How to Properly Clean and Dry Your Makeup Brushes

Cleaning your makeup brushes isn’t the most enjoyable thing to do, but it is rather important. Over time, the bristles can become a breeding ground for bacteria that could lead to breakouts.

That’s why it’s crucial to clean the tools at least two times a month — but those who use their brushes more than the average person may need to squeeze in even more washes. And it’s also good to note that if the fibers feel stiff, you’re overdue for a scrubbing.

Stop pushing the task to the bottom of your to do list, and get squeaky clean brushes by following the guide below.

How Often Should You Wash Your Makeup Brushes?

The amount you should wash your brushes can totally depend on the frequency at which you use them. Founder and CEO of ANISA BeautyAnisa Telwar Kaicker suggests giving your brushes a deep cleaning bi-weekly or once a month, depending on how often you use your brushes.

For a deep clean, use a makeup brush cleanser, like the Anisa The Wash cleanser ($12; anisa.com) or grab a gentle cleanser that won’t disrupt the fibers of your brush, whether they’re made from synthetic or natural materials. Many beauty bloggers swear by classic anti-bacterial dish liquid.

While you don’t need to deep clean your brushes every week, Kaicker does recommend a quick, “dry clean” using a product that doesn’t require water, like the Sephora Collection Daily Brush Cleaner ($15; sephora.com). “It gets rid of surface oil and dirt for everyday use with no downtime,” she tells us.

How To Wash Your Makeup Brushes

We all dread the process of actually washing our brushes, which is why most of us put off doing it anyways. But avoiding deep brush cleanings will just create more problems for you (like breakouts and stiff brushes). So here is an efficient brush cleaning process that’s as easy as 1-2-3. Follow these steps for a streamlined, hassle free, and quick washing process.

1. Wet Your Makeup Brushes

Saturate each bristle with lukewarm water. It doesn’t matter if the brush is made of synthetic or natural fibers, be sure to concentrate the running water on the tips as to avoid contact with the glue that holds the bristles in place. Over time, the constant contact can weaken the adhesive and result in unwanted shedding.

2. Swirl Your Wet Makeup Brushes

Either on a clean towel or a silicone cleaning pad ($15; anisa.com), swoosh the wet brush in a circular motion into a cleanser of your choice. All you have to do is rinse the brush and repeat until the water runs clear. If you have gunks of product build-up, you’ll want to reach for a solution made specifically to remove makeup. Cinema Secrets makes a time-saving Makeup Brush Cleaner ($24; sephora.com) that doesn’t require rinsing. 

3. Dry Your Makeup Brushes

You can also use a silicone cleaning pad after rinsing the brush to remove excess water. After removing excess water, gently reshape the brushes. Then, instead of letting brushes dry standing up or laying flat, hang them upside down for at least four hours. Gravity will help all of the moisture to properly evaporate, and preserve the shape of the bristles. The Dry’N Shape Tower by Sigma Beauty ($59; amazon.com) can dry and shape 48 of your eye brushes at once.

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