We went to the pros to get the best tips.

By Kayla Greaves and Victoria Moorhouse
Apr 13, 2020 @ 4:30 pm
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In the age of coronavirus, the mere thought of your makeup brushes only having the potential to cause breakouts is a concern of the past. 

These days, most people are worried about all the germs lurking on their makeup products and tools, and how to properly sanitize everything in their makeup bag. Luckily, there's a way to effectively clean and disinfect your brushes without damaging the bristles in the process. To share the best tips with you, we spoke with a few professional makeup artists to get their expert insight. 

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What Should I Use to Clean My Makeup Brushes? 

The first step is to find a brush cleaner. While some makeup artists use dish soap on brushes, if you're unsure how that will interact with your skin, stick to a product made specifically for brushes. Aidan Keogh, a makeup artist for Honey Artists, admits that at home he'll use the shampoo he uses on himself for his natural hair brushes. So feel free to reach for whatever's in your shower. 

Another option from our pros include Sephora Collection's Solid Brush and Sponge Cleaner, a favorite of makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes.

How Do I Disinfect My Makeup Brushes? 

Keogh as well as New York City-based makeup artist Tara Lauren are both fans of Cinema Secrets Brush Cleaner. "Not only is it a 99.99% antimicrobial disinfectant, it is also quick drying and smells amazing," says Lauren. 

One super popular product among our pros? beautyblender's beautycleanser solid, of which both Honey Artists makeup artist Suzy Gerstein and makeup artist Neil Scibelli swear by. This product immediately kills 99.7% of germs. Plus, it offers continuous protection from 99.9% of germs 24 hours after you've washed your brushes. "I leave one on my countertop, as I would a bar of soap, and that way remember to give my brushes a quick rinse after every makeup application so they're waiting, clean and dry for me the next day," Gerstein says. "The formula gets even the most stubborn grease out, and the container makes it handy for travel. It also has a little nubby attachment that helps scrub the strongest pigment out of brushes."

What Washing Technique Should I Follow?

After applying soap, several of the pros we talked to said they like to whirl the wet bristles of their brushes against the Sigma Express Brush Cleaning Mat, which is a textured surface that helps remove the pigments and dirt from the tools. Another option, according to Scibelli, is to use the palm of your hands, after you have washed them for at least 20 seconds in warm water. However, you should never submerge your brushes into a cleaning solution. "That can make the solution to get into the glue that holds the bristles to the handle and cause your brush to shed," Lauren warns. 

And while rinsing, you'll also need to be mindful of the bristles. To avoid any damage, hold the brush vertically so the bristles are facing downwards. This way, the water can drip off the tip and won't settle in the base of the brush. Afterwards, Hughes recommends squeezing out the bristles and hanging them upside-down on a brush tree to dry. If you don't have a brush tree, you can lay them flat. 

VIDEO: Can COVID-19 Live on Your Beauty Products?


How Often Should I Wash My Makeup Brushes? 

It's important to clean your brushes at least once a week, especially now, if you're still using them consistently. "Using a dirty brush on your products can create cross contamination and repeat infections," Lauren says. Otherwise, make sure to clean them the night before you plan to do your makeup to give them some time to dry.