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The Best Methods To Keep Your Makeup Brushes Clean, Even On A Budget

Better to take the five minutes to get them clean than suffer the consequences and risk a skin breakout. Even better if you're using our tried-and-tested methods!

It’s never fun when you find yourself waking up to a new pimple on your face every morning. Before you start cursing your skincare routine, maybe it’s time to look at the one makeup rule we often get complacent about: your brushes. The darned things that look so innocent, but could be the culprits jeopardising your quest toward glass skin when left unwashed.

We don’t have a doubt in our minds that you know which brush in your arsenal goes to which part of your face. But did you know that it is unofficially mandatory to have them cleaned once, even twice a month?

The bristles on our brushes may feel soft and fluffy, and it is rather hard to tell when they’re in need for a cleaning when they’re of a dark colour, like the commonly seen black, but with each use, the bacteria will only build and multiply. That isn’t the only thing to worry about. There is also oil, dirt and dust. Put all of them together and you get a surefire way to start a pimple riot.

Also, you know how some of the product stays behind on the brush with each use? That actually affects how much product it picks up time goes by. So, if you can’t figure out why your brush just won’t pick up enough contour or blush powder, this is why.

Now, before you start frantically swapping your brushes out for new ones, there are a few tips to keep by no matter which method you may choose. For starters, reshape them after washing. Next, always keep them pointing-downwards when drying and never rub too violently while drying them. (A DIY life-hack to drying your brushes is to use a couple of elastic bands and a clothes hanger, just like this.) Now, scroll on down to find out some of our favourite ways to keeping them as bacteria-free as possible.

# 1: Zero-Cost Baby Shampoo

This is something you probably already have lying around your house. If you don’t, there are a ton of other gentle and clarifying shampoos out in the market that will work just as well. (Side-note: Steer clear from specialist shampoos like anti-dandruff and colour enhancing properties, as those may damage the hairs.To start, wet the brush head and swirl it in your palm with a dollop of baby shampoo in it. Once it lathers, rinse the soap out and repeat until the water runs clear. Rubbing it with your fingers might take a long time, so a textured cleaning mat might help, like this one from Sigma. The bumps and crevices on it help to get way into the bristles. Just be careful not to over work them, as it can be pretty easy to get carried away.


#2: Daiso’s Sponge And Puff Detergent

If you want your brushes to look as clean and fresh as they originally were, you’re going to need more than just shampoo and water. With a price tag of just two bucks, the Daiso’s Sponge And Puff Detergent packs a real punch. It may not look like much, but if you’re trying to get rid of the foundation stains on your white (now yellowed) brushes, this will do the job. Its watery and slippery consistency will help to get inside the dense head of the brush to coax out any stubborn makeup bits. Other than the swirl and rinse method, you can also try soaking your brushes into a mixture of water and a few drops of the cleaning solution. But it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. In reality, it’s pretty hard to get a hold of one of these because of how quickly they fly off the racks. It’s also not the most convenient option, but if you’re one to go heavy-handed on the solution, this is your best option.


#3: M.A.C Cosmetics Brush Cleanser

Treat your brushes to some TLC with the M.A.C. Cosmetics brush cleanser. This one product will clean, disinfect, and condition every bristle on your brush. It will not only help to extend the life span, but it will also reduce the chances of the brush becoming scratchy. Trust us, scratchy and jagged brushes do not feel good, especially around the eyes. To start washing, simply drop some of the solution onto your palm or textured mat and start swirling your brushes. You’ll have to be careful though – a little goes a long way and there’s no stopper on the cap. We recommend replacing the head with a spray nozzle to avoid any accidental oopsies. Although it may be pretty pricey for a 235ml bottle of soap, this is one investment to make if you’re looking to keep your brushes nice and fluffy for a long, long time.


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