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How to clean makeup brushes

For women (and performers), makeup is a cultural necessity as many of us prefer to look alive. However, while makeup can arguably make your skin look smoother and more even toned, if you don’t take care of your makeup or clean your makeup brushes, then you can risk breakouts from bacterial buildup and mixing of powders which might look colorful—or frightening. Then there’s the really not so great news that brushes can carry viruses and give you conjunctivitis (also known as pink eye) or herpes. Also, oil buildup on the brushes can cause powders to clump and not blend smoothly.

So the lesson of this article is: wash your brushes.

Makeup brushes are mostly made of synthetic fibers such as nylon and plastic. Natural brushes are made with animal hair from squirrels, sable, and goats, are softer and great with powders, but also more expensive and carry an animal suffering burden. Both have similar cleaning protocols, however, and, as much as no one actually does this (except the pros), you should be washing your brushes once a week, particularly if you use them daily or quite often.

  1. First, make sure you avoid using sulfate-based soap to clean the brushes. While regular soap can clean the bristles, it also dries them out which means that they won’t last. Opt for a specific brush cleaning soap like Jenny Patinkin’s Luxury Vegan Makeup Brush Soap or MAC Cosmetics Brush Cleaner. If you don’t want to get fancy and budget is a concern, Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, which is hypoallergenic, pH balanced, sulfate-free, and silicone-free, works fine too.
  2. Rinse your brushes under lukewarm running water to remove dirt and any residue. Then either fill a bowl of warm to lukewarm water with about a tablespoon of your cleaning agent and swirl each brush in the bowl, using your fingers if necessary to pull some of the residual makeup off the brush.
  3. Blot the brush on paper towel to determine if the brush is clean. If any color or powder comes off the brush, then keep swirling and working the soapy water through it to clean.
  4. Once clean, rinse the brush under running water
  5. If the brush tip looks misshapen, you can tie your brush with a piece of string or clean dental floss to maintain the shape.
  6. Allow to dry before removing string and replacing in your makeup kit or drawer.

Not only will having a cleaning routine for your brushes be better for your skin health and face, it will also preserve your brushes and help keep them out of landfills longer.

PopUP CleanUP was founded by a former professional makeup artist who saw the need for event cleaning services while she was working events like the Grammys red carpet and the Miss Universe pageant. If you need pre, live, or post event cleaning, we know how to make your event look good.

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