You Ask: What is the best way to dry your makeup brushes? Can I use a hair dryer?

by Paris B on · 66 comments

in Brushes etc.,Tips

makeup brushes You Ask: What is the best way to dry your makeup brushes? Can I use a hair dryer?

First off, let me say how I love it when you ask questions whether in comments or in email, because it makes me think, and it also provides excellent fodder for future posts, especially if it is something that we can all learn from – so keep it coming! icon biggrin You Ask: What is the best way to dry your makeup brushes? Can I use a hair dryer?

Last week, Cas asked in a comment on the Daiso Detergent post:-

Paris, noob question, how do you dry your brushes? Do you use a hair dryer or air dry it? I’ve tried blow drying it coz I swear they take forever to dry naturally but I find the brushes all over the place when I blow dry it so was just wondering. Help please icon smile You Ask: What is the best way to dry your makeup brushes? Can I use a hair dryer?

I thought that was a very good question, because I’d never have thought about writing a post about how to dry brushes icon biggrin You Ask: What is the best way to dry your makeup brushes? Can I use a hair dryer? Anyway, I answered her in a comment reply, (Short answer: No hairdryers!) but here is an extended version of the best way to dry makeup brushes icon smile You Ask: What is the best way to dry your makeup brushes? Can I use a hair dryer?

The best and most advisable way to dry your makeup brushes is to air-dry, flat, after reshaping your brushes.

What I do is to gently squeeze out as much water from the brush as I can, after washing it, then use a clean towel to wrap up the brushes and lightly press the bristles. This will help you remove most of the water which speeds up the drying process. Its almost like wrapping your hair in a towel, if you can imagine it icon smile You Ask: What is the best way to dry your makeup brushes? Can I use a hair dryer?

Then I reshape the brushes, and lie them flat on any surface – better if it protrudes slightly over the edge so the shape isn’t flattened. If I wash them in the morning, then I may place them in an airy place or near a source of sunlight. But never directly under the sun. Usually, by evening it will be almost dry or if its been a hot day, practically dry. Then, I store them.

Some brushes take longer to dry, like very dense kabuki brushes or thick bronzer brushes. Those usually take me about 2 days. If you sleep in an air-conditioned room, leaving the brushes in the room overnight helps speed up the drying process somewhat.

I don’t recommend blow drying, unless absolutely desperate because it can dry out the brushes too much (If natural hair) or spoil the shape. If you plan to use a blow dryer, use it on the lowest heat setting at the lowest power.

Another tip: Do not dry your brushes upright. The principle behind it is because the water and moisture will run down the inside of the ferrule and weaken the glue that holds your brushes together, so you may experience more shedding in future if you dry them upright.

To summarize:

  • After washing your brushes, gently squeeze out excess water and pat dry with a towel or paper towel.
  • Reshape your brushes when damp.
  • Place brushes flat on a flat surface, overhanging the edge if possible or flat otherwise. Placing them on a piece of tissue or paper towel can help speed things up a little.
  • Place them in an airy area or by the doorway or window if you want to speed up drying. An air-conditioned room can also help speed up drying.
  • Do not place in direct sunlight.
  • Do not dry brushes standing upright.

I hope this has been useful. Its quite a basic little tip but one that bears repeating, especially the bit about not drying them upright, because I have seen it before and you may lose your brushes that way.

If you have more tips to share on how best to dry your makeup brushes, please do! I’d love to know if I missed anything or if I can learn a new trick icon biggrin You Ask: What is the best way to dry your makeup brushes? Can I use a hair dryer?

Paris B

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[ 66 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

LeGeeque January 31, 2012 at 8:33 am

Yaye! That’s exactly what I do too! The little difference is that in winter, I place them directly under my heating vents and they dry in a matter of hours. I usually wash them in the evenings, soak up as much water as I can with a towel, shape them and leave them jutting out over the edge of my vanity directly under the vents. They’d be dry before I go to bed.

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Paris B February 1, 2012 at 12:18 pm

That’s quite a good idea too! Just don’t put them too close to the heating vents so the glue doesn’t melt etc :P

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xin January 31, 2012 at 8:59 am

yeay! that’s what i do too. except that usually i keep them in the room, somewhere reachable within the ceiling fan distance, usually they dry overnight. so it’s all good :D

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Paris B February 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Ceiling fan! Great idea to keep the air moving to speed up drying.

