Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes

One of the most hated aspects of many a beauty routine is cleaning makeup brushes. That said, it's also one of the most important. Think about the residual makeup that builds up on your brushes. Would you want to keep putting that on your face, day after day? Hell no! 

Not only can not cleaning your brushes cause you to break out, but when many layers of product build up on your brush the bristles just won't smooth your makeup on in the way they're supposed to. I know that I can always tell that my buffing brush needs to be cleaned when my foundation just sits on my skin in odd patches without blending in. 

For spot cleaning throughout the week it's good to use a spray cleaner that will quickly sanitize your brushes without having to wait ages for them to dry. I use the e.l.f. Daily Brush Cleaner. I spray a couple of spritzes directly onto the bristles and wipe the brush against a paper towel in a circular motion. My brushes pretty much dry instantly. They've definitely changed the scent of this product a few times, which wasn't always for the better, but at $3 it's the most affordable daily brush cleaner I've found.

To really give my brushes a deep clean and remove all of the product buildup, I like to shampoo my brushes once every 3 weeks or so. I use Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap in Peppermint. I bought a travel-size bottle of this months and months ago for under $3 at Target and I'm still only about half way through. The soap comes in an enormous variety of scents (and unscented) and can be used for a multitude of different purposes, though I've only ever used it for cleaning my brushes. And what a fantastic job it does! It removes all of the makeup and leaves my brushes feeling soft and smelling like peppermint. In fact, when I clean my brushes my whole bathroom tends to end up smelling like mint which makes me very happy.

In the past I have also used baby shampoo to clean my brushes and that works great too if you have it on hand. Personally I think Dr. Bronner's does a better job, though.

Now, for the process. It's actually very simple and takes me less than 5 minutes to clean all of my brushes. Using warm water, I wet a brush's bristles, keeping the brush head pointing downward under the faucet. When cleaning your brushes, it's important to keep your brushes pointed downward so that water doesn't get into the ferrule of the brush (the metal ring that connects the bristles and the handle). If water gets into the ferrule it could potentially loosen the glue holding the bristles in place, which you obviously don't want. 

Once the brush is damp, keeping the brush tilted downward, I put a few drops of Dr. Bronner's soap in the palm of my hand and swirl the brush in it. This will get your brushes all sudsy and work the soap in between the bristles. I then run the brush back under the faucet. Sometimes I will hold my brush almost horizontally and separate the bristles a bit with my left hand to make sure the water is getting into the middle of the bristles and removing all traces of makeup and soap. For some reason it's such a great feeling seeing the water change colors with your makeup and knowing that all that gunk is being removed. Squeeze the brush head slightly to remove the excess water before setting them down to dry.

To dry my brushes I take an old towel and roll up the top of it, tucking it beneath the rest. This creates a spot for my brushes to rest to dry that is slightly elevated on one side. The reason this is important is for the same reason it's important to keep your brushes pointed downward while washing: you don't want water going into the brush. Place your brushes on the towel with the handle on the elevated portion so that the bristles are pointed downward. It usually takes about a day for them to dry completely. 

One more important note: DO NOT BLOW DRY YOUR BRUSHES. I mean ever. It will damage the glue in your brush, potentially causing it to fall apart on you. 

That's it! This was a lot of words to explain something that's fairly uncomplicated. For further clarification, check out this amazing video from Vivianna Does Makeup that spells it all out in the simplest terms. 

How often do you clean your brushes? Any product recommendations?

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