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Beauty Dos and Don&...

Beauty Dos and Don'ts: How To Clean Makeup Brushes 101

Yes, we know how to contour and highlight like a Kardashian, but are we cleaning our makeup tools correctly (or at all...)? We’re breaking down the dos and don’ts of how to clean your makeup brushes so can keep an everlasting glow.

For the beauty lover who never has the time or for the girl who simply doesn’t clean her brushes—we’re here to save the day. Though it may seem like the most annoyingly daunting part of your beauty routine, it really only takes a few minutes to clear the dirt and grime from our coveted contouring magic wands. So whether you’re looking for a refresher or are learning the ropes for the first time, listen up—because school is officially in session.

Beauty school, that is.

How Do You Clean Makeup Brushes?

Don’t just run water over your brushes for for a quick rinse.

Do follow this five-step process:

  1. Rinse your brushes in lukewarm water to get any remaining makeup product off.
  2. Using a small amount of gentle soap, shampoo, or a brush cleaner—swirl your brush in a circular motion in your palm.
  3. Rinse your brush under lukewarm water again. Repeat steps 1 & 2 until the water runs clear, free of any residual makeup.
  4. Gently squeeze your brush to let out any excess water.
  5. Lay the brush out to try on a cloth or paper towel.

Yes, it’s really that easy.

Pro tip: The cleaning process it essentially the same for synthetic or natural brushes, but you may want to be a tad more gentle with your natural-hair brushes.

What Cleaning Products Should You Use?

Do use a gentle hand soap or baby shampoo, or grab a bottle of the classic EcoTools Makeup Brush Cleansing Shampoo. For a more on-the-go type of gal, you could also opt for The Cleanse: Daily Brush Cleaner by Sephora for a simple daily spritz to sanitize your favorite brushes.

Don’t use whatever personal shampoo you have sitting in your shower. An ordinary “human” shampoo will be too harsh on your delicate makeup brushes.

Don’t rely solely on a brush spray to deep clean your brushes. Sprays are a great option for a quick daily sanitize, but they won’t remove all that a regular, thorough cleanse would.

Don’t use any cleaning product with fragrance, as any leftover residue can harm your skin.

How Often Should You Clean Your Makeup Brushes?

Do clean your brushes once every one to three weeks. Depending on how often you use them and how much product you use, how often you clean will vary. The standard wash frequency is about once every two weeks.

Don’t go months without cleaning your brushes (oops...guilty) because the residue buildup of dirt, dust, and bacteria can be really harmful on your skin, causing irritation, dryness, and breakouts.

What Are Some Tips And Tricks For Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes?

Do always use lukewarm water.

Do try to avoid getting the portion of the brush where the handle meets the bristles wet because it will loosen the glue.

Don’t completely submerge your brushes in water, because it can cause the wood handle to swell or crack. Also, don’t dry your brushes in an upright position because this can also lead to the handles filling with excess water.

When Should You Throw Away Old Brushes?

Do toss your standard makeup brushes—the ones you use for foundation, blush, bronzer, and eyeshadow—when the brush gets frayed ends or the bristles begin to fall out. For your trusty BeautyBlender sponge, you’ll want to part ways with the little miracle worker every three months or whenever it starts to crack.

Don’t dispose of your brushes before they’re ready (see above), because these things were meant to last and they should live in all their glory for as long as they’re still functioning properly.

Don't—we’re all guilty of this one—hang onto your favorite brush forever, pushing it well past it’s lifetime of reliable use. Once a brush is ready to be retired, be at ease because though you are parting with a beloved pal, you’re doing your skin a great big favor.

Alexis Puebla

Alexis is a fashion-obsessed editor and former University of Iowa cheerleader. When she's not writing about fashion's latest trends she enjoys writing for her lifestyle blog, eating Thai takeout, and watching The Office reruns. She also finds great joy in dressing up her shih tzu puppy named Nola and taking Instagram-worthy photos of her.

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