Friday, February 28th, 2014

Choose or Lose

Do you ever condition your makeup brushes?

  • Never! (70%, 1,539 Votes)
  • Occasionally... (20%, 451 Votes)
  • Yes, definitely! (9%, 203 Votes)
  • Other -- I'll tell you in the comments! (0%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,203

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

Comments that include advertisements, self-promotion, insults, etc. may be in violation of our comment policy and subject to deletion. Please see our comment policy for more information.

30 thoughts on “Do you ever condition your makeup brushes?

  1. Kristina Vieweg

    I have often thought about it, but I have never done it. Have you? Does it effect the makeup application for better or worse?

    • Eileen

      Just add a drop of conditioner to the rinse water, swirl the brush around in it, then rinse the brush in clean water. Dry as usual. The bristles will feel softer–like new–without being gunky or affecting their performance. As with the hair on our heads, the key is to not over condition :-). A few people mentioned build up, but if you’re using just a tiny bit and rinsing afterwards, that shouldn’t be a problem. Because I wash a brush after using it once or twice, the bristles would eventually dry out if I didn’t condition them.

    • Lisemarie Visnic

      I don’t know about using hair conditioner, I don’t use that on my brushes. I use brush conditioner, the one I use is a round bar it comes in its own container. It’s a fatty bar of soap, costs about $5 at art supply and lasts forever. I was taught that brush cleaning was always a two step process. First you remove the products from your brushes then condition. I purchased most of my brushes before synthetics were popular so most are natural hair. If you constantly strip away the natural oils with detergents like dawn or shampoos it dries out the bristles. You will get breakage and shorten the life of your brushes. I know I throw mine away when the bristles start to break. What I use leaves no build up, it is literally a bar of brush soap.

  2. I don’t use brushes or conditioner – but if I did have them, I think I would! Softness and sleekness is very important to me in a brush!
    Sylirael Recently Posted: A Beautiful Fantasy – The Artwork of Rebecca Guay, and her Kickstarter!

  3. xamyx

    I typically use a castile (olive oil)-based soap, or a dish detergent with softening agents, and because most are synthetic bristles, conditioning is rarely necessary. I’ve had some brushes for over 25 years, and they’re still in amazing condition. Besides, conditioner can actually build up and render a brush useless, so it’s not often a chance I’m willing to take.

  4. Ammara

    Only my MAC 116 because it became a little scratchy after the first wash but it’s much better after conditioner.

  5. I always condition the natural hair ones.

  6. I don’t use my brushes too much any more :(
    Erin Recently Posted: Trendy Sweatshirts For Men!

  7. Never! I’m afraid it will leave some residue that will cause breakouts. Besides, I’ve never had any trouble with the bristles becoming dry.

  8. I used to. I don’t anymore out of laziness. My brushes still feel pretty soft so I don’t think it’s really necessary

  9. I think I did ONCE. I really should do it more often since my MAC 217 is so uncomfortable to use now.
    Rikki Recently Posted: NEW HAIR! From long hair to short hair!

  10. Deb

    Never. For no reason other than I think it’s completely unnecessary. I’ve had some of my brushes for so long I can’t even begin to remember when/where I bought them. And they’re just as soft as when I first got them. I use a solid soap intended for men’s shaving and it has Shea butter and very little detergent. You can buy it in bulk packs on Amazon for a really good price and I have enough to last me forever. It cleans beautifully. Even the thickest, gunkiest cream products wash right out with hardly any effort. And no residue. I firmly believe if you use the right cleanser, handle the brushes gently, and dry them in the proper position then the extra step of conditioning is a pure waste of time.

    • Mahnaz

      Deb, do you mind sharing which brand of solid soap it is that you use? It sounds intriguing to me and I’d love to try this out! Thank you!!

      • Deb

        Hi MAHNAZ. It’s Van Der Hagen Deluxe Shave Soap. I actually bought my first box in a drugstore (sorry, can’t remember which one) to try out. I was looking for something with Shea butter and at the drugstore it was something like $2.99 for 2.5 oz. I liked it so much I found a 12 pack on Amazon for about $23 and ordered that. Needless to say, I’m stocked up for a while! Bonus: the soap bar is round and it fits perfectly in one of those round tub type Go Toob containers made by humangear. Which are also inexpensive and easy to find. Perfect for travel, much lighter than a bottle of liquid and doesn’t have to go in a 3-1-1 bag for TSA requirements. And it can do double duty on travel by replacing your can of shave gel. Hope that helps :)

        • Mahnaz

          Wow, yes, you have helped a lot. Thank you for all the detail. I appreciate it. I will see if I can find one online to try out if I can’t find it at a CVS or something. There is one more thing that has come to mind after I read your response, (if you don’t mind) ; I was wondering, does the soap have any scent? Thank you again :)

          • Deb

            If I hold the bar right under my nose, I can detect a very faint clean soap scent. I can’t detect it from even an inch away. It doesn’t show up at all while cleaning the brushes and there is zero scent on my brushes after cleaning. Note: I’m not sensitive to fragrance but I would say that even for those that are, this product would not be a problem. I basically have to stick in almost in my nose to smell anything LOL! And even then, it’s barely detectable.

            • Mahnaz

              Thank you again, Deb! I have to try that out. I also love the fact it travels easy. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

        • Thanks for the tip! I was looking to buy a solid cleanser. Will try this soap first. Hopefully you just saved me a bunch of money!

  11. Xero

    I wash them with moisturizing Dove soap with shea butter…so I don’t really think conditioning is necessary.

  12. Kica

    I did this for the first time day before yesterday. I decided to use a Chanel brush I’ve had sitting around for YEARS because when I first used it, it was really scratchy and I had never heard of using conditioner on a brush. It works!

    • Kica

      NOTE: I do not condition my synthetic brushes, but if I buy any more animal hair brushes in the future I most definitely would.

  13. Vee

    Never. I, honestly, don’t take very good care of my brushes. I know that sounds blasphemous, haha! But whenever I wash them, I don’t do any special way of cleaning them. I just use Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Castile Soap and rinse the brushes with warm water. Then I squeeze the extra water with a paper towel and lay them flat on a towel. It works great and my brushes dry very quickly. I know I just can’t buy expensive brushes because of the way I “mangle” them. But it’s also a testament to the quality of the brushes (I have mostly Real Techniques brushes) because none of them have shed. And they’re all still really soft, including my MAC 217 (my one and only MAC brush).

  14. I do condition some of my coarser natural bristled brushes. I make sure to only use a very light conditioner (in this case, Lush American Cream or Lush Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner) and rinse thoroughly, followed by actually washing the brush. It does make scratchier brushes feel nicer against my skin.

  15. I have one particular brush that’s natural hair and can get a bit scratchy, so I will use an old conditioner I have hanging around on it if it’s been rough, but not every time I wash it.

  16. I feel like everything that I use on my brushes will end up on my skin, so I just use antibacterial soap on them.

  17. Never! If i had expensive brushes though I probably would.

  18. My brushes are synthetic, so I don’t think it matters. Natural hair brushes, yes, I would condition.

  19. kurohana

    i didnt know you could

  20. Laura

    Only the ones with natural hair 😉