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Cleaning Brushes

Cleaning brushes has definitely turned into one of my most reviled beauty-related activities. What used to be a therapeutic session for me is now something I put off doing until I absolutely cannot take the state of my dirty brushes anymore. I’ve figured out that the reason why it takes me so long to do this is because I wash all of my brushes in one go. Instead of rotating out duplicates and washing my brushes in small, filthy batches, I torture myself and go all or nothing.

Anyway, my solution to my groaning and moaning is switching out my brushes for their alternates once they get too dirty to handle, wash them, and replace. And so on.

After my most recent round of cleaning my brushes, I resolved to only use and keep out a few of them at a time. I tend to let all of them sit within reach but some of the unused ones (passed over for my preferred and favorite brushes) sit and gather dust, ending up in need of a clean anyway, even without me having used them. Here are the ones I’ve set out right now:

Cleaning Brushes - Current Brush
I’ve got a flat shader brush (MAC 236), a fluffy blending brush (MAC 217), a spoolie (EcoTools), a small angled round brush for concealer (cheap “Noconi” brush I got at Landmark), a small stipple brush for the cream brush I used yesterday (e.l.f. Small Stipple Brush), a small tapered brush (Marionnaud N°37 Eyes), and a duo fiber brush for powder/setting makeup (RealTechniques Duo-Fiber Face Brush).

As for actually cleaning them, I’ve put off spot cleaning them too (I can hear you cringe from here!) and just kind of brush them back and forth on my arm or on a tissue if they’re still loaded with a lot of product. The one I’ve been using is the Ellana Brush Cleaner** and I’ve got a little bit left so I’ll probably try to use that up. I’ve also been using my fingers a lot for eyeshadow application. I promise, I am determined to change my gross ways.

Cleaning Brushes - Stuff I Use

Here’s my deep cleaning arsenal:
Makeup Store Brush SoapThis has been with me for a long time, but I stopped using it for a while, opting for the Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap. I have it in Lavender. I use water and this Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Glove mini sample** and just lay them out on towels after rinsing. You can use any textured silicon-type or plastic product, of course. The roughness and texture just helps to really get into the bristles and clean it out without doing too much damage, like when you apply a lot of pressure on the brushes.

Here are my current goals/resolutions for brush cleaning and use:

  • Rotate the brushes and wash them in batches
  • Make a DIY spot cleaner or repurchase the Ellana one, if I don’t have the raw ingredients at my disposal

And that’s it. I hope y’all are washing your brushes much more diligently than I am. If you’ve been having a lot of skin issues lately, try washing your brushes before trying to find the culprit in your beauty products. I got scared into doing this because of this story, and I just don’t want to have nasty germs all over my face anymore.

What’s your brush-cleaning routine?

** Items marked with double asterisks are PR samples with affiliate links

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  1. sarah says

    Thank u Carina. I am so guilty of not cleaning my brushes on a regular basis.
    How do I make a DIY spot cleaner? Will a baby shampoo be gentle enough?

  2. Sometimes, I’ll do a bunch at once too. Only brushes I wash every time are my lip tar brushes, because that stuff gets everywhere if you don’t wash it out. Great post 🙂

  3. Until I read that the Sigma glove was a mini, I was like, Holy cow, she has the biggest soap bottles and containers ever. 😀

  4. That mini glove is too cute!!! Anyway, i have a lot of duplicates so I have 2 batches of makeup brushes, with only one actively used each month. It is absolutely less dreadful when you split the load up!

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