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How to clean makeup brushes

Oh My God, Becky, Look At Her Brushes!

That’s right. I’m talking to you. You know who you are. Thankfully there is no such thing as the Makeup Police so you don’t need to worry about getting busted anytime soon for having dirty makeup brushes but that doesn’t mean you should become complacent. If you answer yes to one of the two following questions, you need to clean your brushes:

1. Do you use brushes to apply makeup?

2. Do you value healthy skin?

I think I had you with the first question but that seemed too easy and then I started thinking about if you answered “no” and what would be a good second question. Either way, I think I got you, didn’t? Especially if you answered “yes” to both. If you answered “no” to the first one, than maybe you use your fingers (Beautyblenders count as a brush, FYI but have their own specific cleaning routine) instead of makeup brushes in which case I hope that you wash your hands before applying makeup. And you might want to consider investing in some basic brushes because they truly help with makeup application.

So. Dirty brushes. They make you break out. They don’t work well when they are dirty. Dirty brushes are a waste of money because you aren’t taking care of your investment. You put your cutlery in the dishwasher after using it right? IT’S THE SAME FOR MAKEUP BRUSHES! Just like you eat with a fork and then wash it after you are done with it you wash your brushes. The only exception being that unlike washing a fork after a single use, you don’t have to wash your brush after every use. The caveat being unless you are a makeup artist or someone else has used your brushes. Your face = your brushes. The path to having clean brushes is easy. Follow these five simple steps and you too will have beautifully clean brushes.


The Before

How to clean makeup brushes


Step #1 Choose Your Brush Cleaner

How to clean makeup brushes My brush cleaner of choice is from MAC. There are lots of other brush cleaners that you can use or use baby shampoo. Or even just a regular gentle shampoo. Pick whatever works for you.

Step #2 Rinse Your Brush

How to clean makeup brushes

Before you use the brush cleaner/shampoo dampen your brush under warm water.


Step #3 Swirl!

So this step is sadly without a picture. Swirling takes two hands: One hand to hold the brush and one hand palm up to swirl the brush on. It takes another hand to use the camera and I really tired to make it work but the pictures didn’t turn out well enough to warrant using them… For this step place a quarter-sized amount of the brush cleaner or a tiny amount of shampoo in your cupped palm. Gently swirl the brush around in the liquid and then under warm running water. Keep swirling the brush in your palm until the water runs clear. 

Step #4ish Reshaping


How to clean makeup brushes

Once all of your brushes are clean use a soft hand-towel to dry off the brushes and to gently squee out any excess water from the bristles. You then need to gently reshape the brush heads so that they dry in the shape they were before you washed them. This is an important step that you shouldn’t skip because the swirling almost always leaves the bristles a little wonky and you don’t want that because shape is part of what makes a brush specific to its intended application.

Step #5 Drying and The After

How to clean makeup brushes

Lay your brushes flat to dry. I place a couple of tissues underneath the brush heads to help absorb residual moisture. I always leave the brushes overnight to dry and rotate them once to ensure they dry completely. 

One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to clean my brushes every week. I can’t say that I’ve kept up with my weekly commitment but writing this post has made me recommit to the cleaning my brushes on a weekly basis. Are you going to commit to cleaning your brushes regularly? Let me know in the comments section below or on the She Stole My Style Facebook page!

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