Confession time: when it comes to our makeup tools, we often let the lather, rinse, and repeat treatment go on the wayside, only to end up kicking ourselves when the blue shadow left on our tapered blending brush taints the matte neutral effect we're attempting. "If your brush isn't clean and has leftover color on it, you won't get the true read of the shadow you want to work with," says makeup artist Sonia Kashuk. "You get a little more leeway if you continually use the same colors, but there's something so refreshing about a clean makeup bag and clean brushes—it's almost like you've just cleaned out your closet."
Though the idea of using a proper brush cleaner is a nice one, Kashuk admits that even regular soap will get the job done. Choose a formula that isn't too harsh, or use a solid brush cleanser like London Brush Company's ($18; londonbrushcompany.com) if you're afraid that bar of Dial will mess up your tools. Use lukewarm water to create a lather, swirl your brush with the tip pointing downward into the soap until the water runs clean, then squeeze away any excess. Try not to get any water into the metal piece connecting the bristles to the handle, as this can create rust, and eventually loosen the individual hairs. Don't stand them up in your brush cup just yet—the water will run down the ferrule, and since it adds extra weight, the brushes could become misshapen. Instead, lie them flat, and store them once they're completely dry.
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