How frequently do you clean your makeup brushes? If you feel at all ashamed about your answer to that question, stop, because mine is worse. That’s right: despite applying makeup almost daily, using various brushes to do so, and spending approximately one-third of my overall life hours thus far fretting over the quality of my skin, I wash my brushes, on average, never. Sure, maybe I’ll do it half-heartedly once every few (read: six) months, but aside from that… nope. I rule! But since it’s come time to honor all things Spring Cleaning, I’ve decided to swallow my laziness whole and work on getting in the habit of taking care of my belongings. Especially ones as grime-accumulating and bacteria-breeding as makeup brushes. Here’s a super-easy 3-step program for cleaning out those bristles once and for all, or at least just for the next 2-4 weeks.
1. Get all dem brushes out. You are going to need an all-purpose soap or body wash (there are loads of designated brush cleaning soaps on the market, but Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Liquid Soap is affordable, rinses clean without leaving a residue, and will make your brushes feel super-fresh and minty on your face once they’ve dried, plus I already have it in my shower, whatever), running (warm!) water, and either a clean hand towel or some paper towels. You may want to include a glass of wine, or some music or a TV show. This is boring, and if you have a lot of brushes, hella tedious. Also, if you’ve got a fresh manicure, throw some gloves on! Nothing chips nail polish quite like plain old soap and water.
2. Wet your brushes (individually or all at once, it don’t matter) under aforementioned warm running water. Just the tiniest drop of soap will do, applied directly to the brush’s bristles and worked in. Then hold the brush head under the running water, separating the bristles and rinsing thoroughly to be sure there’s no soap left over. Alternately (or if you’re interested in saving water, which I am The Worst at, by not leaving the sink running) you can fill a cup with water and swirl your lathered-up brushes around the bottom until they’re all clean. You’ll have to change the water a few times, but this is a pretty good method. Be extra careful not to get the entire brush wet if it’s fancy or you’re attached to it, because getting the base of the bristles wet can cause the glue holding them in to loosen.
3. Once your brushes are rinsed, you can gently (gently!) towel-dry and manipulate them into shape. You don’t want to attempt to dry them by hand all the way, but it’s always good to towel them off a little bit so they’re not soaking. Lay them horizontally on a towel atop a flat surface (table, counter, whatever that thing is called at the top of the toilet) and leave them to dry. If you have to apply makeup within the next 24 hours, you’re probably going to be outta luck, so plan ahead!
Bottom line: washing makeup brushes may be annoying, but you know what else it is? Really, really easy. Now for the real question — will I actually get around to doing this myself, or are my brushes doomed to fester in my face filth for all of eternity? Stay tuned.