Clean Sweep

Keep your makeup brushes in good shape—and your skin happy—with these tips.


BLENDING IN Hynt Beauty’s vegan hand-crafted brushes, $20-$25 at, are made with Japanese Taklon synthetic bristles. Courtesy Hynt Beauty

There’s more to know about makeup brushes than you might think. For example, most experts recommend cleaning brushes at least once a month to rid them of bacteria, but more than a third of us don’t. And just how many brushes do you really need? We asked local expert Amanda Hume, founder of Vert Beauty, to give us a lesson on how to use the most important tool in your makeup bag.

YOU NEED AT LEAST FOUR. That’s two for the face and two for the eyes. “If you’re going basic, I would have a powder brush, blending brush, all-over shadow brush and smudge brush,” Hume says.

PLAY WITH TESTERS BEFORE YOU BUY. Brushes should feel soft against your skin—rough brushes can actually cause damage—and the bristles need to be cut carefully. “It’s just like your hair,” she adds. “Each bristle should be rounded.” Good brushes should last at least five years.

WASH THEM ONCE A WEEK. “If you can’t do that, wash them once every other week. Use a gentle baby shampoo or a gentle non-scented shampoo—dish soap is too harsh,” Hume says. “Put a quarter-size dollop of soap in the palm of your hand, wet the bristles and do circular motions in your palm. Rinse brushes out—never saturate them in water—and, once you squeeze all of the soap out and check that you don’t hear any suds, place them on a flat counter with the bristles hanging off to air dry.”

USE A BRUSH SPRAY AFTER EACH USE. “The point of spraying is to disinfect so you’re not putting more germs back on your face,” she says. Spritz a paper towel with a cleaning mixture and move your brush over the wet area in a circular motion.

CONSIDER SYNTHETIC, OR VEGAN, BRUSHES. Synthetics can actually lie down better than some natural brushes, Hume says, adding: “A lot of companies still use natural hair, but that doesn’t mean animals have been harmed in the process.”

DON’T USE A POWDER BRUSH FOR CREAM PRODUCTS. “It will mess up the bristles and you won’t be able to get all of the makeup out. Powders are meant to stay with powders, creams are meant to stay with creams.”

APPLY HIGHLIGHTERS WITH YOUR FINGERS. “A brush will just set highlighters on top of skin, whereas your hands will melt them into the skin,” according to Hume. DLM

Amanda Hume is the founder of Vert Beauty, 3442 W. 32nd Ave. / 303.623.8378



Colorescience aromatherapy brush cleaner, $17, at


Japonesque solid brush cleansing balm, $20, at area Ulta locations


Ecotools brush cleansing shampoo, $8, at area Ulta location


Tarte airbrush bamboo foundation brush, $34, at area Macy’s locations


Vert Beauty brush roll kit, $185, at Vert Beauty, 3442 W. 32nd Ave.

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