I LOVE the cake face, but I like to think it’s a perfectly iced cake. My brushes, and of course my beauty blender, are my essential tools… But if there’s one very important lesson I’ve learned in my many years as an MUA, it’s that dirty brushes will get you nowhere! Not only can makeup brushes harbor oil, dirt, and bacteria from your face that can lead to breakouts, but the old makeup trapped on your brush won’t give you the flawless application you could get from clean makeup brushes, particularly with your powders.

In an ideal world, makeup brushes should be cleaned after every use, especially foundation brushes, but a more realistic expectation is once a week. You can use an instant brush cleaner in between washing – I LOVE the Cinema Secrets Makeup Brush Cleaner, it’s really easy to use and dissolves all your makeup and purifies the brush. Your makeup sponge really should be cleaned after every use: I usually do it just before I’m about to use it, that way it’s clean and damp and ready to be used – check out my tips here. It’s weird, but if you’re anything like me you’ll actually find the process of cleaning your makeup brushes really relaxing and SO satisfying – I love watching as all the makeup washes away and having them all clean and organized.

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It might seem a bit extra, but this is the way I clean and store ALL my makeup brushes – I have hundreds – it’s really worth it if you want your makeup brushes to last, especially if you’ve spent a lot of money on them! I use the Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Mat – it’s ahhhhmazing, and you can just put it straight in your sink – and the Sephora Solid Brush Cleaner, which is so convenient. You can also use baby shampoo, or even just a bar of soap. Once the brushes are all shiny and new again, leave them on a clean towel to dry completely. After, I use my brush cleanser to ensure they’re sanitized, and then I store them with makeup brush guards to protect the bristles and preserve the shape – they’re also brilliant for traveling.

Finally, the best advice I can give you is to be gentle. It might seem like vigorously washing your brush will clean it better or by rubbing the bristles on a towel will get it dry quicker, but the rougher you are with your brush, the more damage you’re doing. Over time this will wreck the brush and the way it distributes your products, so it’s better to be careful. I get SO attached to some of my brushes, and I’ve had some for years and years, so I really do treat them like my babies!