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Cleanliness is Next to Godliness: Makeup Brushes


Makeup brushes are like little jewels that you should keep in tip top shape. All of the abuse that they suffer from during the week, should be addressed by the week’s end. Think about it. All week you’re applying eye shadow, lipstick, lip gloss, eye brow gel, foundation and a host of other cosmetics to your face. YOUR FACE. Shouldn’t your brushes be clean and sterile before you apply anything to your eyes or skin? Makeup and makeup brushes are breeding grounds for all kinds of gross bacteria.

Over the years I’ve learned the “do’s and don’ts” of makeup brush cleaning. I’ve destroyed and preserved many makeup brushes. It was trial and error for me, but it doesn’t have to be for you. Usually, I clean my makeup brushes depending on how often I use the brush. I use my all over face brush every day, so I clean it once a week. I clean my eye liner brush every day, and my eye shadow brushes once a week. I also clean my mascara wands once every two days. The brushes that I use on my clients are cleaned more often.

There are several options you can choose to clean your brushes. Let’s start with the options that I do not recommend. I don’t recommend cleaning your brushes with anything harsh like alcohol or bleach. I know they kill germs, but if you’re brushes are made out of natural hair, why would you clean them with something so harsh? Would you wash the hair on your head with bleach or alcohol? I didn’t think so. I also do not recommend scrubbing your brushes. They are meant to be babied. You don’t scour your hair, so give your brushes the same treatment.

When cleaning your makeup brushes, you first need an excellent but gentle cleanser. I like to use baby shampoo (any brand will do). The shampoo is mild and gentle, but it cleans your brushes well. It is also inexpensive and you don’t need a lot of product to get the job done. There are more expensive cleansers, but who can really afford to spend $25 on a cleanser every two weeks? Let’s face it, the more expensive brands never seem to give you a lot of product, so you end up using most of it in a very short period of time. Another great cleanser to use is anti bacterial hand soap. Again, this soap is cheap but effective. Also, after cleaning my brushes, I like to put a little conditioner on them and let it sit for a bout two minutes. This makes the bristles soft to the touch and any cheap drug store conditioner will do the job. You can also use an anti bacterial spray on your brushes (sold by Sephora) to get rid of any left over bacteria.

Now that you have your materials, take a look at my simple cleansing instructions below.

Step 1 – Take your makeup brush and run it under lukewarm water with the bristles facing down toward the sink.

Step 2- Take a little bit of your cleanser and gently massage it through the brush. Make sure you are working it between the bristles of the brush for a really good deep cleaning.

Step 3- Run your shampooed brush through the lukewarm water (make sure bristles are facing down) and rinse the brush until the water streams clear. Repeat steps 1-3 with conditioner. Let the conditioner sit for a minute or two and then rinse them with lukewarm water until the water runs clear.

Step 4- Air dry your brushes on a towel and don’t use them until they are completely dry. Please don’t blow dry your brushes. This is a sure way to destroy your brushes. There are some people that swear by the method, but I find that it destroys the shape of the brush. If you are in a rush to get them dry, sit them near an air vent.

P.S. To keep your brushes in the best shape, stand them upright in a cylinder like container on your vanity or dresser.

About Portia S. Cole (99 Articles)
Portia began blogging in 2012 and has been having a blast ever since. She loves hair, fashion, and beauty, but she also enjoys pop culture and current events. Portia currently resides in New Jersey with her husband and son.

7 Comments on Cleanliness is Next to Godliness: Makeup Brushes

  1. Nice post, well explained. I’ve also destroyed a few (really good) brushes while cleaning them, and I hate to start the job because I never know if I’ll end up with usable or destroyed brushes when I’m finished. I’ll try your tips out, I think even I can manage to not destroy them with these instructions 😀

  2. Saundra from Cali // May 7, 2012 at 5:45 PM // Reply

    I purchased MAC brushes and their brush cleanser which was quite costly. Any suggestions on where to find less expensive brushes?

    • I like Eco tools brushes and Sandra kashuk. Also Revlon makes a pretty descent set of brushes. You can find them at target. Yes, Mac is costly, but the brands I’ve mentioned above are just as great! Hope this helps.

      P.s. Estée Lauder makes great brushes as well, but they cost a little more. Not as expensive as Mac though.

  3. Saundra from Cali // May 7, 2012 at 7:47 PM // Reply

    Thanks so much for your prompt response. I’ve sent your blog to all my natural, weaveolgist, and chemically treated hair friends and they are just as excited about your blog as I am. We all noted how modest you apply your makeup and your choice of dress which is hard to find these days. Keep it coming.

    BTW, I’m 50 years old and my friends range from age 23 to 60+ so you’re reaching a wide age range. BTW, (not a stalker – LOL) but I saw your wedding photos – absolutely beautiful!!!

    • Oh gosh! Thanx so much for spreading the word about my blog! I’m so humbled and I’m so glad I can be of help. Don’t hesitate to ask me anything. I’m just spreading the knowledge. God bless 🙂

  4. Saundra from Cali // May 8, 2012 at 3:49 PM // Reply

    You should begin receiving several hits :)- my sister in Atlanta will share with her friends, my cousins in New Orleans and Houston and my girlfriend in Maryland will do the same. Keep it coming!

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