Washing makeup brushes may be something you overlook or ‘don’t do as often as you should’ (does anybody?) but it is extremely important, not only for preserving the quality of your brushes, but to protect your skin from all the bacteria that can cause bad skin and breakouts.
Over time your brushes will collect layers and layers of old makeup, along with the oils and dead cells from our skin… not something you should be rubbing all over your freshly washed and primed face.
Before I really ‘got into’ makeup I mainly used my fingers, but I had a blusher brush that I used almost daily. I had been using it for years and never had the inclination to clean it. I was lucky to have really clear skin, but I didn’t realise how matted and scratchy it had gotten until I finally cleaned it, it was like having a brand new brush.
Cleaning your brushes can seem very time consuming, and could result a 24 hours period of drying out, where your brushes are out of action, but it’s totally worth it.
You could schedule in doing eye brushes one week, face brushes the next, or if your like me try and do one huge batch every 2-3 weeks and get it out of the way.
There are so many products out there for brush cleaning, and it can be so daunting, also the requirements can change depending on the type of brush and your makeup routine. If you’re not sure where to start, I’ll share some of my tips and tricks to help you on your way.
Spot cleaning helps loads, I always have either a paper towel or a tissue on the side when I do my makeup, so after using each brush I swipe if over the tissue to get rid of any excess product on the bristles; this is especially useful if you have applied liquid foundation that otherwise gets very dry and cakey.
I also have a little brush spray, just a cheap one from Elf which I can spritz onto the brush to help remove whatever is on there. Another tip is to add some rubbing alcohol into the brush spray, and spritz it over all of your brushes after each use to disinfect between cleans.
When it comes to actually cleaning the brushes my favourite solution is half olive/canola oil and half antibacterial washing up liquid. The oil helps loosen the makeup from the bristles, whilst also conditioning them to be super soft. The washing up liquid kills germs and removes any grease leftover from the oil. Not only is this affordable and effective mixture, but something most people will already have at home!
I’ve created a short tutorial to show how I do this; I highly recommend a brush cleaning pad, but if you haven’t got one, swirling the brush on your palm will work or you can get creative with what you use.
All of my brushes are either synthetic or a mixture of synthetic and natural. Brushes that are completely natural require a bit more TLC; I would recommend researching cleaning routines specifically for natural brushes (I recommend Stephanie Nicole’s guide on YouTube ) or contacting the manufacturer and asking them for recommendations.
I have to stress; you should always point the bristles down, and let them dry either lying flay or prop the handle up a little; you do not want any water soaking up into the ferrule and loosening the glue holding the bristles in place.
Another point to make, which I don’t see stressed enough, is make sure you dry off and moisture from the brush handle and ferule itself to stop rusting, loss of colour or general wear of your brushes.
Once your brush is clean, you can gently squeeze any excess water out, but make sure you are not pulling on the bristles. I like to do this with a super absorbent microfibre towel to help speed up the drying process. You should also ‘re-shape’ the bristles and ensure they are not splayed out.
If you have invested in some good brushes, it can be quite scary smothering them in cleaning solutions and water, but be gentle, take the time and care, and you will extend the life of your brushes.
I’d love to hear your tips and tricks!
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