How long should you keep makeup brushes?
February 12, 2011 2:29 PM   Subscribe

How long should you keep makeup brushes?

I have a small collection of inexpensive makeup brushes (I think I got them all at one point or another at CVS) I use on a daily basis. I wash them with soap and water and airdry about once a week. But is there a certain point past which I should just get rid of them, even if they're still functional (as in, the bristles aren't falling out all over)? Is there any sanitary reason to dispose of them at a set point in time, the same way there's a sort of time limit on makeup itself?
posted by dayspteh to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you wash them regularly, i don't see why you'd have to get rid of them. The time limit on makeup is because you can't really clean a pot of eyeshadow or a tube of mascara, but soap and water on your brushes should get rid of bacteria just fine.
posted by OLechat at 2:32 PM on February 12, 2011 [3 favorites]

High-end makeup brushes are something one buys expecting to own it forever, if cared for properly. You should feel good about using your inexpensive brushes for as long as you feel they are functional.
posted by padraigin at 3:40 PM on February 12, 2011

A lot of people use shampoo, especially baby shampoo, to clean their brushes instead of soap. Here's something from Bobbi Brown/Allure magazine about cleaning brushes, and when to replace them. Nicer brushes will last longer, but they're good as long as they're clean and aren't losing their shape or bristles.
posted by belau at 4:55 PM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Agreeing with everyone else - I wash mine with soap and water every once in a while, and have only thrown out a few where the bristles were falling out or the shape got funny. I also bought brush cleaner from Sephora, which I think is just supposed to be some sort of antibacterial spray that you spray on the brush every night, but I don't think it's worth it. Soap and water seem to do the job just fine.
posted by echo0720 at 9:12 PM on February 12, 2011

Nthing everyone else. I have moderate quality brushes that I bought from Sephora about seven years ago and I fearlessly use them, cleaning them once a month or so (caveat - foundation/concealer brushes get cleaned daily, if used). I can't imagine throwing them away before the bristles start falling out or being otherwise obviously defective.
posted by gatorae at 9:22 PM on February 12, 2011

Best answer: I agree with everyone else, I use mine until they're falling apart. I use Sephora's daily brush cleaner every day and Sephora's purifying brush cleaner once every couple of weeks and I'm in love with both of them. The daily brush cleaner is just a spray- I spray once on each side of all of the brushes I used, wipe them on a paper towel a few times, and set them out to dry (I usually do this at night when I'm taking my makeup off- I don't have time in the morning). The brush cleaner is just a shampoo, wet the brushes and swirl them in a bit of shampoo in the palm of your hand then rinse, repeat until the water runs clear- this usually happens on the weekends because I'm less likely to be wearing makeup. I strongly recommend getting a dedicated brush shampoo or cleaner, even if you only use it once in a while and it's just a generic brand, because they're much much gentler than using soap, IME. Honestly, though, if you're washing your makeup brushes once a week, you're way ahead of a lot of people on sanitizing/maintaining your brushes.

A few other random brush-cleaning tips: your face brushes (foundation and concealer) should be washed or cleaned every few days, if not daily, because they harbor more bacteria than any of your other brushes. Make sure you're drying them flat, either laying them out on a towel or hanging off the edge of a countertop. Re-shape your brushes every time you clean them if you don't already.
posted by kro at 10:27 PM on February 12, 2011

My favorite blush brush is over 13 years old, and has even been run over by a car!! (for real!). I wash it on a regular basis, and take good care of it. It doesn't lose many bristles, and so far is my best brush. As long as it's still doing what it's supposed to be doing, and still looks/smells ok, I say keep your brushes as long as you can!
posted by hasna at 7:41 PM on February 13, 2011

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