How to clean makeup brushes

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OK, this gets a little creepy, icky to think about but your cosmetic brushes are harboring some yucky stuff. Things like bacteria, grime, oil, grease and - gross - skin! Now if that doesn't motivate you to give them a good cleaning I don't know what will. But, how do you do it without ruining them, how often should I do it and what do I use?

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These babies are pricey so I want them to last years. The reason to keep them clean goes beyond longevity and is important hygiene. An unclean brush can contribute to breakouts and even eye infections. Plus, the oils that can accumulate on the brush can actually change the color or the texture of the makeup you are applying with the brush.

I learned there are some definite don'ts - do not EVER soak your makeup brushes. That's a sure way to create a wobbly brush. The water and soap can weaken the clue that holds the brush to the handle and it will begin to wobble which creates an entirely different, unattractive wavy effect when you don't want it. Next never dry your makeup brushes standing with the brush end up. It does the same thing because the water runs down the handle and again loosens the glue.

Now for the do's Clean your makeup brushes every week if possible with a thorough washing. Try not to let it go longer than two weeks depending how often you use them. Plus, this may sound like advice from a clean freak (which I am not) but makeup experts suggest giving them a quick wipe after every use. Sound a little obsessive? It's actually easier than it sounds. You can simply use an inexpensive antibacterial wipe or even a baby wipe. Do it after you use it and it'll be dry in minutes. I found a spray on product at Sephora, which does the same thing - simply spray it on, it does its disinfecting magic and leaves your brush dry in about a minute. It's good but a small bottle cost $6.00. I like the wet wipe idea.

How to clean makeup brushes For that thorough cleaning, simply use shampoo, facial cleanser or even makeup remover mixed in with some water. Swoosh the brush through the mixture until you see the makeup come out. Then rinse under running water.

Now, gently squeeze out the excess water and reshape the brush. And, now for another really important part - lay the brush on a clean towel to dry flat. Remember, drying it upright will allow the water to flow into the handle and that can cause a wobbly brush or increased shedding.

A little, wonderful addition There's one little thing you can add to the water whether you're cleaning your makeup or hairbrushes. It's 3 - 4 drops of tea tree oil. You can find it at Sprouts or other natural food stores for about $6. It's a natural antiseptic and when added to the water and soap mixture will help to kill bacteria. A small bottle will last a long time and it really freshens up your brushes. Try it!

When I began researching this segment, I was surprised at how many of my girlfriends said they never clean their brushes. It turns out that a dirty brush can not only cause breakouts but can also change how smoothly your makeup goes on but also can affect the color of your makeup. So, it's worth the effort to protect your skin and your makeup investment.

I'm heading off to finish my new weekly brush cleaning ritual. Don't brush it off - I think you'll see a difference.

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