Happy Brushes, Healthy Skin: Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes
Cleaning my brushes is a chore, something that I know I need to get done but definitely not something that I look forward to do. However, when I do eventually get around to giving them a good wash, nothing feels more satisfying than being able to see the actual color of a brush’s bristles. The softness of clean makeup brushes makes me feel like I have achieved a flawless look, even if I don’t actually. To clean them, I usually like to use a gentle facial cleanser on my cleansing brush pad that has ridges designed to clean leftover makeup pigments. Although this is my preference, there are many other great methods that you can use with products that can be found right in your home.
Besides being disgusting, dirty makeup brushes are unhealthy and can affect how you apply your makeup. They make it easier for germs to transfer, especially if they are left in moist environments or commonly used to apply liquid products. They can irritate your skin by trapped dust and dandruff and cause acne for those who have skin that is prone to breakouts. A dirty brush can also affect your application by making it more difficult to blend or making pigments appear weaker than they really are.
The simplest method to clean a sponge is to use a gentle antibacterial soap. Rinse the brushes under some water, lather the soap into the bristles, and then wash until the water runs through clear. An antibacterial soap can also be substituted with gentle shampoo. To add moisture and make the bristles feel smoother, a gentle conditioner or baby oil can be used right after.
The olive oil method is yet another simple method that can be used. The oil will break down any impurities left behind in the makeup brush. On a clean plate, mix two parts of antibacterial dish soap with one part of good quality extra-virgin olive oil. With your makeup brushes, just gently swirl through the soap and oil and then rinse your brushes thoroughly under water. Again, do this until the water begins to run clear.
The last step is to let your brushes dry. Leaving them damp in a dark place can result in an unwanted odor. Not letting them dry properly can also damage the bristles and allow bacteria to grow easily, the exact opposite of what we want. The simplest way to dry is to lay your brushes on a dry towel or paper towel, and to let the bristles dangle off the edge to help them retain their shape. It is important to remember that laying them flat against a surface can damage the shape of your brushes.
Beauty sponges, although seem like they are in a category of their own, are still equally important to keep clean. To clean your sponge with soap, just wet it under water, add a drop of antibacterial soap (or a gentle facial cleanser), and then lather it in. Any makeup stains on the blender will start to wash off as you keep on rinsing. For extremely dirty and stubborn makeup sponges (no judgement here!), fill a cup up with water and mix in a few drops of soap. Let the sponge soak in the cup for a few minutes to loosen all the makeup particles within the sponge. Rinse the sponge thoroughly and wash with soap if you feel the need to and let the sponge dry.
To get an even deeper clean, you can use oil (preferably coconut oil or olive oil). The basic idea is that oil breaks down impurities in the sponge. Starting with a dry sponge, apply a few drops of oil for the makeup to come off. Once the makeup starts to come off, just use the soap and water method and your sponge is as good as new!
Keeping your tools clean keeps your skin happy! Washing your brushes and sponges every week is a good amount to maintain quality brushes. Although I can admit that I tend to not remember to keep them this clean (sometimes I’m too busy and other times I’m just too lazy), it's important to make a routine out of this. However, it is also important to keep in mind that it may also be time to say goodbye to your brush or sponge. Makeup tools are unfortunately not immortal, and there comes a time when all will need to be replaced when they become impossible to clean or start falling apart.