Anyone who has ever really looked into makeup techniques knows the first place to start is to invest in good brushes. Without even changing a single other thing about your routine/products this will instantly transform your look from amateur to pro. While, there are great options out there that don't break the bank (e.g. Sonia Kashuk brushes from Target) to ridiculously high priced brushes (e.g. anything Chanel), they all share one thing in common; the better you take care of them, the longer they last.
There are 2 things you should always be doing to clean your brushes.
1. First, you should be cleaning your brushes daily. The second you apply brushes to your skin they instantly pick up any bacteria, dirt, oil etc. that is already on your skin...gross. This is why it's incredibly important to clean your brushes after every use. Yes, you heard me right, after EVERY use. Such a pain, I know. Now for this, you don't have to go all out crazy, but you should at the very least invest in a spray or cleanser, such as MAC's Brush Cleanser or Sephora's Daily Brush Cleaner or something that will make cleaning them after use a breeze. Both of these can be applied either directly onto the brush or onto a tissue/cotton ball to remove bacteria and any remaining makeup still on the brush.
If you're not willing to break the bank on higher end daily cleanser's, almost every company offers them. Elf has a spray that's only $3 (I've never used it myself so I can't speak to the quality of it) but I would imagine there are a few main ingredients that every brand sticks to so it's probably decent.
When I'm in a pinch I like to use either makeup remover wipes or even eye makeup remover to at least get rid of any remaining color or bacteria that's on the brushes. This is especially useful when you realize that you've just used up the last of your spray and you don't have time to deep clean your brushes!
2. Now the second, and arguably more important step to making brushes last is by deep cleansing them. This can be done in a multitude of ways. The first, and most obvious way is by investing in a brush cleansing shampoo. Bobbi Brown makes one, Sephora makes one, most cosmetics companies make one. Essentially, they're extra hydrating, amped up baby shampoos. They're nice to use, but definitely not necessary.
My personal choice for when I'm deep cleansing my brushes is to use Johnson's Baby Shampoo. This product is super gentle, has very few chemicals and has just the right amount of anti-bacterial products to really give your brushes a good, deep cleansing. What I'll do is swirl the brush around in the shampoo for a minute, wipe it around a little in my hand to get off all the dirt/makeup and then let it sit in warm water for about 5 minutes or so (make sure the handles are not submerged in the water) before rinsing it off by swirling it again in my hand under cold water and reshaping it to dry while blotting any excess water off with a paper towel. It's important that you either hang the brushes upside down or lie them flat on their side so they keep their original shape. If you stand them up the water will drip down, ruining the handles and disfiguring the shape of the brushes.
If you apply makeup daily it's important you deep clean your brushes at minimum once a week and make sure you're cleaning them off daily. I mean, if you're going to spend $30 on a brush, do you really want it to wear out because you were too lazy to wash it?
What do you guys think? Any home remedies of your own you've tried?