Makeup brush maintenance: it’s not the most glamorous topic ever, but it’s important. I’m a bit of a stickler about having things clean, but I’ll admit that even I don’t keep my makeup brushes as clean as I should. It’s always seemed like such a pain in the ass, I didn’t want to bother with it. But it literally only takes a few minutes, and the results are worth it.
You probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how dirty your makeup brushes are. Trust me, they’re pretty gross. Product build-up, dead skin cells, dust, bacteria – they are all residing in your brushes right now.* The good news is that it doesn’t take much to get rid of all that crap. All you need is soap, water, and a towel. Your skin will thank you for it.
Start by thoroughly wetting the bristles of your brush by running them under the tap. You should use warm water, but it doesn’t have to be too hot. Dispense a bit of soap into the palm of your hand, then rub the brush bristles in the soap in a circular motion. If you don’t have liquid soap, just wet a bar of soap and rub the bristles directly on the bar. You might be amazed by how much dirty residue comes out. Rinse the bristles under running water, squeeze to make sure all the soap is out, and lay the brush on a clean towel to dry. That’s it!
I like to dry the handle of my brushes by hand to ensure that the metal bristle holder doesn’t get rusty (it’s called a ferrule, by the way – I just learned that). Then I just leave the brushes flat for several hours before standing them up in my brush holder. I generally wash them on a weekend, after I’ve put on my makeup, and let them dry overnight.
Before using them again, I ruffle the bristles a bit to soften them – they can be a little stiff after air-drying. It’s remarkable how much better the brushes feel on my skin after they’ve been cleaned. I really can’t believe I haven’t been doing this more regularly.
Once a week is ideal for brush cleaning, but I’ve been going with every other week, just to make it more likely that I’ll actually do it. Compared with how often I was doing it before, every other week is a vast improvement!
*Update: I really can’t stress enough the importance of cleaning your makeup brushes. If you haven’t heard, a girl was infected with MRSA (a super nasty, antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus bacterium) and is now paralyzed. She got the infection from her friend’s makeup brush. You can read about it here and here.