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How To Clean Makeup Brushes

These days we are all (or at least should be) taking extra cleaning precautions, wiping down door handles and sanitizing frequently touched services. In the midst of your amped up cleaning, now is a good time to address your makeup brushes. I recently organized my cosmetics and took inventory of my makeup accessories, because what else was I going to do on a Friday night during quarantine. I found almost a dozen brand new eyeliners and that many of my brushes needed a deep clean. After some research I learned that how and when you clean your brushes depends on the type of makeup applicator you use, and the ingredients of your cleanser.

First up is frequency — you don’t actually have to clean your brush after every use; however you don’t want to wait too long between deep cleans. Weekly washes for makeup brushes is the standard practice during regular times. However, if you’re staying home and social distancing you’re probably not wearing as much make as you usually do. If that’s the case, try to wash the brushes you handle on the regular after about every five to seven uses.

This doesn’t apply to sponges. Makeup brushes and sponges require two separate schedules. Sponges should really be washed after every use. Of course, that may not be realistic especially if you share a bathroom and/or are working with limited counter space for having them dry out (more on this in a bit). At the very least try to wash sponges weekly, if not every few days. Again, if you’re wearing less makeup then normal try to wash your sponges after every two to four uses. Obviously, this does not apply to disposal makeup wedges.

How you clean your tools depends on the cleanser you pick. Liquid brush cleanser is fairly common and available at most drugstore. I prefer e.l.f.’s daily use cleanser that comes in an easy to use spray bottle. There are also shampoos for a deeper clean as well as solid brush soap. I’m interested in checking out Anne’s Giverny solid cleaner that can be used for both brushes and sponges. Regardless if you go with liquid or solid be sure to read through the ingredient label on a product before you use it, especially if you have invested in high-quality brushes. Cleansers that include ethyl alcohol can dry out your tools. If you are a fan of “green” beauty avoid formulas that contain parabens, fragrances, sulfates, and animal fats.

When cleaning keep a towel handy to squeeze away excess water after rinsing out your tools. Then smooth the towel over the top of brushes to reshape. You can leave brushes to dry with the heads hanging over the side of a counter or sink. However, you may not have the undisturbed space, especially if you , like me you have little ones running around the house that have a hard time keeping their grubby little fingers off of things that don’t belong to them. Consider investing in brush and sponge drying racks. Much like a toothbrush holder, you can get a small rack or stand to allow your newly cleaned accessories to get full air circulation, and hopefully have a place to keep them out of reach. Racks and stands can be found at Walmart, Target, and if you’re looking for something fancy check out Etsy.

If you normally use your fingers to apply makeup, consider putting that practice on hiatus since no one should be touching their face more than necessary. A great multi-use product is the Beauty Blender, which is an egg-shaped sponge you use to apply primer, foundation, and powder. Their website also offers specific cleanser to keep your blender free of build-up and bacteria. In addition to their cleanser they also feature a protective case to store your blender. And the cutouts on this shatterproof case, will let the sponge air dry while protecting if from grime and germs.

If you find you just don’t have the time (or the motivation) for a weekly deep-clean of your sponges and brushes, you can at the very least spritz on a little rubbing alcohol before each use. This way you are starting with a cleaner brush, even if you aren’t able to thoroughly wash them after putting on your makeup. Of course, even in regular times summer is the season for minimal makeup. Maybe give your face and brushes a rest and go with an au natural look, just be sure to apply a good SPF. Even when giving makeup a break it doesn’t mean you can throw out skincare all together, times aren’t THAT crazy!

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