Have you ever fallen in love with a new foundation or highlighter and used it religiously only to suspect down the road that it’s clogging you up and giving you pimples? It’s time to reassess. You may be able to return to your favorite products because it could be a problem with your makeup brushes—not your makeup.
Most people don’t realize how detrimental a dirty makeup brush can be to your skin. They also don’t realize how quickly a brush can accumulate harmful bacteria. Some people don’t even know we’re supposed to be cleaning our makeup brushes at all.
Why our brushes need cleaning
Brushes can pick up bacteria, dead skin, oil, and dirt from their environment and from our skin and carry it until they get a good cleaning. Depending on how you store your brushes the bacteria can get as serious as staph infections or pink eye.
I’ll be the first to admit that cleaning my makeup brushes often gets put on the back burner. Because we do so much for our skin, this seems like an easy way to keep it healthy and happy. And it’s a lot cheaper than the facial you’ll buy to save your skin if you let the bacteria-riddled brushes wreak havoc on your face.
How often you should clean your brushes
There’s no perfect science when it comes to how often you should be cleaning your brushes. Some health and beauty professionals recommend cleaning your brushes after every use while others suggest spacing it out to about once a month.
We think there is a happy medium. For those of us who use our makeup brushes daily, it may be unrealistic to expect that you will wash them after every use. But if you wait too long the bacteria on your brushes may start to clog your pores and give you pimples.
We have found that cleaning our makeup brushes every 1-2 weeks keeps our skin healthy, without putting extra wear and tear on the bristles from excessive cleaning. After about 2 weeks you may find pimples cropping up after a day when you applied foundation. This is a great sign you’ve waited too long. The trick is catching it before this turn zitty.
How do you know when it’s time to clean your makeup brush?
You will know it’s time to throw out and replace a makeup brush when the bristles begin to fray, take on a different shape, or fall out. If you’re like me and living on a tight budget, you’ll try to convince yourself that the new shape your brush has morphed into will work. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, the shape of our brushes is crucial for creating the exact makeup effects we want.
Do yourself a solid and splurge for that new, perfectly lined brush.
Why go all-natural
We believe in the power of earth’s natural goodness to take proper care of our skin and give it the beautiful glow we deserve. Usually, that means all-natural skin care products, but here it even applies to our cleaning methods.
You may not be directly applying your cleaning solutions to your face, but just like how your brushes store bacteria, they can also store chemicals used to clean them.
You can find effective solutions for cleaning your makeup brushes using only natural products.
The trick to effective cleaning is to also disinfect your brushes (naturally, of course). Throughout the entire process, it’s best to avoid the stem where the bristles meet the handle to preserve the glue for as long as possible.
Instructions on how to achieve a DIY Clean Makeup Brush
- If you haven’t cleaned your brushes in a loooong time or they are particularly dirty, first rub a pea-sized drop of olive or almond oil onto the bristles, massaging it in with your clean fingertips. This will help pull oils out of the bristles.
- Wipe the brush against a clean dry towel to remove oil. The brush will still be oily at this point, but it will come out in the next step.
- Mix castile soap with warm water in a bowl. Swirl the bristles in the soapy water. Then massage them until it comes out with no oil or makeup on it.
- Next, dip the brush two or three times in distilled white vinegar. Squeezing it to make sure all the makeup and dirt are gone and the vinegar runs clear. Then rinse the bristles under warm water and give it a couple more squeezes.
- Reshape the bristles with your fingers if they separated during the wash.
- Give them a good flick of the wrist to remove excess water. Leave the brushes lying flat on a clean towel to air dry. You want to make sure not to leave them to handle down to dry, because, after time, water will start to deteriorate the glue holding the bristles to the stem.
All in all, it only takes about 10 minutes max to clean your brushes. Your beautiful, healthy skin will thank you. You can even do it while your face mask dries. I promise it’s one of those small tasks that make you feel like you’ve really got your life together.
Jessica is a writer & designer who captures the spirit of her generation. She approaches her craft with an anthropological mindset to find the perspective often unseen.
Jessica has studied the art of the written word & honed her craft over the last 8+ years.