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How to clean your makeup brushes

You rub them against your face every day, but do you know what might be lurking in the bristles of your makeup brushes? Your plushest kabuki brush and that eyeshadow brush that cost you a ton at ULTA are breeding grounds for bacteria, which is why they need to be washed on a regular basis.

Makeup accumulates on your brushes and contaminate the next color you use. Plus, the bristles of these brushes pick up extra oil and bacteria from your face during all of those touch ups you do later in the day. If you keep them in your bathroom, the moisture in the air is bound to create the damp breeding ground that bacteria thrive in. Yuck!

However, if you adopt some of these brush-cleaning habits, you can keep your skin clean and clear, while also keeping those (sometimes expensive!) brushes in tip top condition.

Timing. All of your makeup brushes – the ones you use on your cheeks, eyes and lips – benefit from a light cleaning in between each use. However, they should each get a deeper cleansing about twice a month.

Materials. For cleaning between uses, you might want to invest in a brush cleanser. These are usually sprays designed for frequent cleaning, and should be spritzed on both sides of the brush and wiped with a clean cloth until the brush is clean.

For your bi-monthly wash, use a gentle cleanser like baby shampoo or a foaming face wash. Stay away from harsh anti-bacterial hand soaps, as these can strip the bristles and damage the brushes.

Run water over the bristles, apply just a drop of the cleanser, and swirl the bristles around in your palm to lather up. You can either rinse the brush under running water or swirl it around in a small dish of clean water. Make sure you get all the soap out, and avoid soaking the base of the bristles. This can make the glue around the base come undone.

Drying. Make sure you have enough time to dry the brushes. First, squeeze out all the excess water from the brushes with a clean towel and reshape the bristles. Lay them flat on a clean towel or paper towel and let them dry over night.

If your brushes are extra dirty, feel free to repeat the cleaning step as many times as it takes to remove makeup from the brushes. Inspect the bristles closely for remnants of eyeshadow, blush or bronzer. Run the brushes under water. If it runs clear, that’s an indication that your brushes are clean.  Next time you apply makeup, you can be sure the cosmetics are the only thing being applied to your face!

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing