The picture alone is almost enough to make me faint, but the original post this came from instructed the readers to "swirl them around for about 1 minute".
For us seasoned makeup enthusiasts out there, we're in the know when it comes to washing and caring for your brushes, but I can't fault makeup newbies for not knowing how things need to go down.
Mystified by brush washing? Want to see a video on brush cleaning? Keep on reading after the jump.
Let's first start out with the anatomy of a brush:
The bristles are generally held together in the ferrule by glue, and sometimes glue and crimping, and secured to the very top of the handle. Most brushes have handles made out of wood, and while the exposed part of the handle is normally treated with varnish, the top where the bristles are glued to is kept natural. Speaking of the bristles, since most are densely packed, they tend to hold on to quite a bit of water.
Why bring all of this up? Well, both glue and untreated wood don't do so hot when it comes to water. If you expose the glue and wood to enough water (like submerging the brush past the belly of the bristles) for an extended period of time (like "about 1 minute), you're going to run into a mess of troubles. The water acts as a solvent for most glues, and wood is biologically designed to be a big ol' cellulose sponge, meaning the glue will begin to loosen and the wood will expand. If the brushes are left like that long enough, or treated that way multiple times, the glue will eventually break down enough to create a bald brush and the wood will expand to loosen the ferrule and possibly even ruin the rest of the handle from the inside out by splitting the paint or causing it to peel.
There really isn't any reason to soak brushes while cleaning them, but if you must, please refer to this diagram:
If cleaning brushes or sanitizing them is a big concern for you, fret not! There are plenty of ways to successfully clean and de-germ them SAFELY.
1) Spot cleaning - This really should be done after every use to get all of the leftover pigment or product out of your brushes. Thankfully it doesn't take nearly as much time as deep cleaning! All you'll need is a few paper towels, your nasty, dirty brushes, and a spray bottle with some diluted brush cleaner in it. Simply spritz your bristles or the paper towel (or both if you're into that sort of thing), and gently wipe your brushes clean.
Quick tip: A general rule of thumb about spot cleaning brushes is to wipe them according to shape. Flat brushes should be wiped on the towel in and up-and-down motion, while circular brushes should be making little circles on the towel.
2) Deep cleaning - This should be done a few times a month to get everything out that the spot cleaning hadn't. You can use a liquid brush cleanser, or a solid (I prefer this method because it saves my hands from going raw and is also quicker). You'll need your nasty brushes, your cleanser, a sink, and a hand towel you don't really care about.
Run the water warm (NOT HOT), and keep your brushes always facing down from the spout. Clean your brushes based on shape either on the solid cleanser or on the palm of your hand with some liquid cleanser in it. Keep going until it runs clear and all of the cleanser is out of the bristles. Blot the brush on the hand towel to remove excess water and set them to dry either on their side, or suspended with the bristles facing the ground. NEVER dry them bristles up. Water + glue + wood = bad juju. We've been over this, I think.
And lastly, here is my video on how I spot clean, and two ways to deep clean your brushes and which products I recommend: