All makeup junkies know – how is it that we can sit in front of our vanity mirror and do our makeup for more than three hours everyday and feel great, but can’t say the same when we’re cleaning our makeup brushes and tools?

We absolutely know the effects (hello, breakouts!) of not cleaning our makeup brushes and tools frequently, but there’s only a few of us who can pinky swear that we wash and clean our makeup tools regularly as prescribed.

Of course, some of us are just really lazy, but there are also a bunch of us who are wondering: how to clean makeup brushes?

How often should you clean your makeup brushes

how to clean makeup brushes how often

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Most dermatologists will tell you to deep-clean your makeup tools at least once a week (minimum) to prevent bacteria and product buildup. This goes especially for face brushes, such as foundation and concealer brushes, because we’re using them directly on our faces.

However, legendary makeup artist Bobbi Brown says that eye makeup brushes, such as shadow and liner brushes, don’t need to be cleaned as frequently. “Brushes that are used around the eyes should be cleaned at least twice a month,” she says.

Why should you clean your makeup brushes

Dirty Makeup Brushes

If you think you have the perfect skincare routine down in a pat and you still suffer from breakouts and blemishes, then maybe it’s time for you to check your makeup brushes and tools. Daily muck from our makeup brushes can cause skin irritation, congestion, and breakouts. It goes the same with your makeup sponges too.

Also, always remember that sharing unclean makeup brushes and tools is a crime. This practice promotes virus-spreading, which can lead to cold sores and even conjunctivitis!

Not washing your makeup brushes frequently can also wear out their quality in just a short time, making it less effective in applying makeup. The accumulated dirt in every makeup brush has also been said to accelerate ageing effects on the skin.

“There are no clinical studies to confirm this, but in theory, dirty makeup brushes may contribute to collagen and elastin breakdown and oxidative skin stress from free radicals – all of which are factors in premature skin ageing,” reveals dermatologist Dr. Stefanie Williams.

How to clean makeup brushes: a step-by-step guide

how to clean makeup brushes guide

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Here is the step-by-step process on how to clean makeup brushes for a more hygienic makeup application every time.

1. Dip

Dip every brush with a gentle cleanser such as baby shampoo or a mild, anti-bacterial soap under lukewarm water. Rub gently with your fingers for a few minutes until all the product buildup is stripped from each makeup brush.

2. Wash 

After lathering your makeup brushes with soap, hold them under running water until there’s no soap residue left. Do this step for a couple seconds until you ensure each brush is sparkling clean.

3. Repeat

If you see some residue left on the brush even after rinsing it, you may have to repeat step number one. If not, squeeze the brush dry gently to get all the water out and lay it flat on a paper towel to dry. Doing this prevents the water from draining into the handle, which leads to the wood rotting over time or the glue being removed.

4. Dry 

After washing your brushes, lay them in a neat row to dry. If you have a radiator, put the brushes underneath it to dry them faster! Don’t stack the brushes on top of each other. Doing this won’t let your brushes dry properly. They’ll also smell funky afterwards, which is not good!

How to clean makeup sponges: a step-by-step guide

how to clean makeup sponges

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Makeup sponges, such as Beauty blender, are one of the most popular makeup application tools today. They are perfect for achieving that airbrushed look, and they don’t leave streaks when you put on cream products on your face.

If you use a makeup sponge every time, it’s also important to clean them regularly. Here is the step-by-step process on how to clean your makeup sponge:

1. Wet and lather

Wet your used makeup sponge under running lukewarm water. Once the sponge is thoroughly wet, pour an ample amount of soap, shampoo, or cleanser onto the sponge and massage gently. This will help loosen the makeup.

2. Rinse and if needed, repeat

Once you see all makeup residue is out of the sponge, rinse and then squeeze the excess water out. Until your sponge looks like  new, repeat this step as necessary. After rinsing, leave your sponge to dry in a cool, dry place.

Can you use shampoo to wash makeup brushes?

makeup brush

You might have heard of the shampoo makeup brush cleaning hack, which is a good option as well. However, always make sure to use a gentle shampoo like Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo. There are also shampoos that are specifically made for cleaning makeup brushes, such as EcoTools Makeup Brush Shampoo.

Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo retails for RM65, while EcoTools Makeup Brush Shampoo retails for RM86.66 on Shopee. 

How to clean your makeup brushes: Mistakes to avoid

how to clean makeup brushes mistakes

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Believe it or not, just cleaning your makeup brushes is not enough. Here are a couple of common mistakes to avoid whenever you do a makeup brush cleaning routine, to ensure you do the job properly!

1. Using a blow dryer to dry your brushes

If you think using a blow dryer is the perfect hack to drying your makeup brushes quick, you’re making a big mistake! The intense heat that comes from a blow dryer will quickly ruin the bristles of your makeup brush, whether it is synthetic or natural-made.

2. Soaking your makeup brushes together

Do not make the mistake of soaking all your brushes together. This will make them dirtier, which will make you clean them for longer. The more efficient way is washing each makeup brush separately.

3. Washing your brushes in the wrong temperature

Always wash your brushes with lukewarm water. Using cold or hot water will harm their bristles, especially if you’re washing an expensive brush!

4. Using just a spray cleanser on your brushes

Makeup brush spraying cleansers can be really effective when you’re switching between products and need a quick-fix brush cleaning. However, they don’t thoroughly clean your brushes, so you still need an in-depth, deep-clean makeup brush cleaning routine.

5. Not using a proper makeup brush cleanser

You don’t have to splurge on a hundred-dollar makeup brush cleanser, but you can’t rely on just water either. There are a lot of  affordable makeup brush cleansers that do the job well, but a gentle soap bar does the trick too. If your makeup brush collection is mostly comprised of natural bristles, you can opt for oil-based cleansers.