Why You Should Clean Your Makeup Brushes & What Happens If You Don’t

There’s literally nothing worse than sitting down to do a full face of makeup and picking up brushes with bristles all stuck together in one clump because the brush is clogged with makeup. But it’s such a faff to keep cleaning them, right?!

It takes me a good hour to wash each individual brush in my collection, reshape it and put it out to dry… and by the end of that hour, my fingers are wrinkly and dry because of being in water for such a long time rubbing shampoo into the bristles.

Buuuuut… whilst cleaning your makeup brushes might be a chore (and one that needs doing wayy too often), it’s SO important that you actually clean them… and not just to make them all pretty and fluffy again (they look so lush when they’re clean)…

Makeup Brush - Why You Should Clean Makeup Brushes - Miss Boux

According to a survey done by Anisa International, 21% of people don’t know they should clean their makeup brushes…so here are six reasons why you should make sure yours are squeaky clean:

1. Avoid Germs & Bacteria Spreading Like Wildfire

So this is probably the most important reason you should regularly clean your makeup brushes… to kill germs and bacteria that live on them. Sounds gross, right? Those bundles of colourful bristles make the perfect place for germs and bacteria to settle down and multiply and the longer you leave it, the more germs and bacteria in the brushes… and without cleaning them, you’re basically pasting all of those germs all over your face every single day. Ew.

If you’re wondering where the germs and bacteria come from in the first place… they come from you. Your skin carries bacteria which transfers to the brushes when you apply your makeup. The brushes then sit on your dressing table for a day… probably at a comfortable room temperature and the little monsters go crazy. So when you next pick up your brushes, you’re not only applying your makeup, but all of those germs too. Double ew.

Clean Makeup Brushes - Miss Boux

2. Prevent Spots, Acne & Other Skin Issues

So why are germs and bacteria so bad if they came from our face anyway?
Those germs and bacteria which have multiplied like crazy overnight have now been plastered across your face and are finding their way into your pores. And we all know what blocked pores lead to… spots.
No one wants spots.
And no one wants any other kind of skin infections either come to mention it. The bacteria living in the brushes can cause all sorts of skin problems including pink eye, conjunctivitis, acne and rashes – all much worse than having to clean a few brushes, right?

Clean Makeup Brushes - Miss Boux

3. Softer Brushes

If you had to give one reason why you should clean your makeup brushes then I’m guessing you’d pick this one, right? There’s something so satisfying about having perfectly clean brushes that feel so soft to touch…

And how much better do they look on your dressing table when they’re all clean and pretty…

Plus… softer brushes means…

4. Better Application Of Makeup

Dirty brushes that are clogged up with makeup don’t act like brushes any more. They’re basically a stick that you use to drag makeup across your face… the end result being a stripey mess of foundation sitting on top of your skin. The makeup seems to act like some sort of super glue and sticks the bristles together, so makeup isn’t distributed evenly across the skin but dragged. Yuk.

Once the brushes are cleaned and makeup has been removed, the free movement of the clean bristles means that your makeup goes on so much better… and the brushes feel nicer on your skin too! Plus you can be more precise drawing on your eyebrows or eyeliner when the row of bristles isn’t 3 times thicker than it should be…

5. Longer Lasting Brushes

Believe it or not, looking after your makeup brushes and cleaning them regularly will actually make them last longer!

The more built up the makeup gets, the harder it is to remove and the bristles often become squashed, causing the brush to lose shape. Once this happens there’s nothing more you can do than say bye bye and buy a new brush!

Clean Makeup Brushes - Miss Boux

6. Save Time & Money In The Long Run

Some people buy new brushes every time their brushes are too dirty to use and they don’t know how to/don’t want to clean them. If you invest in good quality brushes in the first place… only to replace them when dirty then you’re wasting a lotta money girrllll… (money that can be spent on more makeup… or clothes… or holidays…).

Regular cleaning = longer lasting brushes. Simple.

Plus… dirty brushes can cause skin problems…

Skin problems you’ll probably want to cover up with more makeup… or treat with creams/lotions… all of which cost money.

So is it worth risking all of that for an hour or so of cleaning brushes with some shampoo?

Clean Makeup Brushes - Miss Boux

How To Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Okay, so the easiest way and the most well known way… is the way I’ve used forever. Yes, it does take time but making sure the brushes are clean and stored away nicely is what we want!

I’ll take you through my method… and then I’ll show you this awesome little new tool I’ve found to clean them (and dry them!) suuuuuper quickly.

I’ve sometimes used the hairdryer to dry the bristles but I’ve found it usually makes the brushes feel dry and the bristles tend to get out of shape.

Step 1:
Set out your dirty brushes and grab a clean towel and some shampoo. You’ll also need a brush cleaning mat and some water. (I tend to use the bathroom sink!)

