BEAUTY NOTES | How To Clean Your Makeup Brushes

It may seem like a chore, but washing your makeup brushes is essential in order to keep them in top condition and maintain good skin hygiene. Lisa Niven explains how to it properly.

How Often Should You Clean Your Brushes?

The main reason to clean your makeup brushes is to remove the bacteria, oil and debris that builds up over time. How often you do it depends on how much you use them, the types of products you use, and which areas of the face they come into contact with. Makeup artists clean their brushes after every use but that’s just not realistic, or necessary, for the rest of us. “You should clean your brushes most often, at least every other week, since they are being used in the most sensitive area of the face”, says Chanel Temple, Global Makeup Artist at Hourglass. “If you have blemish-prone skin or trend to be more sensitive, you may want to clean them weekly”.

Every week or two is a good start, with more frequent washing sometimes needed in the case of oil – based products. The type of brushes are made from synthetic fibers, meaning that you can get away with not washing them as frequently as you might a natural – bristle brush, like those from Burberry Beauty or Rae Morris.

The cleaning technique

Artis Brush’s Artistry Lead, Lindsey Jackson, recommends a light cleanse using the brand’s Premier Brush Cleaning Pad. Sweep the brush along the antimicrobial surface to remove dirt, or boost its efficacy further with the Artis Brush Cleansing Foam. When you’re doing a deeper clean, try Beautyblender’s Liquid Blendercleanser. Alternatively, Jackson suggests a pea-sized amount of dish soap in combination with warm water. “Gently lather the fibers and rinse until the water runs clear and there are no more bubbles”, she advised. In general, you’ll need to treat natural brushes more gently than synthetic ones, so be careful not to get the ferrule (where the glue holds the bristles to the handle) too wet, otherwise you may notice some shedding.

Post-wash care

“After a deep clean using soap and water, dry your brushes on a microfiber towel”, suggests Jackson. “With Artist brushes, you can leave them lying face down –this helps the towel absorb some of the excess moisture. If you wash them in the evening, they should by dry and ready to use by the morning”. Natural brushes might also need reshaping after washing, which you should do before you dry them. With particularly fluffy or large brushes, get as much moisture out as possible before leaving them overnight, as this will prevent mildew forming. Smaller brushes, like lip brushes, will dry much quicker.

How should you store your brushes?

Avoid storing  makeup brushes in the bathroom, as the damp environment will encourage bacteria to spread. Lilah B’s Let’s Face It Brush Set comes complete with a case, while Rae Morris’ Rae Frame offers an elegant storage system that you’ll happily display on your dressing table. Failing that, Temple has the smart idea of recycling old candle jar to store brushes in. “After you’ve used them, clean out all the wax and you have a great container to store your brushes in that allows you to see all of your options,” she says.


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