How to clean makeup brushes is a question many women ask, and it is a valid question. Using the wrong product on a bristle brush will cause more harm than good. Fortunately, there is only one important rule to follow:
There is only one real rule: Makeup brushes are almost as important when they are clean as when they are not. Not only will they not perform as well when they are filled with dirty makeup, but poorly manufactured makeup brushes and even cheap makeup blenders can also be breeding grounds for harmful bacteria. As a general rule of thumb, you should never use any kind of soap or shampoo on your brushes unless it is recommended by either the manufacturer or a trusted friend. The same goes for any kind of polish or liquid makeup remover; it is always wise to thoroughly wash your brushes in warm water, then dry them in the same way as you washed them before you started using them.
For the best cleansing results, you should always use a sponge or loofah along with a small amount of soap or cleansing spray. Gather up all of your brushes together and spray the bristles with a generous amount of cleansing spray, working your way from the ends. Make sure the cleansing spray doesn’t get on your face; a little goes a long way. Let the brushes soak for about five minutes, then carefully wipe them off with a damp sponge.
If you have extremely dirty makeup on your brushes, or if you just want to get them clean without using soapy water, you can also use a small amount of baby shampoo. Mix a tiny bit of this oil (pinkie oil, for example) with half a cup of warm water and make a thick lather. Wet your brushes and gently massage the mixture through them, making sure you don’t put too much, and that you rinse off the soap after the shampoo has dried off. Once you’re sure all soap has been removed, pat your brushes dry with a towel. If you want a deeper cleansing, add another couple of tablespoons of baby shampoo to your cleanser.
To remove makeup brushes that have become dull from sitting in water for too long, you can take them to a dry place like the bathroom. Fill a small basin half-way up with warm water and pour in half a cup of shampoo or soap and mix it until it foams. Shampoo and soap will loosen any grime on your brush bristles, and it will also help loosen any remnants of lip liner powder that might be stuck in your brushes. Use your fingers to massage the soap into your brush bristles, working it in carefully, so it doesn’t become hot. Rinse your brushes well, and then set them aside to dry.
If your brushes require a more thorough cleansing or are badly stained, you’ll need to purchase a special cleansing pad. Cleansing pads are available at many cosmetic supply stores and are easy to use. Simply dampen the cleansing pad with warm water, or use your makeup brush as an alternative, and spread the cleansing pad over your brushes, starting in the middle and working your way out.