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SY January 31, 2012 at 9:27 am

any suggestions for a dense foundation brush, kabuki style (like the shiseido perfect foundation brush) ? the bristles are very dense , and if we were to wash after daily use, how does it dry in time for next day’s use? hmmmm

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Stephanie/Yukaeshi January 31, 2012 at 3:09 pm

For me, I use MAC brush cleanser. I have a few kabuki or dense brushes- Everyday Minerals, Ecotools, Sephora. I’ve calculated, with the MAC brush cleanser it takes about 7-8 hours (When you sleep if you have no time) to dry even for the dense brushes. But I also wipe them with a microfibre cloth/towel so maybe that helped reduce the drying time a little.

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Tine January 31, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Dense brushes take a longer time to dry if you give them a full cleaning. There’s no working around it unless you use a brush cleaner to spray and wipe. Or use a hair dryer (on cool mode please). I usually have duplicate brushes (not necessarily same brand and model), so that I can alternate if the other is washed.

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Lily January 31, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Hi SY, there is no need to wash (deep cleanse) daily. If you are using the brush daily, I suggest you spot clean it. Meaning spray some brush cleanser (I used MAC, now using Barbara Hofmann) on the bristles and wipe on a piece of tissue. You will see traces of foundation on that tissue. Repeat until you see a clean tissue. These spray cleansers dry very quickly (alcohol in ingredients) so there is not much drying time. I never use a hair dryer. Ever.
If not, buy another brush and rotate ;-)

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Paris B February 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm

My Shiseido Perfect Foundation brush actually dries overnight e.g. if I wash it in the morning/afternoon, its dry by the next morning. Other very dense brushes like the Ecotools one you see in the photo (light handle) takes about 2 days to dry. I don’t wash my kabuki brushes daily but spot clean between uses and wash them once a week.

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Sharon January 31, 2012 at 9:31 am

I usually dry them with the brush guard around the bristles and also put it into a cup to dry (bristles part facing down).

If in anycase that the brush doesn’t dry up the next morning, I’ll blowdry them.

I wash my eyeshadow brushes daily as I always use different colours everyday.

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Paris B February 1, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I’d read about the brush guard but never bought into it LOL! :) Do you find that by placing into a cup bristles down you smush the bristles?

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Cas January 31, 2012 at 9:42 am

Paris, thank you so much for this post! I’ve been drying them upright, lol, you can tell I”m a total noob at drying makeup brushes but now I know better thanks to you! Will keep all your tips in mind when I dry em next time and fingers crossed they will dry faster too.

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Paris B February 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Thanks for the idea to blog this Cas :D There’ve been lots of readers’ tips too that are very useful too!

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Tine January 31, 2012 at 9:43 am

That’s exactly how I dry mine too. Sometimes I do cheat with a hairdryer, if I’m desperate. A good thing about my hairdryer is that it also blows cool air, so I hold the hairdryer 1 foot away and blast the brushes to half-dry. Then I shape it and let it dry naturally. Just like I do with my own hair! :P

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Paris B February 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Ah the benefits of living in the tropics – heat! LOL But yes if using a hairdryer, the cool setting and only drying it half dry is probably for the best.

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Issa January 31, 2012 at 9:46 am

good to know that I’m doing the right thing! yay! :)

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Paris B February 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Yay! Here’s to prolonging the life of our brushes!

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electronicfly January 31, 2012 at 10:03 am

If I have the time, what I like to do is when brushes are no longer dripping, but still damp, I take a clean towel and brush the brushes on that towel to soak up the moisture. It’s like how one wash brushes, but instead of with water and your palm it’s with err.. no water and dry towel xD

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Paris B February 1, 2012 at 12:30 pm

That’s a great tip! Will definitely speed up drying time :D

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plue January 31, 2012 at 10:12 am

that’s what i do also, leaving at the edge of my table and switch on the fan while leaving it to dry. so far the brushes has been good :)

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Paris B February 1, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Great to know that plue! Having the fan on is a great idea and really speeds things up too.

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Cynthia January 31, 2012 at 10:15 am

That’s exactly how I dry my brush except sometimes i use my brush guard so the brush stays in shape. I don’t use hair dryer at all because it just makes me think that it gonna shorten my brushes lifespan. :))

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Paris B February 1, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Another fan of the brush guard! I’ve never had my brushes go out of shape, hence never seeing the need to try the brush guard :D

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Hanny Daforcena January 31, 2012 at 11:00 am

If I am washing my denser face-brushes, I’d clip them onto some sort of railing bristle-down with them laundry pins, you know, them big ones that resemble small pliers?

It usually takes 6-8 hours for them to dry, since my room is usually sunny in the daytime heh heh heh.

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Paris B February 1, 2012 at 12:33 pm

I read about clipping up brushes too – I guess it makes sense – if our clothes dry, so should our brushes! :)

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lyn January 31, 2012 at 11:11 am

I’ve also read somewhere that the heat from the blow dryer can melt the glue within the ferrule and loosen the brush hairs, so there’s a tendency for them to shed.

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Paris B February 1, 2012 at 12:34 pm

That makes sense! I’ve never tried the hairdryer to be honest – never thought about it because I never got desperate to use a damp brush – i just use a back up LOL!

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Jenn January 31, 2012 at 11:23 am

I used to do what you do too… until i learnt a nifty new trick from a video Connie posted on her facebook page – wrap the brushes in toilet paper then leaving them to dry upright! Hehehe! :D

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Paris B February 1, 2012 at 12:35 pm

That’s interesting – the drying upright bit but I guess the tissue paper helps absorb the moisture? I’m just not so sure still because of the potential weakening of the glue etc. I’ve had my metal ferrules detach from the wooden handle because I’ve been (ahem!) careless and using too much water :P

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Applegal January 31, 2012 at 11:58 am

I used to wash my brushes with johnson’s baby shampoo but the drying really takes the mickey out of me, so I resorted to just spot cleaning my brushes once a week with Shu Uemura’s brush cleanser.

I even tried the virgin olive oil method but washing the oil off is a real pain! And after that, my Bobbi brown natural bristle brushes don’t seem to pick up colour that well, until after a few more shampoo washes.

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Paris B February 1, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Oh dear using oil directly on the brushes would be a pain – perhaps try a cleansing oil that will emulsify next time? :) I sometimes spot clean between washes but I always do a proper wash at least once a week or 2 weeks to make sure they are really clean :)

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Applegal February 2, 2012 at 9:13 am

I thoguht about using cleansing oil but sakit hati to use my Shu Uemura cleansing oil la :P I have a bottle of yellow Softymo cleansing oil I bought from HK, maybe I’ll try using that. Recently when my friend helped me purchase that bottle, she was told by the SAs that it’s not very good :P

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Paris B February 2, 2012 at 10:53 am

Aww I love Softymo cleansing oil LOL! I tried using cleansing oil on brushes but I didn’t like how it felt either :P

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Dorami January 31, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Hi Paris! First of, Happy CNY, Kung Hei Fatt Choy =)
Well, since you welcomed questions, I thought I’d use this opportunity to ask a silly question.
We know there are 2 cardinal sins in taking care of our skin-
1. Over washing our face (more than twice a day)
2. Not putting on sunblock

So my question is, if we wake up in the morning, and plan to go for a jog, hiking or whatever outdoor activity, it would make perfect sense to slather on sunblock. However the face should be cleaned first before putting on any skincare, after a night’s sleep, right? But if we wash it before going out, we would definitely wash again after all the sweating and then once more in the evening/night. So, how do you deal with this? I have always wondered but never really figured out what is the right thing to do.

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Paris B February 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Happy Chinese New Year Dorami! :D Thanks for your questions! Here is my quick reply ;)

You should wash your face after exercise, even if its more than once a day, because the sweat and extra sebum can trap bacteria on the skin and lead to breakouts. I’d wash in the morning, maybe just splash water if you don’t want to use a cleanser, then apply your moisturiser and sunblock. There are schools of thought that say you don’t need cleanser in the mornings. After your exercise, wash your skin thoroughly, then apply your skin care. Left to me, I’d just wash it with a gentle cleanser both times (but I don’t face this problem because I’m REALLY lazy so morning exercise is erm… no go :P )

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Stephanie/Yukaeshi January 31, 2012 at 12:55 pm

I was VERY tempted to use a hairdryer on my brushes the other day, but I’m glad I decided against it :P After washing my brushes I wipe them on a microfibre towel/cloth, wrap them up and press the bristles and leave it to dry. Microfibre towels/cloths seem to help lessen the drying time more IMO, and they take about a day to dry, slightly longer for kabuki or dense brushes. I prefer using MAC brush cleanser because it speeds up the drying time even more!

