Brush cleaning, the most loathed of all beauty tasks. I want to play with my brushes, not spend time cleaning them! But actually it’s quite important to do some regular maintenance on your brushes, to clean any bacteria that has built up and keep them functioning at their best. Ever feel like your brush just isn’t working as well as it used to? That’s because there’s a lot of product build-up in it, and it’s time for a wash.
I use three different methods to clean my brushes, and this is almost a cycle, starting from the quickest through to the heavy duty.
This isn’t about actually cleaning the brush so much as removing product from the fibres so that it’s almost like new. I use this for my eyeshadow brushes, because after a few days they can get pretty dark with a build-up of eyeshadow. I keep a micro fibre cloth beside my vanity, and I just swirl the brush around on the cloth to remove the excess eyeshadow. Then I’ve got an “almost” blank canvas and I can use the same brushes again on different eyeshadows without mixing colours. Note that this only works for powder build-up, not cream or liquid. I do this a few times a week as needed.
This is another fairly quick method of cleaning your brushes, and unlike the cloth, it actually does some cleaning, not just powder removal. Tons of brands sell brush cleaner in spray form; right now I’m using Sephora’s Daily Makeup Brush Cleaner. I use this maybe once a week, sometimes less (woops). It’s super easy – just spray your brush enough to get all the bristles saturated, and wipe the brush against a paper towel or lint-free cloth until all the built-up product is gone. You’ll know because colour will stop coming out of the brush. The formulas are generally pretty heavily alcohol-based, meaning the brushes will dry super quickly.
Now for the big guns. Every few weeks, you should do a thorough wash of your brushes to truly clean out all the build of product and bacteria. You can buy brush shampoo from places like Sephora, but I actually just use baby shampoo, because it’s ultra gentle and cheap. Pour some of your shampoo into a small dish, dip your dirty brush in, wet it, and swirl the brush around in your palm until all traces of makeup and shampoo are gone. This will happen fairly quickly for smaller eye brushes, but can take a few minutes for foundation brushes that are always used to apply liquid products. Keep repeating the process of dipping in shampoo and swirling around under running water until the brush is all clean. Be careful to keep all the water at the top end of the brush where all the bristles are, not at the base of the bristles where they connect to the handle, because that’s where the glue is that keeps the brush together, and we don’t want to start weakening the glue. When you’re done, leave the brushes to dry either upside down if you have a stand, or on a flat surface. The drawback of this method? You need to plan when you’re going to do it, because it takes quite a few hours for the brushes to fully dry, and you don’t want to have to need to use them when they’re still wet!
Just like getting into a bed with freshly washed sheets, isn’t it nice to have sparkly clean makeup brushes?