We paint, contour, and flush our faces with makeup brushes every day, but how often are those brushes being cleaned after the fact? Turns out, not enough. (Shocker.) According to dermatologists and makeup artists, we should be sudsing up our tools on a weekly basis — at least — in order to prevent bacteria build up, which can ultimately lead to unwanted breakouts. Read on to find out how to clean up your makeup brushes the right way.
First of all, how often should you clean your makeup brushes?
Most dermatologists will tell you to soak your tools, especially foundation and concealer brushes, once a week — at minimum — to prevent product build up. Because these brushes are used on your face, the cleaner, the better, says Bobbi Brown. "Brushes that are used around the eyes should be cleaned at least twice a month," she says. "All others can be washed once a month."
According to makeup artist Ashleigh Ciucci, soaping up your makeup brushes regularly can extend the life of the bristles and make for a better makeup application. "Brush hairs and sponges are porous, so they hold onto oils, debris, and bacteria," she says. "If your brushes are dirty, your application will be spotty and blending will be difficult."
What should you use to clean your makeup brushes?
The best (and most thorough) method for cleaning your tools requires only water and either a gentle soap (regular soap formulas can dry out the brush's bristles, especially if they are made of natural hair) or brush cleanser. (Easy, peasy.)
How do you actually clean the brushes?
Follow these seven steps for cleaner, good-as-new brushes and blenders.
Wet the bristles with lukewarm water.
Place a drop of makeup brush cleanser or soap into the palm of your hand.
Gently massage the tips of the bristles in your palm.
Rinse the bristles.
Squeeze out the excess moisture with a clean towel.
Reshape the brush head.
Let the brush dry with its bristles hanging off the edge of a counter, thereby allowing it to dry in the correct shape. Never let your brushes dry on a towel — the bristles can become mildewed.
Mid-wash, keep the base of the brush head away from soap and water. The bristles are glued to the base, and water and detergent can cause the glue to disintegrate and the bristles to come loose and shed. Do not dry vertically — this will cause water to leak into the ferrule [the piece that joins the bristles to the wand], which will also loosen the glue and lead to bristle loss.
When is it time to throw away a makeup brush?
"It's time to throw your makeup brush when the bristles start to fray, shed, or lose their shape," says Brown. "I can't emphasize enough that the right tools are as important in getting the look you want as the actual makeup itself. If your brushes become too pinched or squashed, then they simply will not be up to the job."
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