Your Makeup Brushes Are Disgusting: Tips For Washing 'Em

When you clean your brushes, you’re not just getting rid of old makeup, but you’re also ridding the brush of (and here’s where things gets real gross): old makeup, dirt, oil, dead skin, and bacteria. I know. I know. Being a human is disgusting.

Mar 20, 2013 at 1:00pm | Leave a comment

Guys, can I confess something to you? This is, like, major bad beauty writer confession. I used to be (until far too recently) so horrible at washing my makeup brushes. I would use them until they were so gross that they made my face break out or makeup look muddy, and then I would buy new brushes. WHO DID I THINK I WAS THROWING AWAY NICE THINGS LIKE THAT? MONEY DOES NOT GROW ON TREES, MICHELLE! NOW CLEAN YOUR ROOM!

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Just smiling pretty as I hold a bunch of tools that are filled with my dead skin! 

I reached out to a friend of mine who is a former makeup artist and confessed my sins. She gave me that look my friends oft give me that reads, “You are the dumbest person on the planet, but I love you.”

Apparently, you should be cleaning your brushes at least every two weeks. Eyeliner brushes, however, should be cleaned daily, so that your eyes don’t get an infection. When you clean your brushes, you’re not just getting rid of old makeup, but you’re also ridding the brush of (and here’s where things gets real gross): old makeup, dirt, oil, dead skin, and bacteria. I know. I know. Being a human is disgusting.

Begin by wetting the hairs of the brush under warm water, with the brush pointing down. Otherwise, water might get stuck in the handle of the brush or in the brush’s ferrule (A.K.A the metal part), which could cause, at worse, bacteria, and, at best, a break down of the glue that keeps the bristles of the brush in the handle.

You can buy swaggy make-up removers at Sephora or department stores, but honestly? They’re a waste of money. Just use a mild shampoo or mild hand soup.

Squirt just the teeniest of dollops on our fingers and apply the soap, working from the base of the brush to the tips. Add a bit of water and squeeze (Gentle! You don’t want to hurt it!) the bristles (again, working from the base to the tip). Continue this process until the water runs clean of the built up paint that you have been putting on your face for the past two weeks because you’re a liar.

Be sure that you’re keeping the brush pointing down the entire time for the reasons listed above.  

Dry the brushes a bit with a paper towel or regular towel and reshape the bristles. Leave the brushes (even kabuki brushes) on their side. Leaving them standing up to dry will cause water to seep down and damage the brush.

You need to let the brushes dry 100% before you use them to paint your face again, so I suggest doing this at night, once you’ve already committed that you will not be leaving your apartment and will not need to paint your face again at any point in the day.

I want to know if everyone else is secretly washing their brushes and just didn't tell me. Do you wash your brushes? Lemme know below or at @michellelynking. The above photo was taken by my roommate/friend (Friendmate, maybe? I don't know. I'll work on it and get back to you), Kait Robinson