Now, I can't claim to be an expert on all things makeup brushes, because let's face it- I'm horrible at remembering to clean them. I'm lucky if I take the time to clean then once every six months. I know, I know...but lately I've been much better about it, and there are a few hard and fast rules that are easy enough to stick to.
1. Do use a gentle soap.
I used Neutrogena's Gentle Foaming Face Wash to clean mine, but even baby shampoo works well. Just make sure it isn't loaded with harsh chemicals or heavy perfumes.
2. Don't pull at the bristles.
While you're washing it can be tempting to pull at the bristles while washing or rinsing. Instead, swirl the brush into the soap in the palm of your hand and gentle separate the bristles while rinsing- but only if you absolutely have to. If you can, just let the water run through.
3. Do rinse your brushes thoroughly.
Leaving soap residue in the bristles can irritate your face and leave the brushes harsh after they dry. Don't hesitate to double rinse, just in case.
4. Don't let your brushes sit in water.
I learned this back in high school with actual painting brushes. Letting them soak in water will loosen the glue that holds the bristles in, and will also loosen the head of the brush from the handle. Simply hold your brushes under running water to rinse them
5. Do let your brushes dry completely before using them again.
Using wet brushes will not only make the makeup cake into the brushes, but it will ruin whatever you're trying to apply! Make sure you won't need a specific brush the next day if you're washing them at night, because my more dense brushes took at least 24 hours to completely dry.
6. Don't blow dry/fan/spread out the bristles.
I'm not sure why you would ever blow dry a makeup brush, but I've watched a friend attempt it! As for the fanning and spreading of the bristles, it may seem like they will dry faster, but in reality it will just cause your brushes to loose their shape, and you'll end up with a bunch of brushes with giant blobs for bristles.
7. Do listen to your face.
That sounds a little strange, but pay attention to what your face is telling you. If it hurts or your skin becomes red after using a brush, it might be time to bite the bullet and buy a new one. If your face has been breaking out recently and nothing in your routine has changed, it might be a sign that your brushes need a good scrubbing.
8. Don't over-think it.
I know when I washed my brushes for the first time I was super intimidated for some reason. It was probably just because I had never attempted it before, but no matter the reason it lead me to put it off. Don't! Worst case senerio is you ruin a brush and have to buy a new one- so start with the cheap ones first, haha.