The Zoe Report

The Right Way To Clean Your Makeup Tools, According To The Pros

Our brushes are the backbone of our beauty routine. We rely on our tools to do everything from perfectly sculpting our face to giving us a Beyoncé-worthy glow. These sacred tools deserve our respect, and that means lathering up and cleaning our brushes and sponges on a regular basis to remove makeup residue, dirt and bacteria. Not doing your due diligence can lead to dull, acne-prone skin (or worse). Read on to get the ins and outs of cleaning your makeup tools, straight from the pros.

How Often

Most dermatologists and makeup artist agree that brushes need to be cleaned consistently to remove buildup and to preserve the quality of the tools. Brush bristles and sponges are porous, so they hold onto bacteria, debris and oils which then causes an uneven makeup application as well as blemishes. So, when using synthetic tools, “you should clean them after every use for an improved application,”explains Sue Katz, Founder, and CFO of Amazing Cosmetics. “But, if you are mostly using a natural fiber brush, they don’t need to be cleaned as often as they will lose their softness and bristles over time. Instead, spray a bit of alcohol on a cloth then swipe your brush every few days and do a full cleaning once a month.”

What To Use

For Synthetic Brushes

Similar to your hair, the dirtier your brushes are, the more thorough of a cleanse they’ll require. But just like our beloved locks, different brushes require different cleansers. For synthetic brushes, one of the most effective cleaners is conveniently found in your kitchen: dish soap. Yep, it’s strong enough to power through stubborn buildup on your dishes and makeup tools. Katz suggests, “taking one tablespoon of dish soap and water in a plastic cup and placing brushes in the solution to loosen up any product that’s inside.” Synthetic-based tools don’t have pores, which means the oils coagulate and cause the bristles to be weighed down and lose their shape. Laura Barnes, product development manager at Sigma Beauty, relies on two rounds of cleaning for brushes she knows will have a heavier product buildup like concealer and foundation.

For Natural Brushes

Natural fiber brushes are porous and need to be conditioned to avoid fraying and breaking. Katz swears by washing brushes in a mixture of “baby shampoo and conditioner” to ensure the softness and fluffiness remain intact. We take it one step further by swirling our brushes on our hand to loosen additional debris.

Ready to clean things up? Read on for our spick and span cleansing favorites.

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