One factor many of people forget to consider when trying to address their skin concerns is their makeup brushes. I’m definitely not an exception, either! It wasn’t until recently when a lightbulb went off and I realized… not only am I probably (definitely) not cleaning my makeup brushes often enough, but I’m also not paying enough attention to what I’m cleaning them with. If you have sensitive and/or acne prone skin like myself, your routine for cleaning makeup brushes should reflect that.
Now, I get it, cleaning makeup brushes is a major drag. I hate doing it, and I know I’m not alone. I recently wanted to switch up my brush cleaning method to not only use face-friendly products for my skin, but also streamline the whole thing. I wanted effective and easy. Quick and neat. I totally found that in my current brush cleaning routine— not only is my skin thanking me but the process is quicker and painless!
First up, I ditched all the expensive brush cleaning solutions and fancy sponge bars for something simple that works. The Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar is literally less than $4 at the drugstore and does the job exceptionally well. Using the Sensitive Skin bar specifically is perfect for acne-prone skin, since it’s fragrance free and hypoallergenic. Why it took me so long to try it on my brushes beats me, because I’ve loved using it on my face for years! I’ve used this many a time traveling in lieu of liquid face wash. It’s gentle on the skin and doesn’t leave you with a dry feeling. Similarly, the formula doesn’t leave your brushes rough. It’s made with 1/4 moisturizing cream and mild cleansers so it melts away makeup residue while keeping bristles soft. Honestly, it works just as well as the beautyblender blendercleanser solid that I had been using for a couple years prior to switching. and at a fraction of the price!
It’s perfect for both brushes and sponges— check out this before and after of my sponge! I just rub the sponge over the bar, working up a lather, then start squeezing it under running water. The residue comes out in a snap.
One thing to keep in mind: it will be difficult to get a lather going on a brand new bar straight out of the box. Run the bar under soap while rubbing your hands over the surface to get the outermost layer off. The suds will come!
When I’m cleaning my brushes, I glide them over the bar to start breaking down the makeup. But in an effort to work smarter, not harder, I’ve got a secret weapon to getting a deeper and quicker clean on my brushes: the Palmat. This is made by Sigma’s budget-friendly sister brand, Practk, and is incredibly similar to their popular Brush Cleaning Mats and Gloves… just smaller and a lot more affordable. The Palmat is a double-sided brush cleaning tool that you wear on your hand that features different silicone textures to grab makeup and dirt off your brushes. It’s perfect for all types of bristles, from dense eye brushes to big fluffy face brushes.
I also love that it has suction cups on the reverse side, so you can stick it to the bottom of your sink and use it as a mat if that’s easier for you. Using the Palmat ensures that your brushes truly get a deep clean, a good rinse, and helps loosen up any built-up product hiding deep in the bristles. It’s much more thorough than just working soap in with your hands. In comparison to the Real Techniques Cleansing Palette, the variety of textures on the Palmat are more densely packed, which I feel cleans the bristles faster. Plus, it’s a few dollars less.
Finally, we gotta talk about letting your brushes dry. If you just put your freshly-washed brushes in a cup and call it a day, I will be giving you the side eye. This can cause moisture to seep into the ferrule (what holds the bristles together) and loosen the glue holding everything together. Way to ruin perfectly good brushes! I used to lay my brushes flat in a pile on top of a towel, but I found that they wouldn’t be completely dry by the next morning, specifically on the side facing down. The best way to dry your makeup brushes after cleaning them is upside down, letting the moisture drip downward away from the brush. I use a brush drying rack from Amazon which can hold 26 brushes at a time— though I’ve definitely fit more by putting 2-4 brushes in the same slot. If you do that, just make sure the bristles aren’t touching each other so they still get even circulation. This method is better and quicker than laying them flat, as it allows air to circulate all around the bristles evenly so that they dry all the way through.
This routine has not only been kinder to my skin, but it makes cleaning my makeup brushes much less of a hassle. I’m noticing less breakouts now that I’m using a hypoallergenic and fragrance free cleanser on my brushes and sponges, and they’re ready for use in a matter of hours when using the drying tree.