Spring Cleaning: How to Properly Care for Your Makeup Brushes for the Healthiest Skin

We all know that cleaning our makeup brushes is key to ensuring clear skin and avoiding breakouts from bacteria that accumulates in your makeup bag over time. If you’ve been a bit lax in the brush-cleaning category, don’t worry – we’ve put together the essential guide to cleaning your brushes that covers everything from how often to how to. Read on and consider this your official reminder to get cleaning!

Do I really need to clean my makeup brushes?

Yes! Makeup brushes see it all: oils, bacteria, residue, and grime. You wouldn’t apply your skincare products with dirty hands, so why apply your makeup with dirty brushes? When you use makeup brushes, they can pick up the same compounds that you wash off your face at the end of the day, like dirt, oil and dead skin cells. Your brushes store that grime until you use them next, which is why washing them is so important. Dirty brushes can contaminate your makeup, carry breakout-causing bacteria, and clog pores.

What’s the best way to clean makeup brushes?

There are plenty of ways to do it, but thankfully, cleaning your makeup brushes is as simple as using soap and water. Wet your brushes, later them with soap, and use your fingers to rinse them out. You can also fill a bowl with soap and swirl the brushes around in it, then use your fingers to massage out any remaining residue. While there are cleansers designed specifically for makeup brushes, dish soap, hand soap and mild shampoo all work for this process.

Whichever way you choose to wash your brushes, try to keep the ferrule – that’s the metal part between the brush hairs and the handle – dry. When water gets into the ferrule, it can loosen the glue that keeps the brush hairs in place.

Pro tip: after using a towel to remove most of the water, set your brushes on the edge of the counter with the bristles hanging off to dry. This ensures that the brushes dry evenly and keep their shape. If you leave them to dry on a towel, there’s a chance that they could grow mildew, which is the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish!

How often should I clean my makeup brushes?

Most experts recommend cleaning makeup brushes once a week. If you have sensitive skin, are prone to breakouts, or frequently apply a lot of makeup, it’s recommended that you wash them every day. And remember, you should always wash your brushes after sharing them or doing someone else’s makeup!

If once a week sounds like a lot, just think about all the buildup that sits on your brushes after they’ve touched your face seven days in a row. A good wash makes sure your brushes work effectively and won’t clog your pores. If you have a day dedicated to pampering, consider adding “makeup brush cleaning” to your routine while indulging in self-care, your skin will thank you!

What if I don’t wear makeup every day?

If you use your brushes, you’ll have to wash them! If you rarely wear makeup, it’s best to wash your brushes are each use to ensure bacteria doesn’t build up on them for weeks at a time, and that they’re clean and ready for you next time you need them!

If you wear makeup a few times a week, you’re probably safe to wash your brushes every other week. Again, it’s all about keeping those brushes clean and your skin glowing.

Should I clean different types of brushes differently?

The same washing technique applies for all your brushes, but some need to be cleaned more often than others. For face brushes like foundation or concealer, once a week is perfect. If you’re using dry products such as powder on your face and you’re strapped for time, you can clean the dry brushes less frequently, but try your best to stick to a weekly routine.

But eye makeup brushes or brushes that you’re using for different shades can stand to be cleaned more frequently. Eyes are an easy access point for bacteria, so you want to be especially careful with buildup on brushes that you use around your eyes.

What about makeup sponges?

As for makeup sponges, most experts recommend cleaning them after every use, especially if you’re using wet products like foundation. That’s because their shape and texture make them the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. And like a toothbrush, make sure you’re replacing your sponges every 3 to 6 months. Well-maintained brushes, on the other hand, can last for life, and cleaning them weekly is the first step!

Our favorite makeup brush cleansers:

Sigmagic® Brushampoo™ Liquid

All-natural, vegan brush cleanser that works? Yes, please! This anti-microbial cleanser penetrates brush bristles deep to ensure even the toughest pigments are washed away leaving your brush clean and ready to return to the makeup bag.

Blendercleanser® Solid® Charcoal Scented Sponge & Brush Cleanser

Powered by, you guessed it – charcoal – this cleanser works on both brushes and makeup sponges, making it especially versatile. The charcoal acts as a detoxifying agent that does that heavy lifting, so your sponges and brushes remain intact.

Deep-Cleaning Brush and Sponge Shampoo from Sephora Collection

This cleanser packs a major deep-cleaning punch ready to tackle even the most stubborn makeup stains. Perfect for eye makeup brushes that accumulate vibrant residue, you’ll be amazed at how quickly your brushes are restored!

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