Causing a divide in friendships on a daily basis: how often do you clean your makeup brushes?

The debate

It’s a major topical debate between friends and beauty enthusiasts. How often do we give our trusty makeup brushes a deep clean? And how regularly should we be doing this? Most of us have a different answer to the person next to us and sometimes it depends on circumstances. If you ask a group of women how often they wash theirs, I can guarantee that their answers will sound a little like this:

  • One person will proudly state that they wash theirs every week. They’ll also have spares of each brush in case they don’t dry in time, obviously.
  • Another will be adamant that once a month is enough and that they don’t wear much makeup anyway.
  • And finally, there is always someone who will be questioning if they’ve ever actually even remotely rinsed theirs, regardless of how much makeup they wear.

We’ve decided to put this debate to rest and find out exactly when you should be taking your brushes for their regular blow dry. We spoke to Dan Smythe from Buxom to get his professional opinion.

Why you need to clean your brushes

There are many reasons to keep our brushes in good condition. Dan told us “With us all becoming more conscious on the impact we are having on the planet, it’s more important that we don’t contribute to the throw-away society, and take care of our trusty friend ‘the makeup brush’.”

Keeping our brushes in good condition is one of the cheapest and easiest forms of skincare. We spend so much time and money finding products that are right for our cheeks, and then we stress when they’re not working. In some cases, they may well just not be right for you, but more often than not, your beauty tools could probably just do with a good scrub.

When you go long periods of time without cleansing them, dirt, makeup and other forms of bacteria build up on the bristles (ew). Dan explained that “cleaning our makeup brushes thoroughly and effectively will ensure that we get the best performance out of brushes, whilst also ensuring we are cleansing excess makeup from the bristles but also dead skin cells, oils and bacteria; if we take care of them, they will take care of us.”

Our faces collect dust, dirt, sweat and god knows what else during the day, so when we’re touching up our makeup ready to head for a post-work drink, we’re dabbing our brushes into all of that. All of that bacteria stays on our brushes until we physically go to the effort of cleaning them. All of that grime that gathers on our brushes can be the a contributing reason for breakouts, blackheads and other skin issues. *Immediately throws all brushes and blenders into a bowl of boiling water*.

This is how often you should be cleaning them

Depending on the extent of our beauty collection, cleaning our brushes can be somewhat of a chore. Let’s be honest, no one really enjoys doing it. It can be time consuming and it certainly isn’t the easiest of tasks. Our tip? Mentally make it a form of a pamper. In the same way that your skincare regime is considered ‘me-time’, brush cleaning should also be treated that way. You’re supporting your skin’s well-being at the end of the day, and it will thank you for it. When you think of it like that it becomes less of a burden and more like self-care, making it a little more enticing to do.

While it might seem appropriate to wash our brushes after every use (ESP after letting our imagination run wild thinking about the dirt build up), Dan said we should be cleaning them week or two. If you wear a significant amount of makeup regularly, this is particularly important. It’s also worthwhile doing if you mix up your eyeshadow shades. Not only might you end up with leftovers from that smoky look you did last night in your warm, natural look this morning, but you’ll also be carrying the bacteria over. Dan suggests to keep your brushes in a separate bag to your makeup so that they are always squeaky clean and ready to use

Step by step guide to cleaning your makeup brushes

  1. Rinse your brushes under warm water.
  2. Squeeze some brush cleanser or soap into the palm of your hands.
  3. Massage the tips of the bristles into your hand.
  4. Rinse the cleanser/soap out of the brush.
  5. If there’s still cleanser in the brush, repeat the process until the water runs clear.
  6. Dry them roughly with a towel.
  7. Leave to dry, preferable near an open window or a heater.
  8. Dan’s top tip: When leaving your brushes to dry, keep them flat to avoid water getting in to the ferrule of the brush and breaking down the glue that binds the bristles.

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