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5 Effective Ways to Clean Cosmetic Brushes

BlogBeauty Tips | August 11, 2014
Regular cleaning will help remove old makeup, dirt and debris, dead skin cells, bacteria and oils.

Remember those fluffy new cosmetic brushes you once owned, and how utterly flawless your makeup looked when you used them? You were able to master a smoldering smokey eye, line lips into a perfect pout, and finish your look with a smooth veil of powder that made your pores seemingly disappear. In fact, you liked them so much that you used them to apply a palette of pretty makeup colors over and over again.

Then all of a sudden, those magical brushes seemed to lose their power. The telltale signs began slowly, but become obvious over time. Your once silky powder appeared in clumps on your skin, your blush looked painted on rather than blended, and the exotic smoky eye became the smudgy eye. What did you do? Let me guess…you tossed them out as soon as they lost their potential to please. It’s what most of us tend to do.

This all too familiar cycle usually can end in one of two ways. You’ll either spend a lot of money investing in replacement brushes gone before their time, or you may instead purchase cheap brushes to compensate for the loss in your beauty investment. Neither of these options have the most beneficial outcomes.

Instead, how about rescuing your favorite fluffy implements from an early demise? That’s right, you can save these masterful tools and get a lot more use from them. Quite simply, cosmetic brushes require care and maintenance to survive. They need proper cleansing to revive them to their original state of glory. Doing this will spare you makeup disasters while putting some extra cash in your pocket. Interested? Read on!

Here are some quick, efficient ways to spruce up your makeup brushes:

1)  Baby Shampoo

Perhaps because of its gentleness, this cleansing treatment has long been favored by many makeup artists and the common user. To make it work, dilute one part of the shampoo with equal parts warm water. Simply swish the brushes in the liquid solution, rinse with clear water, then allow excess moisture to drip off. Next, reshape the bristles and dry flat. This method is good for sanitizing a few brushes at once, since you can use a large quantity of cleaner without spending much money.

2)  Facial Cleanser

Since the brushes are placed on your skin, why not try using the same cleanser? Most experts recommend a foaming face wash to dissolve stubborn makeup and oils trapped in the brush tips. Place a small amount of the face wash onto bristles and massage it in briefly. Rinse with warm water and air dry. A little goes a long way, so this is another cost-effective method.

Sephora Brand Daily Brush Cleaner

3)  Commercial Brush Cleaner

There are many cleansing formulas available on the market specifically made for cosmetic brushes. Beauty buffs like this choice as it allows for an easy transition when switching from dark to light powder makeup, especially for applying varying eye shadow colors. There are some that come from a specialty line, like Sephora’s Daily Brush Cleaner, but are highly recommended. To cut the cost a bit, try a brand from a beauty supply store of drugstore. They’re very easy to use. Just spray the solution onto the brush, and wipe clean with a paper towel. It’s dry and ready to go!

4)  Olive or Almond Oil

Since essential oils are all the rage these days, it’s not uncommon to discover they are great multi-purpose beauty items. Cleaning brushes with either almond or olive oil can rescue bristles that have dried up and become stiff with color residue. Regular cleansing methods won’t be enough to bring back the fluffiness and erase the color. Place a small amount of the oil onto a dish or paper towel and twirl the bristle tips in it. When the softness returns, move to a soap-based cleaner for the final wash.

5)  Water and Vinegar

Now here’s a very inexpensive way to clean up bristles. Simply make a solution of 2 parts water to one part vinegar, preferably in a shallow bowl. Dip your brushes in the mixture, let them soak a few minutes, then rinse in warm water. Air dry (don’t squeeze) bristles and lay on a flat surface.

Some final words of wisdom:

-Clean brushes regularly; make it part of your established beauty routine.
-Brushes used to apply liquid cosmetics like foundation and lipstick should be cleaned daily.
-Brushes for dry makeup like blush and eye shadow can be cleaned weekly.
-Cleaning cosmetic brushes will ensure they have a longer life.
-Clean brushes at night so they are ready for use in the morning.

How about our readers? Do you know of any other good methods for cleaning cosmetic brushes? Please share your tips with us!

Lorraine Letcavage

Written by Lorraine Letcavage

Lorraine has been involved with the beauty school industry for over 5 years, having been employed as a copywriter, editor and blog writer for Empire Education Group. Most of her career has been in Education, as she has a passion to learn and share knowledge to benefit others. She has a BA in English and enjoys writing newsletters, marketing material, and informative pieces for various companies and websites. A self-professed beauty product junkie, Lorraine reads about all the latest trends and uses her connections in the salon industry to stay current in cosmetology.

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