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Are You Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes Wrong? Here’s What Experts Suggest

When it comes to choosing a makeup brush cleanser, there are a few important things to keep in mind. First, avoid using something potent like sulfate-based dish soap. “Regular soap can dry out brushes made of natural hair,” King said. So while dish soap may technically clean the bristles, it’s not going to help your brushes last.

Next, not just any shampoo will do. “Some simple shampoos will get the job done, but might contain artificial fragrances that can be triggering to sensitive skin or detergents that are hard to fully rinse or that get rinsed into our waterways,” Patinkin explained. “Really rich shampoos can leave a coating on the surface of your brushes which will weigh down the bristles and impact how your makeup blends.”

As a rule of thumb, look for something specifically designed to clean your makeup brushes or an extra-gentle, fragrance-free soap or shampoo. Our top pick was created by Patinkin herself: The Luxury Vegan Makeup Brush Soap. “I developed my soap very specifically to be quick and efficient to use while also doing no harm to the planet. It gets your brushes clean very quickly and rinses away without the time and effort other soaps and cleansers require,” Patinkin said.

Other great options include this Makeup Brush Cleansing Shampoo from EcoTools or this Baby Shampoo from Pipette. If you want to DIY your brush cleaner, you can make a wash out of olive oil, liquid Castile soap, and distilled white vinegar. Here’s a tutorial on how to create that blend if you’re interested.

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