Monday, August 27, 2012

* ~ How I Wash My Makeup Brushes ~ *

This post is all about how I (finally) washed my makeup brushes this weekend! If you want a step-by-step before and after, just keep reading!

I've heard that you're actually supposed to wash your makeup brushes when you first buy them before using them at all! :O No way José! I can never do that. 

I haven't properly washed all my brushes in about a year if not more, so they were definitely due a good wash! I also discovered something which supports the claim that cheaper brushes aren't always better! 

Here's what I did:

Step 1 - wet the brush. ALWAYS keep the brush pointed downwards, that way no water will go into the neck and weaken the glue that holds the bristles together!

Step 2 - Squirt a dollop of shampoo (or whatever gentle cleaner you choose) into the palm of your hand. Use more or less depending on the size of the brush and how dirty it is.

Step 3 - Lather up your brush! Don't be shy, swirl and swirl your brush in the palm of your hand and see all the makeup come out of it in the lather. Add more shampoo if needed. 

Step 4 - Once you feel like you've washed out all the makeup in the brush, rinse it until the water that drips out of it is clear.

Step 5 - Gently press on the bristles starting at the neck or 'metal bit' and going downwards. This way you're getting rid of water trapped between the bristles, which will majorly reduce its drying time. Be extra gentle and careful in this step as the shape you leave it in when wet is the shape it will dry in!

Step 6 - Lay the brush on a clean towel. A really important trick when drying your brushes is to curl the towel at the edge so the brush is slanted downwards. This will ensure that no water goes up into the neck of the brush at all! 

Here is a close up of the first brush I washed and it's the Benefit angled brush which I love for dusting on bronzer or blush! As you can see I took extra care in ensuring the bristles are in the closest shape as possible to how they should look like when dry. Trust me on this, once I left a crease brush to dry without shaping the wet bristles and it dried in an unkempt, wild-bush shape!

Leave your brushes to dry in a cool/dry area where you know they will be undisturbed. My brushes took between 8-21 hours to dry depending on their size and bristles.

Below are a few more pictures of my brushes and how I've shaped them and laid them out. 

As for the cheaper-brushes-aren't-always-the-good-option tidbit, this is what I've found. 

My Glossybox powder brush bled into the towel IMMEDIATELY which really grossed me out as it made me think of all the times I'd used it on my face prior to washing it! That shows its sub-par quality.

My Elf flat top powder brush bled as well but not until a few hours later.  

I washed my brushes around 8pm in the evening and when I went down the next morning, a few of them were already dry! They are the seven brushes to the left.

Here is a close up of them.

L-R Elf stipple brush, Marks & Spencers eye brush (part of a set), MAC 121 duo fibre brush, MAC 217 face brush, MAC 190SE brush, Real Techniques contour brush and MAC 168SE brush.

These are the brushes that were almost dry but not quite.
L-R Real Techniques powder brush, Glossybox brush, Sonia Kashuk duo fibre large brush, MAC 113 brush, Real Techniques buffing brush.

And these are the brushes that were still pretty wet and weren't dry until early to late afternoon.

L-R MAC 129SE brush, Benefit angled brush, Real Techniques Stippling brush, Mikyaji blush brush, MAC 120 brush and Elf flat top powder brush.

The brushes that took longest to dry were the small, dense duo-fibre brushes: Real Techniques' stippling brush and MAC's 120 brush. They were finally dry at 4-5pm!

Check out how awesomely white, fresh and clean my duo-fibre brushes look after that wash! I don't know about you, but I just love me some clean duo-fibre brushes! 

I want to make note of how the Real Techniques buffing and powder brushes (as well as the stippling brush) did not go back to being fully white/clean. This may be due to the fact that I used a shampoo instead of a more makeup-brush targeted cleansing product. I definitely used quite a few pumps and lathered and lathered and lathered but that makeup was too stubborn for me. I personally don't mind as I know I've deep cleaned them nonetheless. Let me know if you own these brushes and succeeded in fully cleansing their bristles!

The last thing I want to touch on is MAC's natural bristle brushes. My 217 and 168SE dried in a slightly frayed shape. 

I freaked out the first time this happened to me. Don't worry though as it doesn't affect makeup application at all. I'd imagine if you're on the OCD side then it would probably bother you and you wouldn't want to wash them to avoid this outcome. Just an FYI!


A MAC natural-bristle brush that DID dry perfect to shape is my 113 brush which I love for applying blusher! I have had this baby for many years and it has a special place in my heart <3. I think it's actually the first MAC brush I ever bought! Woohoo! 

Well this is how I like to wash my makeup brushes whenever I work up the energy and motivation to do so. It really isn't as arduous as it may seem, it probably only took me 20-30 minutes max. to wash all of these babies. From a hygiene perspective we should all be doing this twice a month I'd presume, and spot-cleaning in between. I definitely believe that regularly washing your brushes will help preserve them and improve their application quality. 



  1. Next time you want to wash those badly stained brushes, rub small amount of olive oil onto the bristle before washing them as normal. I also have the Real Techniques brushes and find it really get rid of the stains and makes the bristles looks white again. But remember to only use the tiniest amount of oil, otherwise you might end up spending ages washing the oil out.

    1. Ooo I have to keep that in mind! Thanks for the tip! xx

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