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The Daily Dish Beauty

The Secret Step You’re Missing When Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes

A celeb makeup artist fills us in.

By Adele Chapin
Katie Maloney Teaches Us the Art of Strobing

We know it's gross not to clean your makeup brushes (and so not hygenic), but it can feel like such a chore. Especially if after all that work, it still feels like there's product lodged in your brushes. The Lookbook turned to Joanna Schlip, celebrity makeup artist for Physicians Formula, to explain her process for fully cleaning her brushes. Here's what we learned from a makeup pro:

There’s a big mistake you can make with brush cleaners. “Brush cleaners are great but most people leave the residue in there and it’s not good for many reasons, specifically it will affect the way you do your makeup,” says Joanna. So make sure you wash that out!

This is Joanna’s method: she cleans her brushes in a 50/50 solution of brush cleaner mixed with alcohol. Once she rinses that out, she scrubs with baby shampoo, which is great for brushes that have real hair. Then she rinses out all the shampoo.

You can DIY it if you want. Don’t want to buy a brush cleaner? Joanna says it’s fine to use dish soap on your synthetic brushes and mild shampoo for brushes with real hair. That’s right—the brush type makes a difference in what cleaner you should use.

Natural brushes need conditioner, just like your hair. Turns out your non-synthetic brushes need some extra TLC. Joanna suggests a deep conditioning treatment once a month for brushes with real hair—and it’s a tip we never considered, but it makes so much sense.

Here’s how to deep condition your brushes: combine a high-quality, light daily conditioner with warm water in a cup, swirl the brushes in the mixture and let sit for one minute. Afterwards, rinse completely with cold water to remove all of the conditioner. Squeeze the bristles into place and lay flat to dry, then fluff when dry and you’re good to go.

“It’s so important to do this for real hair makeup brushes, especially since I wash my brushes daily which can dry out the bristles, much like it would be for your regular hair,” Joanna says. “After this treatment, the brushes are fully cleansed and super soft.”

There are genius tools that make all easier. If you’re like us and your sink ends up covered in foundation splotches, there’s hope. Joanna says makeup brush cleaning mats will help get your brush squeaky clean with less mess. “You clean as you go and it basically takes the water out,” Joanna explains. She uses products from two brands: Sigma and The Brush Bar’s Brush Board.

As for air-drying, The Brush Bar is a gadget that’s kind of ingenious. Instead of leaving brushes strewn all over your vanity, pop them in the board and they’ll dry upside down while hanging perfectly straight. Plus, it looks stylish, no? Maybe that will be more incentive to take the time to get your makeup brushes squeaky clean.

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