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How to (and how often to) clean your makeup brushes

I never thought I would learn something from Buzzfeed. But according to this article, I really need to wash my makeup brushes more often.  Buzzfeed’s professional medical opinion (?) is that I should be washing them daily. That seems like a little much, no?  A bit of overkill there?  Nevertheless, they have a point… I should be doing it more often.

After much research and detailed clinical study (i.e. Googling) about the best method for washing my makeup brushes, here’s my process:

You’ll need:

That’s it. It’s not organic chemistry, after all.

Put one small dollop of the hand soap in a tall cup and add about a cup of warm water so it’s slightly foamy.  Place four or five brushes into the water and swish them all around to get them thoroughly wet.  Then one at a time, swish each brush gently in circles to allow the makeup and dirt to wash out of the brush.

Getting ready to wash these four Sedona Lace foundation and powder brushes.

Getting ready to wash these four Sedona Lace foundation and powder brushes.

After you wash each one, remove it from the cup and run it under warm water, repeating the wash and rinse process until the water runs clear.  Then wrap the bristles in a clean towel and gently squeeze out any excess water, reshaping the bristles so they are straight and aligned properly for the design of the brush.  Push the handle up through the appropriately sized hole in your brush tree and allow it to hang upside down until dry, usually overnight.  (A makeup brush drying rack allows your brushes to retain their shape better, dry faster, and drain the water away out of the ferrule, that metal thingie that holds the bristles onto the handle.)

The brush tree keeps the bristles straight and allows water to drain.

The brush tree keeps the bristles straight and allows water to drain.

A few notes…  Do not mash the bristles against the bottom of the cup.  Never soak your brushes, because it can dissolve the glue that holds the bristles in place and can cause them to come loose.  (That’s why I recommend adding just four or five brushes to the wash up at one time, so that nothing soaks too long.)  Replace your wash cup water once it starts to get murky – obviously you can’t clean brushes with dirty water.  And if you don’t have a brush tree, you can rest the brushes at the edge of a table and allow the wet bristles to dangle over the edge to air dry.  OR, better yet, check out the clever drying method in this video by Maddy McQ from YouTube.

If you buy quality makeup brushes (I’ll have a post on my favorites very soon, so stay tuned!) this process will keep them in good shape for years and protect your investment. Plus in addition to being more sanitary, clean makeup brushes will make your colors truer to what you see in your palettes.

And of course, my last bit of advice… wash your brushes more often than I do.  Do it Buzzfeed style and do it once a week or so.

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