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How to Dry your Makeup Brushes Properly

How to Dry your Makeup Brushes Properly

While it’s important to clean your makeup brushes at least once a week (see our guide on exactly how to do that here), it’s equally as important to make sure you dry them properly too. Dirty makeup brushes and tools are notorious breeding grounds for dead skin cells and breakout-causing germs and bacteria - but if they aren’t dried thoroughly, you might undo all the work you put into cleaning them. Damp brushes can start to become mouldy and unsanitary and on brushes can even compromise the integrity of the glue that holds the bristles to the main part of the brush, causing them to shed. Here’s how to dry your makeup brushes properly, ensuring they stay clean, fluffy and useful for longer.

Which Dries Faster - Synthetic or Natural Bristles?

Another argument in favour of synthetic or vegan brushes is that they dry faster - not only that, but they’re also easier to clean, they repel dirt and bacteria with more ease, shed less and are naturally hypoallergenic - so if you’re pressed for time and looking for a makeup brush that applies like a dream (and washes like one too), synthetic brushes are the one for you.

Can I Use My Makeup Brushes While Still Wet?

You could, potentially - although it isn’t recommended. Wet makeup brushes can collect germs and bacteria - and if used to apply makeup, they are also less effective when in use, leaving a streaky finish and affecting the consistency of the makeup that you are using.

When Should I Dry My Makeup Brushes?

Cleaning and drying your brushes can be a bit of an involved process, so we recommend you do it before bed, potentially on a night before a day where you know you’ll be going makeup free the next day to give them extra time to dry. Ten hours is the makeup artist-recommended time, which seems like a long time - but given how densely, packed some makeup brush types are, it’s worth the wait. 

Should I Dry my Brushes Upright?

Avoid drying your brushes upright, as this will allow moisture to seep down into the bristles, loosening the glue that holds them to the brush and collecting inside - which can also cause them to develop mould. Instead, choose a clean, flat surface and spread a clean, dry towel over it - a pro-tip is to use microfibre towels - these are great at wicking away excess moisture and tend to be quicker than using a standard cotton bath towel. 

How do I Prevent Wonky Bristles from Happening?

After cleaning, rinsing and squeezing excess water from your brushes, fold them inside the towel and gently press to soak up additional moisture. Lie the brushes flat on the edge of your counter or table so that the brushes are peeking over the edge - this will allow air to circulate around the bristles - and it also helps to avoid them becoming crooked - instead, reshape bristles as the brushes dry with your fingers if necessary.

What Else Can I Use to Dry My Makeup Brushes?

As an alternative to the countertop method, consider getting a drying rack specifically for this purpose - these canny devices hang your brushes upside down so you don’t get mildewy water pooling at the base of the bristles. Alternatively you could use a budget version of this: this involves finding a way to store your brushes upside down, but suspended in mid-air so that the air circulates. If you have some form of bar - perhaps on a clotheshorse, coat hanger or a piece of furniture, you could secure the brushes there with rubber bands until dry.  

How Do You Dry your Makeup Brushes Quickly?

If a lengthy drying time is out of the question, there are a few ways you can speed things up - you can wrap each brush in a towel individually (you can use the same towel and “bunch” it around the brushes) - or use a hairdryer on a low heat setting. While this is an effective way to dry your brushes quickly, it’s not the best method and can damage the glue and fibres of your makeup brushes, causing them to fall apart. Whether it’s blow-drying, sunshine or radiators, heat should be avoided altogether when drying your makeup brushes.

What Else Can I Use to Help Speed up Drying Time?

If you don’t mind spending a little extra money, there are some gadgets you can use that whip water away from the brushes to dry them in double-time - but in the long run most of them overcomplicates a process that should be kept as simple as possible - as well as being expensive: instead of keeping track of missing components, cleaning and maintaining mechanical parts - this is one of those situations where the “good old fashioned way” is best.

Are There any Special Cleansers to Help Dry my Brushes Faster?

Another quick fix is a makeup brush cleanser that you can spritz onto the brushes, but unlike a thorough deep cleansing, they don’t get rid of all the gunk, germs and bacteria completely.  In reality, rapid-drying formulas such as these are best used when spot-cleaning throughout the week - but bear in mind the rapidity at which they dry is all down to the use of alcohol, so be sparing when using these, especially on brushes such as Eyeshadow brushes - and also on brushes for the face such as kabuki or blusher brushes - as alcohol can dry skin out quickly, too.

While we generally expect most things to happen quickly: fast food orders, transport, and broadband - but with some things you can’t cut corners  - makeup brush cleaning being one of them. Yes, it’s annoying and a little time-consuming, but if you want your brushes to last longer (and avoid breakouts and infections in the process), it’s worth it in the long run, both for your makeup brush set and for your skin.


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