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How To Clean Your Makeup Brushes

For many of us, makeup brushes play a big part in our daily lives. After all, you rely on them for flawless and smooth application of your favorite cosmetics. If you’re noticing less than peak performance lately, chances are it’s because your brushes aren’t getting cleaned as often—or as thoroughly—as they should be. Read on for tips on how to clean your makeup brushes the most effectively, so you can continue to enjoy them for years to come!


Why is it so important to clean your makeup brushes anyway?

Every time a makeup brush touches your face, it’s picking up makeup, oil, dirt and other residue in the process. Without proper cleansing, your brushes can quickly turn into a breeding ground for bacteria that can lead to acne, blemishes, blackheads and enlarged pores. If these skin concerns are what prompted you to search for makeup brush cleaning tips in the first place, be sure to check out our problem-solving solutions for blemishes and acne.


How often should I clean my makeup brushes?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you’re safe to clean your makeup brushes every 7 to 10 days. To make it a little easier to stay on schedule, try this technique from IT Cosmetics Director of Education Jessica Ross: Start by sorting your makeup brushes into two groups—one for powder products (think blush, powder bronzer and eyeshadow), and one for emollient products (skincare, primer, liquid foundation and concealer). Then, care for them separately. Ross says she cleans makeup brushes for emollient products once a week because the product tends to build up on them more quickly. Powder brushes can go a little longer in between cleanings with the possible exception of eyeshadow brushes if you’re using them across multiple shades. In that case, a quick, daily cleaning is a good idea.


What to use for a daily/weekly brush cleaning

To get the job done in seconds, look for a spray formula. IT’s Your Brush Love! Makeup Brush Cleaner is an excellent option, as it cleanses and conditions in one fast-drying step. For the best results, spray directly onto the brush head until it’s fully dampened. Then, gently wipe the brush clean with a tissue or towel to remove any visible makeup residue. Repeat as needed, and once all product is removed, reshape the bristles into their original shape and lay flat to dry for 60 seconds.


What to use for a deep makeup brush cleaning

If it’s been a while since you last cleaned your makeup brushes, or if you can just tell they’re in need of a little extra TLC, then a deep cleaning is in order. The good news is you probably already have the cleaning products you need at home—a gentle baby shampoo or dishwashing liquid will work wonders. You can also try Ross’s beauty hack of using her favorite sulfate-free, non-drying facial cleanser, Confidence in a Cleanser. She explains, “Because of all the skin-loving ingredients and non-drying properties in it, it helps to keep the shape of your brushes, too.”


Here are more tips from Ross for doing a deep clean of your makeup brushes:

  1. Place a washcloth in a clean sink and dispense a few drops of Confidence in a Cleanser onto the cloth.
  1. Turn on the warm water, and let it fully saturate the towel.
  2. As the water is running, swirl your brushes on the towel until you can no longer see any trace of product. Be sure not to let the brushes soak in the water.
  3. Next, use a dry washcloth or hand towel to absorb the excess water from the brushes.
  4. Place the towel on a flat surface and lay the brushes flat on the towel to dry. Ross explains this drying method helps the brushes maintain their shape and is preferable to standing them up because it prevents liquid from seeping into the handle and collecting bacteria.
  5. Store your brushes in a cool, dry place to further prevent bacteria buildup.   


What are the signs it’s time for a new makeup brush?  

If your brush’s bristles have begun to fray, fall out, have a funky smell or barely resemble their original shape and form—it’s likely time to say bye bye.  Lucky for you, IT Cosmetics offers a wide assortment of cruelty-free, synthetic, custom-cut brushes that do the work for you to deliver a flawless application of your favorite products.


Best overall complexion brush:  Perfect for applying CC+ Cream and concealer, the dual-ended Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfection Brush #7 delivers seamless coverage to large and small areas of your face.


Best for liquid foundation: The Heavenly Skin Skin-Smoothing Complexion Brush #704 features a unique angled brush head that reaches every corner of your face for your most even, streak-free application.


Best for powders: Featuring a soft, rounded and tapered brush head, the Heavenly Luxe Wand Ball Powder Brush #8  picks up and applies the perfect amount of loose or pressed powder for your most airbrushed finish.


Best for eyeshadow: The multitasking Superhero 4-in-1 Eye-Transforming Super Shadow and Liner Brush acts as your all-over shadow, crease and smudger brush on one end and your precise liner brush on the other!  

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