Photograph by ISTOCK

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

It's now more important than ever to make sure your tools are clean.

With all of the discussions taking place around COVID-19 of late, we know how important it is to make sure we’re all washing our hands regularly to help stop the risk of infection. And this got us thinking about what other things we should be cleaning more often. First, we looked at ways to keep your rings clean and germ-free at home, and now, we’re turning our attention to our beauty cupboards – specifically, our makeup brushes.

It’s no secret that makeup brushes can harbor plenty of germs, and most dermatologists recommend that you clean your most-used tools (like your foundation, concealer and bronzer brushes) once a week. With more time than we’ll maybe ever have again, now is the perfect time to give your brushes some much-needed love – even if you’re not wearing makeup right now. We spoke to Vancouver-based makeup artist Farah Hasan to find out her recommendations for at-home cleaning.

How important is it to clean your makeup brushes, especially in light of the current health crisis we’re facing?

I can’t insist enough on the importance of clean brushes and makeup tools (including eyelash curlers, spatulas etc.). Dirty makeup applicators can give you skin irritations or concerns that we usually think are caused by skincare products. Whether you use a makeup brush, a beauty blender or your fingers, keeping your tools clean is a priority. Imagine well-cleansed skin prepped with the most amazing serums and primers and than layered with top-of-the-line foundations using a dirty brush or sponge. When it comes to makeup brush cleaning and hygiene, please don’t forget to wipe or rinse your brush holders, too, as there is no point [in cleaning your brushes] if they are stored back in dirty brush holders.

What’s the best way to clean your brushes?

A good way is to use brush cleaners to clean the brushes regularly. Some of my favourite brush cleaners are Cinema Secrets, Sephora’s Dry Clean spray and Make Up For Ever’s Instant Brush Cleaner. Beauty blenders or washable sponges are no exceptions and should be washed with a cleanser after every use.

What household products can be used to clean brushes in lieu of a specific brush cleaner?

You should deep clean and give your brushes a weekly wash with soap and water. A mild, fresh-scented shampoo or a gentle dish soap will also work. Just avoid using cleansers with harsh chemicals or ones that have added moisturizers.

What’s the best technique for cleaning brushes?

Rinse brushes individually with water and add some soap/shampoo, lather to remove build-up of product from brushes and rinse again. Squeeze the excess water out, lay the brushes flat and dry them over night.

For people who have always applied their makeup with their hands, is now the time to experiment with using brushes? What are the benefits of applying makeup with a brush versus your hands?

It is a personal thing – some people find it easy to apply foundation with hands, just like how they apply skincare. If you’re using your hands, the number one rule is always wash your hands before application. I personally find that when foundation is applied with brush it goes on smooth and less product is used versus when applied with fingers. Depending on the shape of the brush when foundation is buffed or dabbed onto the skin it gives more like an airbrushed effect, too.