This Is How Often You Should Replace Your Brushes

by Miki Hayes

When it comes to our makeup, we know that products eventually go bad and need to be replaced every so often. But what about the tools we use to apply these products? How often should you replace makeup brushes? Should you do a monthly clean out? Yearly? To find out about how to care for your brushes and when you may just want to buy a whole new set, I corresponded with beauty expert and celebrity makeup artist, Jenny Patinkin. She let me know that, with proper care, your makeup brushes shouldn't be going bad anytime soon.

Proper care of brushes comes down to a few things: How you clean them, how you store them, and how you use them. Of course you should try to keep your brushes clean by washing them on a regular basis. This not only prevents your brushes from harboring bacteria (and spreading it back on your face causing breakouts), but it also keeps them in better shape so that they last longer. Patinkin recommends washing your brushes with "a gentle, conditioning cleanser that won't dry out the hairs or loosen the glue." So when you do bathe your brushes, make sure to keep the bristles pointed down so that water doesn't seep up into the ferrule, thereby loosening the glue holding the hairs together and resulting in shedding.

In addition to cleaning your brushes well and regularly, it is also important to store them in a spacious and clean environment. You'll want to make sure that your brushes are stored in a way where the bristles don't come in too much contact with other brushes or objects, because your brushes could easily become bent out of shape if they are kept in a space that is too crowded. Try storing them bristle-side-up in empty candle jars or in brush wraps that will help your brushes retain their original shape. Also be sure to store your brushes somewhere other than the bathroom so that they don't pick up extra bacteria. A vanity or dresser is the perfect place to ensure your brushes are exposed to cleaner air.

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But the way you store your brushes isn't the only thing that can affect their shape. Patinkin notes that applying too much pressure when you use your brushes can cause them to lose their shape and the bristles to collapse. What is "too much" pressure though? If bristles are splaying out when you're applying product, you can probably ease up a little.

Besides lost shape and collapsed bristles, Patinkin also explains that some other signs your brushes need to be replaced are if "the bristles have dried out and snapped off, the hairs are falling out all over the place, or if they never feel quite clean even after washing them." There's no exact timeline, but in general, if your brushes are looking a little rough, it's time to let them go.

So to make sure you won't have to replace your trusty makeup brushes anytime soon, simply follow these tips to properly clean, store, and use your brushes. That way, as Patinkin says is possible, your brushes will last you many years to come.

Images: Dash/Fotolia