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Cleaning and Caring for Brushes

I’ve had so many people ask me lately how to properly clean & care for their makeup brushes that I thought I would do a post all about brush care. It is so important that you are cleaning your makeup brushes properly and on a regular basis. Dirty brushes can cause break outs, adverse skin reactions and even infections. I’ve listed some step by step tips below to help you know when and how to wash.

1. How often should I be washing my personal brushes?

As a makeup artist I obviously wash all of my brushes after each time they are used on a client. But I wash my own personal brushes after a few uses. Anything being used for a liquid or cream, like a foundation brush, I wash more frequently at once per week since liquids gather bacteria and too much buildup on a brush will effect the application of the product. The rest of my brushes that are used for powder are washed every 2 weeks minimum.

2. What should I be using to wash my brushes?

Any mild shampoo or liquid soap will do but my personal favourite at the moment is Dr.Bronners Castile Soap in Tea Tree Oil. I love it for a few reasons - It is a more natural gentle soap so I am not worried about what chemicals it leaves behind. It also has jojoba oil and olive oil to help condition my brushes and tea tree oil which is known as a natural antibacterial. It is also very concentrated so you use a very small amount each time. I also love The Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver. It is actually a brush cleaner for paint brushes but I will often use it if my brushes become stained with highly pigmented products and it takes the stains right out. In the past I have also used Neutrogena Build Up Removing Shampoo which is great for removing makeup from brushes that haven’t been washed quite as often as they should have. A baby shampoo is also a great option. I love the Honest Company Shampoo + Body Wash because I know the ingredients are gentle but it is still very effective at removing makeup.

3. How do I wash them?

Using warm water, wet only the bristles of your brush with the bristles always pointed downwards. If water makes its way into the ferrule (The part that holds the bristles onto the handle. It’s usually metal) it can loosen the glue and cause your brush to fall apart. Put a tiny dot of your cleaning solution of choice into your hand. Swish your brush gently around until it is free of all traces of makeup. If you go for a solid cleaner swish your brush around in the cleaning container until its picked up some of the product and then swish around in your hand. Rinse your brush in warm water until all traces of soap have gone. Gently wring out the water from the bristles and reshape. If you have a natural hair brush and it is feeling dry feel free to use a bit of hair conditioner to try to bring it back to life after you have rinsed the soap. If you have synthetic hair brushes it’s not needed.

4. I still have product left in my brush. How do I get it out?

On occasion I will not be able to get the pigment left behind from a product out of a brush or find it difficult to deep clean a more dense brush. My new favourite trick is using a silicone face brush. I picked mine up at shoppers for $6. It is an inexpensive alternative to the more expensive cleaning mats or gloves that are available. I still follow the steps for washing them above but I secure the brush between my fingers and put the cleaner onto the brush. It works so well to remove any stubborn product from your brush. I also find that lip products often stain or leave a waxy residue. This is when The Masters Brush Cleaner comes in handy.

5. Lay them flat to dry

I can not stress this one enough. It’s so important to make sure that your brushes are laying flat. You never want water to be able to enter the ferrule. This can make bristles fall out of the brush or loosen the ferrule completely off of the handle. Either way you are left with a broken brush. I like to leave mine overnight to make sure that they are 100% dry.

And that is all it takes! You will be on your way to extending the life of your brushes and ensuring that they bacteria free. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.

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