Let’s be honest, despite the fact that we apply makeup so often when was the last time you actually thought about cleaning your brushes? If your skin is breaking out due to makeup and your brushes seem to be losing their charm, chances are they are in dire need of deep cleaning.
How to Clean Makeup Brushes?
There are two ways that you can clean your brushes, spot cleaning, and deep cleaning. From special tools to using nothing but some soap and your hands, we’ve got an entire list of highly effective methods used to clean out your brushes and leave them seemingly brand new.
An important tip before you start! Always make sure that your brush is pointed downwards while cleaning and you’re not getting the ferrule or the handle wet. This is to prevent water from entering the roots of the brush as that causes the glue that aids the bristles together to loosen up, which can then cause shedding.
#1 Spot Cleaning
If you’re a frequent makeup user then spot cleaning is your best friend for keeping your brushes clean between uses! This is especially useful when you’re working on different clients or sharing your makeup brushes with other people. Luckily, it’s a very easy process and won’t take longer than a few minutes to ensure a better product application for the next time.
#2 How to spot clean:
All you need is a spot cleanser and paper towel. If you don’t have one on hand, you can substitute it with surgical spirit (rubbing alcohol), your favorite micellar water, or even a DIY natural cleaner (recipe given below).
Place your brush on a paper towel and spray its bristles with the cleanser, making sure to coat every spot. Then, you want to gently rub the brush in circular motions on the paper towel to remove the product. Keep rubbing until no more makeup is deposited on the paper towel and be sure to spray more cleanser on the brush if required. Repeat this with all of your brushes.
While you’re at it, remember that cleaning your brush handles is just as important to prevent the transfer of bacteria so using a cotton pad dipped in the cleanser, just wipe down the handles of each brush.
#3 DIY Natural Spot Cleaner
You’re going to need 1 and a half cup of distilled water, 2 tablespoons of alcohol, 2 teaspoons of castile soap, half a teaspoon of olive oil (if you’re using natural makeup brushes) and about 20 drops of essential tea tree oil. Pour all of the ingredients except the water into an 8oz bottle and mix well. Then pour in the water, leaving a little bit of headspace, mix it all together and your cleanser is ready for use!
Deep Cleaning of Makeup Brushes
Deep cleaning is necessary because not only does it ensure that your makeup brushes are squeaky clean to prevent breakouts but it also helps them last longer. As more product builds up in the brushes, they tend to stop working as efficiently because their bristles are unable to pick up a product in the same way. To prevent that, ideally, you should be deep cleaning your brushes every month if not every week
Similar to spot cleaning, there are a variety of supplies that you can use depending on your preference and the availability of products. Ranging from store-bought makeup brush cleansers to products commonly found at home, we’ll give you a variety of options so you can simply get to work.
Deep cleaning of Makeup Brush using Cleansers
For this, you’re going to need a textured silicon mat (feel free to use your hands if you don’t have this-method explained under DIY section), your favorite brush cleanser, a towel, and some lukewarm water.
Step 1: Dip and Lather!
Place your textured silicon mat in the sink. Take your brush and run it under warm water to wet the bristles. If it’s a thick foundation brush, make sure to really get in there and open up the bristles so that the cleanser can lather up properly. Then take a small amount of cleanser and pour it in a bowl. Dip the edge of your bristles in the cleanser. Again, if it’s a thick brush, you might want to hold it in there for a little longer.
Next you’re going to move the brush over to the textured mat and start lathering the cleanser while working your brush in gentle circular motions. Continue doing this until the lather starts to change color. While cleaning a thick brush, every now and then, press the bristles between your fingers to help push the product out; however, the mat does do a terrific job of getting most of your makeup out for you.
Step 2: Rinse!
Next, while keeping the brush in a slanted downward position, you need to rinse the bristles until all lather washes out. Repeat this with the rest of your brushes and to save some time you can even wash the smaller brushes clumped together at once.
Step 3: Drying Process
Before putting your brushes out to dry, it’s a good idea to squeeze out the excess water and reshape the brushes using your hands. While drying, you want to make sure that your brushes are either upside down or leaning downward. For this, take a towel and roll up one side to give the handles of your brush a raised platform. Next, simply place your brushes on the towel, with the bristles resting on the flat end.
Another very simple way uses a cutting board and 3 rubber bands. Take the rubber bands and pull them over your cutting board, spacing them equally. Then simply take your brush and move it below the first rubber band, over the second and then below the third. For the next brush, do the opposite and go over the first rubber band, below the second and then over the last.
Thread all of your brushes in this way, keeping them upside down and spacing them apart well enough for them to dry properly. After that just plop the cutting board up against a wall (bristles facing downwards) and wait for your brushes to dry overnight.
Deep cleaning Makeup Brushes using DIY Cleaning Products
This is a great alternative if you’re looking to save money and want to use more natural products. The 3 main products used are liquid dish soap, bar soap, and shampoo. The process of cleaning will more or less be the same as that given above, however, if you don’t want to have a silicone mat then your hands work great too!
If you’re working with your hands, just lather the soap in your palms to get the product out while working in gentle circular motions. Even though using your hands will get the product out, it will take more time and leave your hands dirty!
#1 Liquid dish soap for cleaning the makeup brushes
Using a gentle antibacterial liquid dish soap to clean your brushes works wonders and is even used by some celebrity makeup artists. However, if you find there are makeup brushes that have more product buildup and are harder to clean then adding a few drops of olive oil to the soap should get the job done.
#2 Bar soap to clean makeup brushes
Any gentle bar soap works great! All you need to do is soak your brush, rub it on the bar of soap, lather it up on your hands or your mat and rinse it out. The soap can be drying sometimes so use a bit of olive oil along with it to have your brushes come out clean, and soft as new!
#3 Shampoo for cleaning makeup brushes
Shampoos are mostly used for cleaning natural brushes as they are gentler. Make sure that it is a sulfate and paraben-free shampoo because you don’t want harsh chemicals to damage your brush!
#4 Stylepro Makeup Brush Cleaner and Dryer
Now if all of that along with the drying process seems like too much work, then you can invest in a style pro makeup brush cleaner which spins your brushes at very high velocities in a bowl of cleanser to clean and dry them out in minutes.
#5 Makeup Brush Cleaning Mat
Mats are also among the modern and effective ways of cleaning the makeup brushes. As per our makeup brush cleaning test with cleaning mats; we found it very effective as well.
Happy Cleaning Makeup Brushes!
Cleaning your brush can be a lengthy and time-consuming process, but remember that it is an important step to proper skincare. So, you might as well take this time to put on some music, relax and enjoy this weirdly therapeutic and satisfying process!
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The articles, cosmetic tutorials, and beauty tips on SheBegan magazine are contributed by experienced fashion professionals, beauty & cosmetics experts. The team of our beauty and cosmetics professionals tests the products and then share the outcomes with proper citations and then after passing all the research & editorial checks; the content is sent live making sure there exists No Conflict of Interest. You can read about our authors, volunteers, team members and editorial board with our content review, product testing, tutorial guidance process here.