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An Almanac For The 21st Century

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One Chore Just Got a Lot Less Chore-Like

One Chore Just Got a Lot Less Chore-Like

There are few beauty chores as tedious as washing makeup brushes. Maybe there's someone out there who enjoys it, to which I say, "Hello, Freak of Nature!" I mean, just kidding. All God's creatures... etc. We all know we should be washing our makeup brushes, because those tools can harbor some major bacteria, but its just not a chore that seems pertinent, and it's hard to know exactly how often we are supposed to be doing it. With clothes, it's easy. Your pants are stretched out? Wash 'em. Your shirt smells? Wash it. With brushes, should you wash after every use? Once a week? Once a month? The internet is no help either. There are a million and two guides explaining how to wash brushes, but there is no consensus on how often they need a cleansing. I did a quick consultation with Dr. Google, and I found out I should be washing my brushes once a month, once a week, spot cleaning after every use AND deep cleaning once a week, literally all the time why aren't you washing a brush at this very second you gross monster?, and there's no clear answer because life is full of variables.

My method is to deep clean all my brushes once a month (Real talk? Sometimes this is more like once every six weeks) and I spot clean my eye makeup brushes after each use, because there's nothing worse than going to sweep on a pale shadow and finding your brush is already covered in a dark, smoky shade. I use a great spray cleaner by Sephora that thoroughly cleans my brushes, but also dries quickly, so I can turn around and use my newly clean brushes almost immediately. Spot cleaning is super easy - it's deep cleaning that is a huge pain.

For me, deep cleaning my brushes has always been a chore I dread. Because of my disability, leaning over a sink swirling soapy brushes in my hand gets painful very quickly. I started moving a chair into my bathroom so I could sit and take some strain off my back while I got my brushes all sudsy. Even with that innovation, it was still painful for me to lean over the sink for the 20-30 minutes it took me to get through all of my brushes. I had heard of these mitts that apparently make brush cleaning much easier, but they're not cheap. Then I saw something on Pinterest that immediately grabbed my attention.

The pinner described how a simple $6 facial scrubbing pad from Sephora could be used to effectively clean makeup brushes. It was basically like the $35 mitt, but in a smaller form, and for a fraction of the price. I figured I could drop $6 on a little makeup experiment without any guilt, so I picked up one of these little scrubbers and gave it a shot.

OH. MY. GOD.

Not only does it work. It works amazingly well. I wash my brushes as usual, with a little bit of mild soap (I'm currently using one by Bare Minerals, but Dr. Bronner's or even baby shampoo work perfectly well) and cool water, but instead of swirling the brush in the palm of my hand, I swirl it on the scrubby pad instead. It is amazing and so, so satisfying to see the makeup practically fall off my brushes. Even the brushes that usually take me forever to thoroughly clean are no match for this little tool. Where a deep cleaning session for all my brushes would take me 20-30 minutes, the dreary chore is now complete in 10 or less. The (literally) backbreaking part of my makeup loving life is now not only pain-free, but also kind of cool to complete. The nubby parts of the scrubber really do a great job of gently coaxing all traces of dirt, oil, and old makeup out of my brushes.

I've been using this technique to clean my brushes for about three months and I can safely say it's taken my least favorite part of beauty and made it completely bearable. I mean, it's not like I'm rejoicing every time I reach the deep cleansing time of the month, but I don't dread it either. Plus, my poor aching body can finally get a break from the hell I used to put it through just to have a clean foundation brush.

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