How to Store Makeup Brushes
Sometimes, it’s the little things that really lift your mood and set up your day for success – like waking up to a clean kitchen on a Monday morning, color-coding a closet, or using planet-friendly Stasher bags to organize your go-to beauty products. Another small but significant way to add a little more calm and order into your days? Reimagining your makeup brush storage!
In this guide, we’re walking you through how to organize, clean, and store makeup brushes properly, from storing brushes upright to protect delicate bristles to keeping your brushes dust-free.
Why You Should Store Your Makeup Brushes Properly
If the simple joy of feeling more organized isn’t enough to convince you to rethink your makeup brush set storage, consider the fact that proper storage and cleaning can majorly extend the life of your brushes, allowing you to get more bang for your buck. And if that still doesn’t do it for you, then consider this: according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, makeup brushes are a hotbed of dust, dirt, oil, and bacteria. As a result, you’re left susceptible to breakouts and rashes, or even super serious infections like E. coli, fungus, or staph infections.
So when it comes to storing makeup brushes properly, the first step is actually to clean them properly. Dermatologists recommend the following method to clean makeup brushes:
Step 1: Under a thin stream of lukewarm water (not hot water), rinse the tips of each makeup brush to remove any excess product. Try not to get the whole brush wet – the brush head is likely connected to the brush handle with glue, which can dissolve over time if exposed to a lot of water.
Step 2: In a clean bowl (We love using a Stasher bowl for this!), combine warm water and a gentle shampoo, like baby shampoo. If possible, do use shampoo instead of regular soap – the latter will dry out the bristles.
Step 3: Dip each brush tip into the bowl of warm, soapy water, and swirl it around. For extra-dirty brushes, you may want to gently massage the bristles, too. (And while you’re at it, this is also a good time to wash your hair brushes and combs.)
Step 4: Next, rinse the brush heads under running water. If the water doesn’t run clear, then repeat the shampooing step.
Step 5: Once all of your brushes are clean, gently blot the wet bristles with a clean paper towel – or even better for minimizing single-use waste, a clean towel or rag that you don’t mind staining (in the case that there’s a little extra makeup still nestled in those bristles).
Step 6: For the next day or two, store brushes flat on a clean and absorbent towel, rotating them every so often. Don’t store them upright quite yet — doing so before the brushes are completely dry could damage the glue between the brush head and handle, or could cause mold.
To keep bacteria at bay, aim to clean your brushes at least every two weeks.
How to Store Makeup Brushes Dust Free
Now that your brushes are clean, let’s talk storage. Storing makeup brushes upright – like in a cup or in an acrylic makeup organizer – is the best way to protect the brush bristles from getting bent or warped. But the drawback of this kind of storage is that it is an invitation for dust to settle in those upright bristles. Instead of using a standard pencil cup or mug to hold makeup brushes, look for a makeup brush cup that has a lid, thus keeping your brushes in and the dust out.
And while storing brushes horizontally – like in a drawer insert compartment, or inside a makeup bag – can be a little harder on the bristles, it has its fair share of benefits, too. (This is good news for anyone wondering how to store double ended makeup brushes.) For those who prefer their makeup brushes tucked away out of sight, fabric makeup brush rolls, silicone bags, and washable cosmetics bags are a great choice.
We love using the Stasher Stand-Up Mega Bag or the Stasher 8-Cup Bowl to organize brushes by type (think: eye makeup brushes, face makeup brushes, etc.) or by frequency of use, separating the brushes you use daily from the ones you reach for less often. Because Stasher bags are super durable, you can toss them in a drawer or basket and know your brushes are safely contained in one place, protected from dust, and easy to access when you need them. And thanks to our dishwasher-safe design, your Stasher bags and bowls can get a bath whenever your makeup brushes get washed, too.
How to Store Makeup Sponges
But what about makeup sponges? Like makeup brushes, sponges collect a lot of dirt, oil, and excess product. And because of their porous texture, they retain moisture even more than brushes do, making them extra prone to mold and bacteria growth.
To keep them clean, wash makeup sponges frequently with a mild shampoo at least once a week. Using your hands or a silicone cleansing pad, gently massage the soap into your sponge (don’t wring or pull the sponge, as it might rip). Rinse until the water runs clear, repeating the shampooing step if necessary. To dry your sponge, set it on a towel or countertop in an area with a lot of air flow. You can also use a blow dryer on a low setting to ensure your sponge dries out thoroughly and prevent mold or bacteria buildup.
When storing your makeup sponges, circulation is your friend! Opt for a mesh bag so that your sponge can breathe as much as possible while still being neatly tucked away.
How to Store Makeup Brushes for Travel
If you have travel plans on the horizon, then it’s also a good idea to sort out a suitcase-friendly storage solution for your brushes and makeup products sooner rather than later. The way we see it, good travel storage is reusable, super durable, compact, and totally leak-free. In other words? All things Stasher! For travel, we love quart and smaller bags because they’re easy to tuck into a suitcase or carry-on bag. And the leak-free design means that the rest of your belongings won’t get smudged by foundation brushes, eyeshadow palette runoff, or leaky concealer. Even better? Our clear Sandwich Bag is totally TSA-friendly for liquids so your makeup storage is a breeze, from the airport security line to makeup application time.
Storing makeup brushes correctly is a small thing that makes a big difference. By properly storing and caring for them, you’re helping your brushes last longer, protecting your skin from breakouts and infections (these clean + minimal beauty routine tips will help, too), and infusing a little more ease into your morning routine. Happy organizing!