Posted: Mar 27, 2014 8:00 AM
We grab them without thinking about it and toss them back into makeup bags until tomorrow's five-minute makeup application. Makeup brushes do their jobs better when they're maintained, so read about how and when to clean your makeup brushes to keep them soft and sanitary.

Why you need to clean your makeup brushes

You might think if you're using your makeup brushes for the same makeup each day that they stay relatively clean. After all, you're just going to dip your blush brush back into your favorite bronzer after cleaning it. Unfortunately, your brushes come into contact with more than makeup. Even if you wash your face or shower immediately before applying makeup, there are still all sorts of things lurking within the bristles of your favorite brushes. Face lotion, other layers of makeup — like your eyeshadow brushes picking up eyeshadow base cream — and the bacteria and skin cells on your face are all found on makeup brushes.

Keeping your brushes clean has a triple purpose: Your skin will be less prone to breakouts, your makeup won't take on tinges of other shades and your brushes will last longer. Since quality makeup brushes can be expensive, extending their life as long as possible will leave money in your beauty budget for that gorgeous red gloss you've been coveting.

Daily cleaner for makeup brushes

Sephora Daily Brush CleanserThe simplest way to keep your brushes clean is to use a daily cleanser. Most daily cleansers come in spray form. Brands from the inexpensive e.l.f. to the cosmetics powerhouse MAC make daily cleansers, but we love the Sephora Professional Daily Brush Cleanser (Sephora, $7). Daily cleansers are anti-bacterial sprays and designed to be used every time you use your brushes. A quick spritz will help keep brushes from developing bacteria buildup, and since you don't need to rinse after the spray, your brushes will be ready to use the next time you need them.

Deep clean your makeup brushes weekly

Weekly cleaning is the best way to keep your favorite makeup brushes fresh and functional. An easy, inexpensive weekly cleanser is a squirt of baby shampoo and warm — not scalding — water. Baby Bee Shampoo and Wash is all-natural and hypoallergenic, which is helpful if you have sensitive skin (Burt's Bees, $7). Be sure to wash your brushes after you've used them for the day. Deep cleaning requires rinsing, so they won't be ready to use again for several hours. Baby Bee Shampoo and Wash

  1. Fill a small bowl with warm water and a bit of baby shampoo.
  2. Rinse your brush under warm running water to remove makeup.
  3. Swirl the brush in the bowl of shampoo and water.
  4. Rinse shampoo from brush under warm running water.
  5. Gently blot dry with a towel, reshaping the brushes if necessary.
  6. Let air dry on a towel.
  • Don't use overly hot water or a blow dryer — that can loosen the glue holding the bristles on the handle after repeated washings.

Enjoy your clean brushes

Clean makeup brushes will make your application smoother, your makeup colors truer and your skin cleaner. A few minutes each week is all it takes to keep them clean.

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