How to Clean Makeup Brushes


Cleaning your makeup brushes regularly is important. Not only will it keep your makeup colors from getting mixed, but it will also help get rid of bacteria that can cause acne. Luckily, cleaning your brushes is easy!

Part 1
Using Soap and Water

Using Soap and Water on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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Keeping your brushes clean will save you a lot of time and energy when it comes to washing them. Brushes that encounter a lot of product, such as your foundation and powder brushes, require more frequent washing than brushes that are used less frequently. Here's a guide for how often you should wash your brushes:[1] Foundation and powder brushes: Once a week Eye makeup and concealer brushes: Bi-weekly Other brushes: Once a month The type of makeup you use alsoaffects how often you should washyour brushes. Laura Martin, alicensed cosmetologist, advises:"If you use a liquid or creamfoundation, you should wash thebrush you apply it with everyday."The type of makeup you use alsoaffects how often you should wash yourbrushes. Laura Martin, a licensedcosmetologist, advises: "If you use aliquid or cream foundation, you shouldwash the brush you apply it with everyday."The type of makeup you use also affects howoften you should wash your brushes. LauraMartin, a licensed cosmetologist, advises:"If you use a liquid or cream foundation,you should wash the brush you apply it withevery day."The type of makeup you use also affects how often you should wash yourbrushes. Laura Martin, a licensed cosmetologist, advises: "If you use aliquid or cream foundation, you should wash the brush you apply it withevery day."The type of makeup you use also affects how often you should wash yourbrushes. Laura Martin, a licensed cosmetologist, advises: "If you use a liquidor cream foundation, you should wash the brush you apply it with every day."

Using Soap and Water on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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Avoid getting water underneath the metal clasp of the handle as this will ruin the glue that holds the bristles together. Keep running the water through the bristles until you've rinsed away most of the old makeup. Make sure the bristles are angled downward into the stream of water. If water gets under the metal clasp of the handle, it may damage the bristles. Don't use hot water, as the heat may damage the bristles. Move and separate the bristles as you wash the brushes so that the water gets down into the center of the brush.

Using Soap and Water on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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You will need ¼ cup (56.25 milliliters) of lukewarm water. Avoid using hot water, as it may damage the bristles. You can also apply the soap directly to the brush. This is especially helpful if the brush is very soiled.

Using Soap and Water on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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Add 1 teaspoon of baby shampoo into the cup and still gently to combine.[2] If you do not have baby shampoo, use liquid Castile soap instead.[3]

Using Soap and Water on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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Only the bottom half of your brushes' bristles should be swirled in the mixture to avoid water traveling up the handle. If you are not using a bowl, you can work the soap into the bristles using your fingers.

Using Soap and Water on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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Loosen up the makeup and dirt by gently massaging the soapy water into the bristles with your fingers.

Using Soap and Water on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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Continue to massage the bristles while running them under the water until it runs completely clear. Avoid getting the handle wet. You may need to wash and rinse the brush several times in order to get it clean. If the rinse water looks very cloudy, then wash the brush again. The brush isn't completely clean until the water that passes through the bristles comes out clean.

Using Soap and Water on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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Use a towel to gently remove some of the moisture. Fold it around the wet bristles and gently squeeze it with your fingers.[4]

Using Soap and Water on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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If the bristles became crooked, you will need to reshape them. Use your fingers to straighten, spread, pull the bristles back into their original shape.

Using Soap and Water on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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Do not lay them on a towel—this can cause mildew. Instead, set the brush down on a counter, with the bristle part hanging over the edge.[5]

Using Soap and Water on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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When the brushes are completely dry, fluff the bristles a bit. Your brushes are now ready to use.

Part 2
Removing Oil-Based Makeup

Removing Oil-Based Makeup on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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If you have used your brush for cream-based makeup, soap and water alone won't be enough to dislodge the makeup. You will need some oil to help loosen the makeup—especially if it has been on the brush for a while.

Removing Oil-Based Makeup on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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Fold up a paper towel, and pour a small drop of oil onto it. You can use light olive oil or almond oil.[6] Dip the bristles of the brush into the oil and give it a swirl. Do not soak the brush in the oil.[7] Gently run the brush back and forth across the towel, loosening the dirt.

Removing Oil-Based Makeup on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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Make sure the brushes are angled downward into the stream of water. Avoid wetting the part where the bristles meet the handle. It could cause the metal clip to rust, or the glue inside to loosen. Keep running the water through the bristles until you've rinsed away most of the old makeup. Don't use hot water, as the heat may damage the bristles.

Removing Oil-Based Makeup on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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If you do not have baby shampoo, you can use liquid Castile soap instead. Keep the soap handy, as you may need to use more. In many cases, you'll need to wash the brush more than once.

Removing Oil-Based Makeup on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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Dip the bristles into the puddle of shampoo in your palm. Gently swirl the brush using circular motions. The bristles should be continuously touching your skin. You will see the shampoo in your palm become dirty. This is due to the dirt leaving the bristles.

Removing Oil-Based Makeup on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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Use your fingers to gently massage the bristles as you rinse the shampoo. Once again, try to avoid getting the part where the bristles join the brush handle wet. Keep doing this until the water runs clear. If the brush is very dirty, you may need to wash it more than once. If the rinse water is still cloudy, work the soap through the brush a second time, then rinse again. Continue to soap and rinse until the water runs through the brush and comes out clear.

Removing Oil-Based Makeup on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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Once the water runs clear, take the brush out from under the water and gently fold a towel around the bristles. Squeeze the excess water out using your fingers. Remove the brush from the towel and reshape the bristles if necessary. You can do this by gently pressing on them, fanning them out, or pulling them together into a point. Try to recreate the original shape as much as possible.

Removing Oil-Based Makeup on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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Do not set the brush down on a towel, as this can cause mildew to form. Instead, lay the handle part of the brush on a counter or table, and let the bristles stick out over the edge.

Removing Oil-Based Makeup on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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If you had a poofy brush, some of the bristles may be stuck together, even after it has dried. If this happens, pick up the brush and give it a brisk flick.

Part 3
Taking Care of Your Brushes and Keeping them Clean

Taking Care of Your Brushes and Keeping them Clean on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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The water will soak down into the shaft, causing rust or rot. It could also cause the glue holding the bristles to loosen.[8] It is safe to store brushes upright once they are completely dry.

Taking Care of Your Brushes and Keeping them Clean on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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The intense heat from the hairdryer or flatiron will ruin the fibers—even if the fibers are natural, such as sable or camelhair. The brushes are a makeup brush are mush more fragile than the hair on your head.[9]

Taking Care of Your Brushes and Keeping them Clean on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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If you dry your brushes in an enclosed area, such as the bathroom, the bristles may not get enough air-flow, which might cause mildew. This will result in musty-smelling bristles. Ew![10]

Taking Care of Your Brushes and Keeping them Clean on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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When your brushes are dry, store them either upright in a cup, or lay them down on their side. Do not store them pointing down, or the bristles will get crooked.[11] If you want to carry your brushes in a bag, store them flat in a brush case or bag dedicated to your brushes.

Taking Care of Your Brushes and Keeping them Clean on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

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Before you set your makeup brush out to dry, or even between washes, disinfect your brush with a vinegar-water solution. Don't worry, the strong, vinegar smell will disappear once the bristles dry. Fill a small bowl or cup with two parts water and one part vinegar. Swirl your brush in the solution, but avoid wetting the part where the bristles meet the handle. Rinse the brush with clean water and set it out to dry.[12]