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Once you have acquired makeup brushes, you will want to make sure that you keep your brushes clean and sanitized.  By doing so, you will not only prolong the life of your brushes but also reduce the risk of cross-contamination.

Cosmetic brushes, particularly those used with cream-based makeup products, may result in the transfer of bacteria and other contaminants.   The makeup may not be the only source of contamination; skin cells and body oils will remain on brushes if not properly cleaned and sanitized.  Failure to properly clean and sanitize the brushes may likely result in the growth of contaminants that result in bacterial, fungal or other infections.  Those brushes will spread contaminants to other faces if not properly cleaned and sanitized.

Consumer-use brushes (those who use their brushes only on themselves) may require nothing more than a weekly gentle wash of baby shampoo mixed with water. The shampoo should be diluted with water on a 1 to 1 ratio, and then thoroughly rinsed with water before placing the brushes out to dry.

To dry the brushes, the excess water may be removed with a paper towel, or squeezed out with clean fingers, and then reshaped.  The brushes should then be placed over the edge of a counter to air-dry.  By so doing, the brushes will dry faster and, since they will not be sitting on a wet surface, there will be a decrease in the likelihood of promoting the growth of mildew.  If the brush has lost its shape, or the bristles are frayed or breaking off, nothing will truly restore the shape of the brush; at that point, the brush should simply be tossed and replaced.

Professional makeup artists are trained to clean and sanitize their brushes between each client use.  It is important that the cleanser also contain a sanitizer such as alcohol, which is very drying to the bristles.   The makeup artists select a pro brush cleaner that not only contains alcohol, but also contains a conditioner to keep the bristles soft as well as sanitized.

Brushes consist of a handle, a ferrel and the brush hairs.  Regardless of whether you are a pro makeup artist or a consumer, be sure to avoid getting the cleanser into the ferrel.  In time, if the ferrel is subjected to wetness, the glue holding the ferrel to the handle will break down and the brush will lose its handle.  At that point, once again, it is time to toss the brush.

For more info on brush cleaning (and other topics) please visit the makeupfirstschool channel on YouTube.


by Jill Glaser, Makeup First School of Makeup Artistry

Jill Glaser is a freelance makeup artist and founder of the Makeup First School of Makeup Artistry in Chicago, Illinois.

For more info on Jill, please visit her website at: