Here's How You Really Need to Be Cleaning All Your Makeup Tools
Yes, You Do Need To Clean Your Tools
Cleaning dirty beauty tools isn't the most fun part of doing your makeup - and yes, we also avoid it at all costs. But for a number of reasons (hygiene, performance, extending the life of your brushes and makeup), it's gotta happen regularly. And no, it won't suck up as much time as you think it will. Here, we break down exactly how (and how often) you really should be cleaning your tools.
Natural Hair Brushes
Celebrity makeup artist from Honey Artists Aidan Keogh, who's worked with stars including Kendall Jenner, Elsa Hosk and Nina Agdal, suggests using a gentle cleanser, like baby shampoo or dish soap, to clean your brushes with natural bristles every one to two weeks.
"If you don't use these kind of brushes as often as synthetic ones [which are used for liquid products like foundation and concealer], you don't have to clean as often as them since liquids breed bacteria faster," he told PeopleStyle. For a quick fix in between full washes, Keogh likes spritzing his natural hair tools with a cleansing liquid like Cinema Secrets.
Natural Hair Brushes
Unless you're a professional makeup artist, you probably are using the same makeup brush with several different colors in order to build up your dream smoky eye. To keep it from building up in between shades and getting muddy, rub your brush on a makeup-removing sponge so you can use a fresh new color right away.
Keogh also suggests investing in multiples of brushes you use daily. "If I like a brush, I like having a few of them on hand," he said.
Synthetic Hair Brushes
When it comes to synthetic brushes, which get icky from the liquid products you blend out with them, Keogh swears by doing a double cleanse. "Anything from an eyeliner brush to a lip brush to a foundation brush, I always double cleanse because something needs to break down that buildup," he said.
To cleanse the brushes thoroughly without damaging them, put the cleansing liquid on the bristles, face the brush towards the bottom of the sink and swirl it in circular motions in the palm of your hand. "Then let them dry overnight out on a towel," Keogh said.
While you can get away with not washing your makeup brushes for one to two weeks, sponges are a little different. "It is imperative you clean it every single time you use it because anything that contains moisture breeds bacteria," Keogh said. "I like to use a pea-size amount of the Beautyblender cleanser with warm water to work the product out. Once the water runs through it clear, you know all of the product is out of the center and it's clean."
Don't forget to clean your tweezers too! "Every time I use tweezers, I would just take a little cotton swab and some rubbing alcohol," Keogh told us. "Rub it down before you use them and then after you use them."
Buy It! Tweezerman Pointed Slant Tweezers, $25; walgreens.com
We've all experienced the horror of a full pencil sharpener exploding with remnants of our eyeliner sharpenings everywhere. Right before that happens, Keogh suggests, dump everything out and clean the inside of the sharpener. "Take a Q-tip and soak it with rubbing alcohol," he said. "Push whatever product gathered at the end of the sharpener so the alcohol really breaks it down."
Buy It! L'Oréal Paris Dual Eye/Lipliner Sharpener with Cover, $2.99; amazon.com
If it hasn't reached the mark of three months (when you really need to chuck your mascara) but the edge of the tube is beginning to get crusty, you should give it a quick clean.
"Use a small piece of a makeup wipe or rubbing alcohol to wipe around the edge of the tube so the mascara doesn't gather," Keogh said. "When I see it thick and caked around the edge of the tube, I am like, 'Ugh! You are asking for an eye infection.'"
Buy It! Maybelline New York Volum' Express The Falsies Mascara, $5.79; target.com