Beauty Basic: How to care for makeup brushes


Ashley Evert, Assistant L&A&E Editor

“Here, you can use my brush if you need to,” is not only a statement that offends me as a makeup artist, considering that I have over 50 brushes at my disposal at all times, but the brush I am offered always looks like it has been through 20 products for 20 years without a single wash.
This week’s Beauty Basic is a result of all the bacteria-infested brushes I have been offered in my career.  Cleaning your makeup brushes is simple, easy and necessary to keeping that face of yours as gorgeous as usual.
In theory, we should use a clean brush every time we apply a new product, but this is not a perfect world with limitless money to buy new brushes or limitless time in which to clean them.  Keep up with this routine every two or three weeks and you will see a huge difference in the application of your makeup and the “health” and longevity of your brushes.
Don’t waste the money on expensive brush cleaners when baby shampoo works just as well.  Wet your brush and squeeze a small amount of shampoo into your hand.  Don’t swirl your brush around because the bristles could break off against the metal ferrule.   Instead, work your brush into the shampoo back and forth, then side-to-side gently.  Massage the shampoo into the bristles with your fingertips, then rinse using the same motions.
Be careful to rinse the brush with the bristles facing down and without getting any water into the ferrule.  Water can loosen the glue inside that keeps the brush together and you will get a ton of bristle loss.  Repeat shampooing and rinsing until the water runs clear, then reshape the bristles with your fingers and lay the brush down to dry on a flat surface; never put it back in a container upside-down because again, the water will seep into the ferrule.
Viola! Not too difficult to keep those brushes squeaky clean, is it?  If you’re having particular difficulty with an eyeliner or lip brush because of the waxy consistency of the products, add some olive oil to the shampoo.  The oil will break down any wax and make it much easier to clean the brush.  Olive oil will also condition your brush hairs.
I tend to wash my brushes at night so they have plenty of time to dry while I catch my beauty rest.  In terms of storage, I use old glass containers from candles filled with colorfill from Michael’s (found in the vase section) to display them on my vanity.
Keeping your makeup brushes sparkling is super quick and easy.  When your brushes are happy, your skin will be, too.  Now that you have been armed with the knowledge on how to properly clean them, there should not be a single crusty brush in anyone’s bag around campus.