brushes is something I don’t think anybody ever looks forward to doing, but it is so important! Just think for a moment how many times you use your makeup brushes, how much product is getting pushed into the bristles, and what an intense breeding ground that can be for bacteria. It’s disgusting and you definitely don’t want to continue applying those germs to your face. Talk about acne, that’s one of the worst things you could do. Thankfully, many companies have created multiple tools and products to help clean those brushes. The downside is that it’s just more products you have to buy and find a place to store. I wasn’t completely happy with those solutions, so I figured out the easiest and most effective way to do it with affordable items you already have at home.
I deep clean my brushes about once a month. I know some people suggest doing it more than that and if you wear makeup every single day, I recommend maybe every two weeks or so. But since I stay at home and just wear makeup when I leave the house, my brushes aren’t always dirty enough until the end of the month (I clean them at the beginning of each month). Also to help keep them clean in between deep cleanings, I wipe them off on a texturized washcloth every time I use them. This helps to take off the excess product. You could also mist them regularly with a water/ tea tree oil mixture to help kill germs.
This method to deep clean your brushes is pretty easy, very cost effective, and doesn’t require much effort or time. What you’re going to need is:
-all of your dirty brushes
-antibacterial dishwashing soap
-olive oil
-a plate
-a dog washing mit
-2 hand towels
-paper towels

One problem I had with using other solutions companies sold was their lack of emphasis on getting rid of the germs. Most of those products were focused on just cleaning the makeup off. This is also the reason I don’t only use baby oil or soap like many people suggest. The antibacterial dishwashing soap is the key item and really cleans everything. The olive oil brings back the softness. Of course you could substitute baby oil for olive oil if you’d like as long as you still have the antibacterial soap factor. But since I don’t have children and don’t regularly keep baby oil on hand, that’s not the best solution for me.
The first thing you want to do is take the plate and put equal amounts of the dishwashing soap and oil on it. Then put on the mit, dip a brush into each solution on the plate and swirl the bristles around until it’s well lathered. Put the brush to the side and continue this step with all of the brushes. I usually separate mine into face brushes and eye brushes so I’m not doing too many at one time.

I used to use my hand to swirl the brush around, but when Sigma released their mat ($25) and Real Techniques released their palette ($15) it really opened my eyes. Other companies had their versions of the same type of thing, but I wasn’t about to pay so much for something so simple and the cheaper alternatives didn’t look very promising. Then I thought about the mit we use to wash our dog and how it was the same idea, just in a different form. So I went to Target and grabbed this one for around $7. Let me tell you, it works wonders and actually makes the job a lot more fun!
Once you’ve finished lathering all the brushes, it’s time to rinse them out. You can take the mit off or leave it on, I haven’t noticed much of a difference on that part. But when you squeeze the water out, it’s easier without the mit. Many people say that it’s not good to get the barrel wet because it can loosen up the glue that holds the bristles together. I’ve tried that and it’s basically impossible so I just gave up. Although I do take other measures to help prevent the bristles from falling out. When you’re squeezing the water out, make sure to be very gentle that you’re not pulling on the bristles too hard. Have the towel rolled up beforehand so it’s ready for the clean brushes and puts them at an angle so the excess water doesn’t pool at the barrel.
After the brushes have dried for about 30 minutes (to get the majority of the excess water out), I swirl them on the towel to loosen up the bristles and reshape them. At this point, I can see which brushes are already completely dry (smaller eye brushes) and then I hang the rest on my bathroom towel rack. This takes the place of purchasing one of the $20-40 brush trees that also became very popular recently.
I like to clean my brushes in the afternoon so they have the rest of the night to dry and are ready for me to use the next morning. However, some thicker and more dense brushes may take even longer to dry. When I take the brushes off the towel rack, I swirl them on the towel again just to make sure all the bristles are completely separated and good as new.
Cleaning brushes is one of those annoying chores that isn’t the most exciting to do, but brings so much joy when it’s finally done. There’s nothing quite like using freshly cleaned makeup brushes and it gives you total peace of mind knowing that they’re free of germs and bacteria. I hope you found this helpful and I’d to hear how it works if you give it a try. Have a beautiful weekend! :)

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