10 Smart Ways to Care for Your Makeup Brushes


Makeup brushes afford you easy application of everything from your cosmetic foundation and blush to eye shadow and lip color. A good set of brushes may last you for years at a time, but only if you take proper care of them. Brushes that are not cleaned, or are mistreated, will soon collect dirt, bacteria, and excess product and need to be replaced. Here are 10 tips to extend the life of your cosmetics brushes, saving you money and a trip the department store.

1. Wash your brushes

Brushes should be cleaned on a regular basis to get rid of built up makeup residue, skin oils, and other dirt. If you don’t clean your brushes, the oil and dirt on your brushes will end up being transferred to your face with each make up application. You can wash brushes with a brush cleaner or shampoo, but use something gentle enough to get out the dirt without damaging the bristles.

2. Separate new brushes from old ones

Remember that the dirt and oil from one brush can transfer to another when your brushes are all stored together. Bacteria from one brush may also jump to nearby brushes, which is damaging to the brushes and your skin or lips. To that end, if you have brushes that are currently unclean or older, it’s smart to store them in a separate location from new, clean brushes.

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3. Reshape bristles

Another way to care for your makeup brushes is to reshape the bristles as soon as you are finished washing them. Prior to laying your brushes down to dry, shape them gently with your fingers. This will encourage the bristles to dry in a natural orientation, not bent or in a position that may lead them to break.

4. Learn how to dry brushes

A brush that is properly cleaned but improperly dried can actually end up in bad shape. Immediately after you wash your makeup brush, lightly brush it against a towel to get rid of some of the moisture. Then lay your makeup brush on a towel to dry, never using a blow drier. Air drying is the best means of  drying your brushes because too much heat can warp the shape of your bristles. A brush may take up to 8 hours to dry, so plan ahead.

5.  Store your brushes upright

Once your brushes are dry, store them upright whenever possible. This discourages the bristles from becoming bent or suffering other damage. If you must store the brushes horizontally, make an effort to keep them from becoming crushed under other, heavier, cosmetics or small appliances.

6.  Keep your brushes from staining

Clean your brushes as often as needed to keep the bristles from becoming stained. While foundation brushes may only need to be washed once a week or so provided you tap off excess makeup after each use, other brushes should be washed every other day. Lipstick and lip gloss brushes, for instance, should be washed about every other day because they are used with stickier cosmetics that can damage bristles faster.

7.  Keep your brushes out of direct sunlight

Much like a hair dryer can damage the bristles on your cosmetics brushes, direct sunlight can do the same. Sun may also cause the bristles to weaken or fade, so try to store your brushes away from window sill or other locations where they will be in the direct path of sunlight for more than a short period of time each day.

8.  Store your brushes in a cabinet or drawer

Just like your toothbrush should be kept in a cabinet for safekeeping, your skin will thank you from storing your makeup brushes in a cabinet or drawer. Perfumes, hair spray, germs from a sneeze, moisture from a shower, and any number of other of contaminates can settle onto a brush if you leave it out on the bathroom counter for a long period of time. Protect your brush and your skin by storing it in a safe location.

9. Don’t share your brushes

While you might occasionally loan your brush to a friend or roommate, avoid making this a common practice. Sharing brushes between users only encourages the growth of more bacteria on the bristles. After you share a brush with someone else, be sure to give it a thorough cleaning and dry it fully before you use it again.

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10. Consider an alcohol-based cleaner

While warm water and shampoo can do a good job of breaking up the dirt in your brushes, consider using an alcohol-based cleaner. This is especially true if you want to expedite the drying time. Cleaning products that use alcohol will allow the moisture to evaporate much more quickly than a regular soap or shampoo.

Makeup brushes are a woman’s best friend, and are often thrown into purses and travel bags to be put to use away from home. With the proper care, you can get the most from your money by utilizing the same brushes for years at a time. Remember, however, that even with proper care makeup brushes do have a finite lifespan. When bristles become too stained or dirty, it’s a good idea to toss them and replace them with a clean set. How do you clean and store your makeup brushes? Share your secrets with us, ladies!