Washing your makeup brushes is so important. Brushes are a magnet for bacteria, dead skin, and oil that can cause many issues including acne, eye styes, and other irritation to the skin. Not only that, gunked up dirty makeup brushes perform poorly and don’t apply makeup in an effective way. Brushes can also deteriorate faster if you don’t take care of them, and quality makeup brushes can be expensive. For those reasons, you should be washing your makeup brushes regularly.
There are two main ways to wash makeup brushes: a spot clean and a deep clean. A spot clean is a quick, less involved process, which removes makeup residue from brush bristles and can also sanitize the fibers too. A deep cleaning is a slightly more involved process which usually includes a shampoo type process of washing soap into the brush bristles under water, and allowing ample time for the brush fibers to dry before using the brush again.
I have a confession to make: I rarely wash my makeup brushes. But the reason for that is quite embarrassing. I own probably close to 350 makeup brushes so I can stretch between washes for a long time, because I usually have clean brushes on standby to pull from. So once or twice a year I do a massive deep clean of my makeup brushes. For the average person, you might want to wash your brushes once per month, but it’ll depend on how many brushes you have and how often you wear makeup. In-between those deep cleans, you can spot clean makeup brushes as needed.
How To Wash Makeup Brushes: Spot Clean
There are two main products I recommend for a spot cleaning: Cinema Secrets and Parian Spirit. With these two solutions, you can quickly strip makeup from your makeup brushes without having to wait long to dry.
Just pour a quarter size amount of the fluid into a paper towel or rag and gently swirl your brush to dissolve the makeup from the brush hairs. You don’t need to saturate the bristles fully, just quick circular motions through the damp area, swirling until the color disappears. Both of these disinfecting brush cleaners are quick drying and rinse-free. Cinema Secrets has a faint vanilla scent and Parian Spirit has a citrus scent.
How To Wash Makeup Brushes: Deep Clean
When it comes to the deep clean, there are a few different products I recommend. While you can use lots of different products as a brush shampoo, the most inexpensive option is bar soap. I like using hotel bar soap because it’s free and I usually have a few stashed away at any given time. Le Labo bar soaps found at Fairmont Hotels are my absolute favorite. Zote bar soap is a popular option among a lot of other beauty bloggers, but I myself have not tried it yet. Baby shampoo and castile soap are good liquid soap options.
I like using a small bowl and silicone mat or silicone glove to thoroughly lather up the soap through the brush hair, keeping the brush facing down and not submerging the brush fully in the water. It’s also important to use a luke warm water and never super hot water. Just swirl and rinse the brush to remove all the soapy residue. Depending on how dirty your brushes are, you might have to repeat this process a few times. I find that foundation brushes and any brush with cream or liquid product residue require a little extra work.
After squeezing out any excess water, gently reshape the bristles into their usual shape, then lay flat to dry. If you can, use an extra towel to slope the brushes downward so that the water flows out of the brushes. This prevents any moisture dripping or leaking back into the handle and ferrule of the brush. You don’t want moisture to travel that way. That can loosen up the glue and crimp tightness holding your brush together. This can cause bristles to shed and your brush to eventually fall apart.
Watch the video below to get a visual idea of the technique for deep cleaning makeup brushes.
Over the years, I’ve invested hundreds of dollars in my brush collection. Taking care of my makeup brushes has truly helped them last the test of time. One of my favorite high end brush brands is Hakuhodo. They are a line of luxury brushes handmade in Japan that can cost upwards of $80. I’ve had many of their brushes for nearly 10 years.
But I also take great care of my mid range and affordable brushes as well. Brush brands I love include Sigma Beauty, IT Cosmetics, ZOEVA, Real Techniques, and MAC. I’m making the switch to cruelty free makeup, so while I won’t be buying any animal hair brushes moving forward I do own a few in my collection. Sigma, IT Cosmetics, and Real Techniques are fully synthetic fiber cruelty free brushes. Nowadays synthetic bristle brushes can be pretty hard to tell apart from natural bristles. Overall, synthetic brushes are usually a lot more durable than animal hair brushes.
Be honest, how often do you wash your makeup brushes? Hopefully now you have some new tips and motivation for your next brush washing session. Clean brushes always make for a much more enjoyable makeup experience!