Step 2:
Gently run the tap and hold the bristles of your brushes in the water until they’re wet.

Step 3:
Pour a small amount of shampoo onto the brush cleaning mat and work your brushes into the shampoo.

Step 4:
Rinse the brushes thoroughly

Step 5:
Place the brushes on a towel to dry (usually overnight).

The New Tool That Will Revolutionise Your Makeup Brush Cleaning Experience

I’m talking about the electric brush cleaner.

Yup… electric. It does all the hard work for you… but that’s not the best bit… it also dries them in seconds! No more waiting days for them to dry on their own or misshaping them with the hairdryer… well let me tell you more…

Clean Makeup Brushes - Miss Boux

I tried out an electric brush cleaner made by the brand Brush Magix. I’d not heard of these guys before but a quick search on Amazon showed they were pretty well reviewed, so I decided to try it out.

Okay so the box itself says that it is a professional spinning and drying tool for fast results with 8 sizes of silicone holders and a large cleaning bowl.

Clean Makeup Brushes - Miss Boux

Now… I opened the box and found the large cleaning bowl and 8 silicone cylinders inside, a base with plastic ‘spikes’ on and a tool which looked something like an electric nail file. I’ve listed the full contents here:

  • 1 x Makeup brush spinner
  • 1 x Bowl
  • 1 x Bowl splash guard ring
  • 8 x Flexible brush collars (5, 7, 9, 11, 15, 19, 24, 30 mm)
  • 1 x Collar stand
  • 2 x Makeup brushes

The Makeup brush spinner tool needs 2x AAA batteries to work but these aren’t included. Luckily I found I had two spare in our man drawer in the kitchen (Y’know the drawer I mean).

I hadn’t watched any videos on how to use the product so I had no idea what everything was for at first – the silicone tubes looked so weird.

So rather than reading the instructions, like the typical millennial I am, I hopped over to YouTube and found a review of a pretty much identical product.

Clean Makeup Brushes - Miss Boux

Okay, so I watched the Youtube video and then tried it out for myself. I’ll break it down into the steps I took and what happened at each stage…

  • I filled the bowl with warm water (not too hot) up to about three fingers width height from the base of the bowl. I then added a small amount of my shampoo. (You can use loads of different things to clean the brushes but I’ve always used shampoo.)
  • I selected the makeup brush I wanted to clean and found a silicone tube which it fitted snugly into and then attached this to the makeup brush cleaning tool.
  • The instructions say to hold the bristles under the water (don’t soak the whole brush) and press the ‘on’ button, letting it clean for 10-20 seconds. Once this time has passed, lift the brush up, out of the water, but still in the bowl and press the button again, allowing the brush to spin for another 10-20 seconds. This allows the brush to dry.

I tried the above firstly with a fairly decent sized eyeshadow brush. Once it had been cleaned and dried as above, the brush actually looked much cleaner… the roots of the bristles still had a bit of makeup in, but this might be because I didn’t hold it under the water enough…(?) As for the wetness, the brush was 95% dry. I was so impressed! I could have literally used that brush again right there, seconds after it being in the bowl of water… incred.

Clean Makeup Brushes - Miss Boux
Clean Makeup Brushes - Miss Boux

So then I decided to try a slightly bigger brush but the same shape. Again this was pretty much identical as the one above… there were still traces of makeup in the roots but everything else was pretty perfect.

So, pushing the boat out, I decided to try a foundation brush…

This didn’t have the same result though… I did exactly the same process but it literally looked like it hadn’t been touched in the slightest.

Clean Makeup Brushes - Miss Boux

So then I decided to try my eyebrow brush. These bristles are tiny but again held closely together (with the glue of my eyebrow gel) like a foundation brush. I repeated the same process… held under the water for 10 seconds and then took it out and held it for another 10 seconds to dry.

The brush didn’t look any different from before I put it into the bowl.

Well actually, that’s not true.. The gold barrel on the brush looked shinier and cleaner… but that’s it. The bristles looked like they hadn’t been touched.

So then I tried a stippling brush. This worked better! The end of the bristles turned really white and clean which was perfect.

So I came to the conclusion that the product itself is genius… buuuuuut only for certain brushes. If you’re like me and have more brushes than anything then this isn’t the solution to all of your problems.

I do have a lot of fluffy eye brushes, powder brushes though, so this will definitely be a time saver for me!

Clean Makeup Brushes - Miss Boux
Clean Makeup Brushes - Miss Boux

Cleaning the bowl itself is super easy – I used warm soapy water and a sponge and it took me around a minute. That’s it. You might wanna give the silicone holders a bit of a wash but they shouldn’t come into contact with any makeup so washing the bowl is enough.

The Brush Magix Brush Cleaner can be found on Amazon for £17.99 and it comes with a 30 day guarantee. Here’s the link.

Have you tried out an electric brush cleaner before? What did you think?

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