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Paris B February 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Good idea using a microfibre cloth – they do absorb liquids better. I use a brush cleaner in between washes but I always wash my brushes properly once a week or once every 2 weeks to make sure tehy are properly clean. I find spot cleaning doesn’t do it for me :)

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Indira January 31, 2012 at 1:01 pm

I dry my brushes upright!
Never thought that it would ‘degrade’ the brush…

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Paris B February 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Now you do! :D Time to dry them lying down next time :)

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SY January 31, 2012 at 2:04 pm

ladies, do you wash the foundation kabuki like brush, every single day???
isn’t that such a hassle????

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trah January 31, 2012 at 3:30 pm

You don’t have to wash them every day. You can clean the brush by swiping it on a sheet of tissue after each usage until there’s no traces of powder left. Don’t wet the brush when you do this.

If you do this, washing the brush once a week is good enough, or purchase in another kabuki brush as a back up so you can use a clean one every two days.

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Paris B February 1, 2012 at 12:42 pm

I hope the readers tips have been helpful :) I don’t wash brushes everyday – its too much hassle as you’ve pointed out but spot cleaning after use can help keep them clean between washes and brush cleaners from most brands do dry very quickly.

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Nikki January 31, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Oohh let me retype my twitter response here :) This is a wonderful topic :)

swirling them on a towel and leave them on top of an “absorbent” towel will help dry the k-brushes naturally :)

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gio January 31, 2012 at 3:14 pm

That’s exactly what I do too. I’ve been tempted to use a hair dryer a few times but never did because I was afraid it would ruin my brushes.

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Paris B February 1, 2012 at 12:43 pm

I never even thought about using a hair dryer to be honest but then I guess living in a country with external heat sources all year round helps! :D

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synical January 31, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Didn’t know until recently that Bobbi Brown has their own brush cleansing gel that I tried and really amazed by. Might be a bit dear at RM65 a tube, but a little goes a long way and I foresee that mine will last me awhile. I personally can’t stand the idea of not being able to water rinse brushes, so I prefer this to (say) MAC’s brush cleansing spray.

I wash my brushes every week if I remember to, or at least fortnightly. Squeeze dry with kitchen towel and lay flat to air dry.

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Paris B February 1, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Thanks for the heads up on the Bobbi Brown gel – I didn’t know about it either and a gel sounds interesting :D

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synical February 2, 2012 at 12:36 am

It’s more a liquid than a gel (sorry if I misspoke), but yeah, didn’t know until I walked into my nearby BB store to ask. Didn’t even check the internet (the horror). Jerry at the 1U store was really patient with me about that :P

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Paris B February 2, 2012 at 10:40 am

Eh cool, I’ll go check it out anyway – thanks for the headsup!

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Lily January 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I deep cleanse once a week. Sometimes twice a month, depending on how dirty my brushes are. However, I spot clean every day. I dry my brushes like you do too. NEVER stand the brushes upright because water will flow backwards to the ferule and wooden handles will rot in time. NEVER blow dry or you’ll ruin the natural hair. For denser brushes, I love using Sigma’s Dry’nShape because it does work. I make it stand, bristles facing downwards. All the brushes dry in less than 5 hours and they are back in its original shape. Love that!

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Paris B February 1, 2012 at 12:46 pm

I don’t always clean my colour brushes everyday though – I do a “dry wash” by wiping them on a piece of tissue till they are clean between uses. Its the foundation brushes that kill me which may be why I rarely use a brush for foundation :D

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SY January 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm

thanks ladies. most helpful tips!

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Denise January 31, 2012 at 6:01 pm

I use my towels to gently squeeze excess water from my brushes too. What I do differently now, though, is I tie rubber bands around my handles tightly and hang them to dry bristles down. I noticed that my brushes seem to dry a bit faster if they’re on hangers, upside down. It might just be me though :)

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Paris B February 1, 2012 at 12:46 pm

That’s an interesting idea! I should give it a try next time ;)

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Shay January 31, 2012 at 7:06 pm

I have duplicate brushes and rotate them.

However, I do have cream or liquid makeup products which can be applied solely using fingers. So, no hurry on drying brushes.

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Paris B February 1, 2012 at 12:47 pm

LOL!! Yes me too! I never really face a problem of running out of brushes because I use my faves and then my 2nd choices and then my 3rd choices before doing a mass wash :D I also use my fingers a lot otherwise and in a pinch, everything works with just your fingers anyway ;)

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