Care and Maintenance of Tools and Makeup

Care and maintenance of tools and makeup is very important, your makeup is only as good as the tools you use to apply it. Therefore, your tools must always be in their best working condition. That means clean brushes, puffs, and sponges; sharpened tweezers; makeup containers that are in perfect shape; and makeup that’s not too old to use safely.

Brush Care

A good set of brushes will last several years if it is well cared for. This involves storing the brushes properly (either in a neat brush roll that has individual slots for each brush or upright in a pencil cup) and keeping them clean, see our post build your makeup kit.

To clean brushes, take a drop of brush cleaner or very gentle soap in your palm, wet the brush, and
swirl the bristles around on your palm until they are covered in soap. (I love using baby shampoo.) Rinse thoroughly until all soap residue is gone. Do not immerse the brush head in water, because the hair is glued to the base, and even the most expensive brushes will come apart. Squeeze out excess moisture with a clean towel, reshape the brush head, and let it dry with the bristles hanging off the edge of a counter so the bristles dry into the perfect shape. Brushes can become mildewed if they rest on a towel while drying.

Clean all your brushes every month or two. For a quick cleaning in between washings, use a spray brush cleaner. Spritz it onto the bristles, and swipe them back and forth on a tissue until all product residues are removed from the brush.


Clean the sides of messy compacts with a cotton swab to keep them looking fresh.

Sponge Care

High-quality sponges can be washed many times before they need to be discarded. Alternatively, you can buy disposable synthetic sponge wedges at the drugstore that work well and are inexpensive. You can wash and reuse them only a few times before you throw them out.

Powder Puff Care

While drugstores sell disposable powder puffs, it’s worth investing in a better-quality one. Hand wash the puff using the same liquid soap you use for your brushes, or toss it into your next load of laundry or on the top rack of the dishwasher.

Tweezer Care

When tweezers get dull—which happens with repeated use—they are no longer as effective at grabbing on to and removing small hairs. You can take them to a knife shop for sharpening. Some of the better brands, such as Tweezerman, come with a lifetime guarantee that includes free sharpening whenever necessary.

Eyelash Curler Care

The rubber pads that line the inside of an eyelash curler are there to protect the lashes, so when the pads start to wear out or break apart, they must be replaced. Many eyelash curlers come with a set of replacement pads. Keep a set on hand.

Makeup Care

Examine the contents of your makeup bag, drawer, or cabinet. Take out anything that’s in a broken container or missing a cap. You can pour liquid foundation into a fresh bottle, scoop out creams and lipsticks and transfer them to small containers or palettes, and place capless pencils in zip-top plastic bags. Broken powder blushes and pressed powder compacts are irreparable and should be tossed. Weekly maintenance is far easier than semiannual overhauls.

You also need to get rid of any makeup that’s past its expiration date:

  • Liquid and cream foundation 2 years
  • Concealer 2 years
  • Powder 2 years
  • Mascara 6 months
  • Lipstick 12 to 18 months
  • Lip and eye pencils 12 to 18 months
  • Eye shadow 2 years
  • Powder blush 2 years
  • Cream blush 2 years
  • Moisturizer 2 years
  • Eye cream 6 months
  • Sunscreen 2 years
  • Face cream 2 years



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