Our makeup brushes are tools that we use every day and while most understand the severe consequences of not cleaning their brushes, our brushes still don’t get cleaned properly or as often as they should.
Brushes collect cosmetic particles as well as dead skin cells and oils over time. This creates the perfect living environment for bacteria build up on brushes. Without proper cleaning and maintenance the dirt can cause skin irritations and acne breakouts. Even storing used brushes with clean ones increases the risk of bacteria being transferred from one brush to the other.
To achieve desired makeup looks, we tend to spend a significant amount on quality brushes and like most investments we want the best return on them. Dirty brushes will not only interfere with the outcome of your makeup artistry but also shorten the life of your precious tools.
DIFFERENT BRUSH FIBERS
One of the most common cleaning errors is not taking into account that brushes have different fibers that require different cleaning methods. Using the wrong method can lead to fine-haired brushes breaking or coarse-bristled hairs getting painfully rough on the skin due to lack of conditioner being used in the cleaning process. Also different brushes require special attention so that their shape is maintained.
MAINTAIN BRUSH SHAPE
When creating highly precise looks like a cat-eye, you don’t want your tools working against you. If you scrub against the shape of the brush during cleaning, you can end up distorting the pattern of the fibers or damaging them altogether. The trick is to let the brush shape guide you. Domed or round brushes can be cleaned by swirling them, while flatter shapes should be dragged from side to side. Never stand damp brushes upright in a jar to dry. Unless you have a special brush stand that allows you to hang the brushes downwards, always lay brushes flat to prevent water dripping into the metal casing that holds the bristles. The glue that holds the bristles together can eventually deteriorate if too much water gets into the casing. Your brushes will then begin to shed and leave loose brush remnants on your face.
You have two options when cleaning your brushes: a quick-dry method or a more thorough wet wash. Both require drying brushes flat on a towel or hanging downwards away from direct sunlight. Avoid pouring boiling water over your brushes because it will not sterilize them, it will only ruin them especially if the handles are made of rubber or plastic.
This is a more thorough brush clean. Depending on the condition of your skin this is recommended on a weekly basis. Soft brushes can be swirled during the wash whilst synthetic brushes usually require a cleansing mat or towel to help pull out the oils and pigments. Any surface that has enough texture to grip into tough hairs will work. Gently wash brushes for about two minutes or more. Rinse until water is clear and shape them back into their original shape if disfiguration has occurred.
• Antibacterial Soap - the easiest way to clean your brushes. It removes ALL the makeup, bacteria, dirt and oil from sponges and brushes (even waterproof) effectively without drying out the bristles.
• Baby Shampoo –a less chemical wash that only washes out the residue of makeup. To kill germs or bacteria you can add a drop of any antibacterial agent like Tea Tree Oil.
QUICK DRY WASH
If you are time poor or need to quickly change your shadow color but only have one brush, a dry wash is a good temporary solution. While your brushes get sanitized and dry very quickly using this method they will still require a thorough deep clean every week for cleaner makeup looks.
• Med/Alcohol Wipes - antibacterial alcohol wipes or med wipes can be used to clean brushes. This will quickly disinfect the bristles and remove residual makeup.
• Brush Cleaner Spray - use a spray with botanical ingredients because your skin will love your for it.
WHEN TO CLEAN
Makeup artists must adhere to health regulations when applying makeup to clients and clean their brushes immediately after each makeover. At home, it's just as important to know how to be hygienic with your own brushes.