It’s a dirty little secret in the beauty-loving community that many of us aren’t washing our makeup brushes as often as we should. And by often we mean not-so-often, if ever. It’s gross, but it’s true. In an attempt to fix our collective wrongdoing, we tapped makeup artist Kasey Spickard for some tips. Ahead, he shows how to clean — and dry — our brushes the right way once and for all.
Tip #1: Wash After Every Use
“You should clean your brushes after every use, especially brushes you use for cream-based products as they can be a breeding ground for bacteria,” says Spikard. So grab your foundation brushes and beauty sponges because they’re going to need some extra TLC.
Tip #2: Rinse Until the Towel Comes up Clean
To get your brushes squeaky clean and ready for use, Spickard recommends this method: “Pour your brush cleaner into a tin or dish and then dip the brush tip into it about half-way up the bristle of the brush. Then wipe it on a paper towel, following the grain of the brush hair. For fluffy brushes, you can make circular buffing motions to wipe off the product. Continue this process until the brush runs clean on the paper towel.” Once finished, Spickard says he spritzes his brushes with 70% alcohol to make sure they’re sanitized for his next client. While you may not need to take this extra step every time (especially if your brushes are solely for personal use), it can be helpful to do this every few washes to ensure you’ve gotten rid of all the bacteria.
If you are looking for more of a deep clean and scrub, Spickard recommends using dishwashing liquid. First he mixes in two pumps with warm water in a large bowl. Then, he swirls the brush in the mixture and buffs it out on his hand to work up a lather. After massaging out the makeup, he rinses it with hot water.
Tip #3: Choose the Right Cleaning Products
Spickard’s cleaner of choice is Cinema Secrets Brush Cleaner — a makeup-artist favorite. It doesn’t require water and comes with a reusable tin, so you can clean your brushes no matter where you are, no excuses. We also like the IT Cosmetics Brush Bath Purifying Brush Cleanser.
Tip #4: Don’t Dunk Your Brush in Water
While cleaning your brushes is necessary, the last thing you want to do is ruin them in the process. A common mistake is fully submerging the brush all the way up to the heel and into the ferrule (the metal part it’s attached to). This can cause your brushes to deteriorate faster and shorten their lifespan. Another common mistake Spickard sees? Using that circular buffing motion he likes for fluffy brushes to clean flat ones. Instead, he recommends using a back-and-forth swiping motion, which prevents them from fraying.
Tip #5: Dry With Care
While your brush-washing technique is important, so is the way you dry your brushes. Rather than drying them bristle-side-up (like in a cup), Spickard suggests placing them on a clean, dry towel to air-dry. The former causes moisture to drip down into the handle, which will shorten the life of your brushes. If you can’t wait for them to dry overnight, blow-dry them on medium heat.