Learning 101

Makeup Brush Shedding 101

Makeup Brush Shedding 101

Here is a quick review  on  brush basics before we began.  All makeup brushes consist of three separate parts:


  1. The Handle
  2. The Ferrule (The Metallic ‘Choker Band’)
  3. The Bristles

When manufacturing a  brush it can  be  as simple as knotting or gluing bristles to the handle, and holding  them in place by slipping a tight metal ferrule over the bonded area between bristle and handle.   Brush styles are made by the shape of the  ferrule  placed at different heights on the handle. A narrow rectangle ferrule placed high over the bristles makes a dense paddle brush with limited  flexibility, like a typical eyeshadow brush. A round wide ferrule placed low over bristles makes a soft, fluffy brush with maximum  flexibility, like a blending brush or a powder brush.

Now there is a trade off with having a Big soft  fluffy  brush with lots of flexibility.  The trade of will be  of  shedding and bristle breakage.   A wide fluffy brush has less dense bristles with a wider contact area between the bristles and glue,  which means there’s more opportunity for bristles  to work themselves loose which cause the dreaded shedding  when you’re using it.   A big fluffy brush also has more motion movement in the bristles unlike  a densely packed short bristle brush – a typical blush brush has more back and forth movement at greater speeds than an eyeshadow brush, because of this  fast movement can cause natural bristle brushes to break along the hair shaft.

Now that you know what causes a brush sheds, let’s continue with  the Why’s and How’s of why your  makeup brushes  shed .


Are You Using A Brand New Brush?

  • Most brand new brushes are going to  shed hairs when you first get them.   Remember They’ve been packed away in plastic since they left the manufacture which means the brush hasn’t  been  bend or  flexed which will cause all loose hairs to  shed.   Think of it as being the equivalent of having your hair braided for a  long period of time –then you take take down the braids and start combing your hair, your hair will naturally shed away all loose and damaged hairs. You’re not going bald, and neither is your brand new brush!


  • When you purchase  a brand new brush, the bristles may be set with a light fixative glue. Simply  break this glue gently  by sweeping your brush back and forth on a clean dry towel or on the back side of your hand, then spritz with brush cleanser and gently sweep the brush once more back and forth on a dry towel  to remove away any glue.   If a brush sheds anywhere up to  fifty bristles while cleaning off the glue, this will be fine! that’s a normal amount of hairs to shed.   Remember: this is  just bristles that weren’t fixed in place properly by the manufacture, and it’s better for them to come loose on your  Pre- cleaning than while your putting on your makeup.


  •  Now if your brand new brush  starts shedding  bristles in big clumps or your brushes ferrule wiggles around , you then know that you have a malfunctioning brush.  My suggestion would be to return it immediately but first Google the name and manufacture of the brush to see if their are any online complaints regarding the brush. If you cant find any complaints regarding the brush you purchased you can chalk it up as a faulty brush that slipped by the inspector and simply exchange the brush.   If you find more than one (1) complaint online regarding the brand and manufacture of the brush you purchased ask for your money back and select another brush by another manufacture.   Don’t waist anymore money or time on a poorly made brush.

Does your brush shed bristles while washing it?

  • The first question is how many hairs shed?   A few bristles shedding here and there can be considered  normal.  Cleaning brushes involves stripping away all the oil and powder and other stuff  that’s required the brush to be cleaned in the first place, so a few hairs coming loose here and there can be sacrificed in order to have your brushes  receiving  the necessary cleaning that’s needed to prevent germs and break outs.


  • The next question is how are you washing your brushes?  Bad cleaning habits will put major stress on the brush bristles and glue bonding the brush together, over time, turn your brush into a shedding mess.  When cleaning your brushes never fully submerse them under water, or saturate the bristles all the way up to the ferrule this can cause rusting and harmful bacteria under the Ferule. When water gets under the ferrule it can weaken the glue and soften the knotting holding the brush bristles in place, leading to bristles coming loose.


  • Always use a gentle baby shampoo, never use hair conditioner (the silicon or oils in hair conditioner can weaken or destroy the glue inside your brush), rinse the bristles clean with cold water, and lay your brushes flat to gently dry overnight.


Are you using a Old brush?

  • Sometimes it can be a little hard getting rid of our ole trusty makeup brushes.  The glue and knotting can become dry and brittle because of the age of the brush, when it comes to wooden brush handles with time they can become warped, and natural hair bristles can wear away over time.   Regardless of how  careful you are with your brushes this will eventually happen and you will have to retire your trusty ole brush and seek another alternative . Just look at it as an opportunity to invest in some brand new brushes!


If you’re seriously concerned about the longevity of your makeup brushes and want something that doesn’t require care and gentle treatment, or you’re interested in a vegetarian/vegan alternative, then I recommend going to juice-beauty. These synthetic brushes have bristles that closely mimic natural hair fibres, and have a solid fused base to prevent any issues with glue breakage or loose bristles. They’re not a 100% identical replacement for natural hair brushes, but they’re pretty dang good.

With the right care a good quality natural hair makeup brush will always stay fluffy and fresh, and last well over ten years even with daily use. Look after your brushes and they’ll look after you