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How do you know it’s time to toss your makeup brushes?

Applying a full face of makeup can require the use of some crucial tools — i.e., makeup brushes. Whether you use only a few of them — or a maybe a lot — brushes can become built up with product after just a few uses. They are great utensils for your daily beauty routines, but they can also absorb product, moisture, odors, and even bacteria. Additionally, when applying product to your face, your brushes can pick up the natural oils from your face. This can add to their overall buildup of debris and product.

Even if you only wear makeup a few times a week, that’s still two to five applications in which your brushes are being used. So, what’s a beauty artist to do when their trusty tools are weighed down with excess gunk?

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Time to toss

Most beauty experts recommend cleaning your makeup brushes at least once per week — some pulling in that deadline even further by saying every few days is necessary. This can be especially true for foundation brushes. These kinds of brushes apply a thicker and denser product with a tightly bristled brush. Coupled with moisture, this makes foundation brushes an ideal breeding medium for bacteria.

Cleaning your brushes regularly not only prevents unwanted bathroom science experiments from growing, but it also saves you money. By keeping your brushes fresh and clean more regularly, you extend the life of them, stretching your beauty budget and saving you your hard-earned dollars.

In addition to saving money, keeping clean makeup brushes at your disposal is extremely important for your face’s overall health. It’s not always something we think about when applying our eyeshadow or mascara, but dirty brushes can transfer its growing bacteria right onto users’ faces and into their eyes and mouth.

Acne, eye infections, dermatitis, staph infections, and pink eye are just a few of the nasty side effects that can follow using unclean makeup brushes used on your face. Those types of buildups or growths cannot be safely removed from your brushes without damaging it beyond repair.

If you can’t remember when you cleaned your brushes last, now may be the ideal time to stop what you’re doing and grab your makeup bags. Begin by gathering all your used makeup brushes and laying them out in front of you. Once you have all your brushes, begin inspecting them. Check the bristles for shedding, product buildup, a strong odor, discoloration, or debris. If your brush is heavily caked with material, appears soiled, is shedding badly, or carries an unpleasant odor, you may want to consider tossing that brush immediately.

You don’t want to use a disintegrating makeup brush near your delicate face, do you? How about one that smells “off” or appears to carry a month’s worth of product in its bristles? It might be time to toss those, as well.

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Give ’em a good wash

If you’ve managed to keep your brushes relatively clean enough to pass our initial inspection, now is an excellent time to discuss brush-cleaning routines. The way in which you go about cleansing them is totally up to personal preference and whatever you are comfortable with. Some folks purchase makeup-brush cleaning solutions or washes and follow the instructions for each individual cleaner, drawing out the old product and leaving behind a refreshed beauty tool.

Others have found success with DIY cleaning-solution recipes, mixing them up in their kitchen or bathroom and returning their brushes to their former glory. Either way you go, the goal is the same — clean brushes.

Some folks even purchase battery-operated makeup brush cleaners. After cleansing the brushes, shoppers can attach them to the rotating brush cleaner that quickly spins out all the excess water, debris, and product. The process is then repeated with a good rinsing and spinning cycle. This aids the brush in drying more quickly, allowing it to be an ideal gadget for folks on the go. By utilizing this product, you may even find yourself able to clean your brushes more frequently due to its added convenience and easy-to-use method.

At the end of the day, if you’ve come to the conclusion that your brushes are past their prime or have been hanging around your makeup case for longer than you can recall, it might be time to toss them in the trash and start over. Outstanding quality brushes are very affordable these days, and we’d like to recommend this set by InnoGear. By replacing your brushes and dedicating time to cleaning them regularly, a well-maintained and superior quality brush set can last years.

By purchasing new brushes and utilizing our tips for keeping your brushes clean more frequently, you will be able to extend their expiration date well into the future, helping you cash in on those money saving perks, as well.

Editors' Recommendations

Emily Pidgeon
Emily's work has appeared in the Tube City Almanac, Tube City Online and our Affinity Sites. When she's not writing, she is…
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