Real talk: We’ve learned how to do a lot of things at home this year. In addition to learning how to give ourselves an at-home spa pedicure, we’ve also had to learn how to (adequately) perform an at-home wax, give ourselves a facial, and even cut our hair at home. Self-care is truly a thing now, but it’s equally important to care for those things that care for us. Namely: Beauty tools. Apart from the obvious drawbacks of styling your air with a dirty brush, you will prolong the life of your beauty tools by keeping them clean and free of bacteria. Ahead, the right way to clean all your makeup tools, (including one item you didn’t even know you had to clean). #yourwelcome.
Sure, makeup remover can help loosen up foundation, concealer, and eye shadow from your makeup brushes, but most formulas are made to remove makeup from your face—not a synthetic fiber. Instead of resorting to a harsh commercial brush cleaner, which typically relies on alcohol or other additives, just combine a tablespoon of dish soap to warm water in a cup, let your brushes sit for about 10 minutes, then swish them around. When most of the makeup is gone, massage them with your hands, lightly blotting them with a paper towel to get rid of the grime. Squeeze the excess water then lay brushes flat on a clean towel to dry overnight. (Alternatively, if you prefer to use alcohol, try using our Glass Cleaner—the only two ingredients are alcohol and water. It’s effective but gentle enough not to dry out your brushes.)
For super delicate, natural brushes, repeat this process using hydrating hand soap and a drop of olive oil instead of dish soap. (The moisturizing oils won't dry out or fray bristles.) If you need to, use a biodegradable dish brush to help release any leftover residue.
It seems obvious, but the first step to clean your hairbrush is to remove the hair—preferably a rake comb that can grab most of the hair. Expensive brushes come with their own brush cleaning tool, but if you don’t have one, we like a purpose-built brush cleaning tool. Once the hair is gone, you can just and mold, then comb through to release any caked-on hair products.
Glass Nail File + Other Manicure Tools
Most single-use emery boards are impossible to clean, but our sustainable crystal options are reusable—and cleanable! While our Glass Cleaner or All-Purpose Cleaner works on all metal and glass manicure tools, you can also just wipe them clean with liquid hand soap and water. Meanwhile, keep the case in tip-top shape by cleaning it with a few spritzes of Leather Cleaner.
While makeup sponges are great for blending liquid foundation and concealer, they can quickly become breeding grounds for mold and mildew. (That’s why it’s important to clean your makeup sponge after each use—not just weekly.) Dampen the sponge with warm water and massage hand soap into the sponge, massaging it under a running faucet until everything’s gone. Squeeze it dry with a clean towel and set it aside to finish air-drying.
Anyone that uses a face roller knows how effective they are at naturally lifting and de-puffing—especially after a rough night’s sleep. If you’re using yours on clean skin every morning, spritz it after each use with an anti-microbial spray like this one (works great on your derma roller to sanitize the needles, too), Just remember to pop both back into your fridge when you’re done so you can enjoy the full anti-inflammatory benefits.
Dry brushing is a great way to stimulate circulation and lymphatic drainage, but those dead skin cells shed directly onto the brush. Clean yours once a month by filling a bowl with water, then add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil and hand or liquid castile soap. Place it face-down, keeping the wood handle from dipping below the water, and slosh it around for a few seconds. Replace the soapy water with regular warm water and repeat the process until there are no more suds in the bowl. Let it air-dry on a towel overnight with the bristles facing down.
It’s easy to forget that you should regularly clean the jars, bags, and trays that store your makeup tools, too. For something like an Alabaster Jar or a Porcelain Tray, wiping it weekly with All-Purpose Cleaner is enough to keep bacteria from building up. Your leather or nylon makeup bag should get a monthly once-over, too.
It might seem like a lot of work for little reward, but there’s no greater feeling than waking up to a clean bathroom—and an even cleaner set of makeup brushes.