Tuesday, 23 April 2013

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes...

Why clean your makeup brushes?

Makeup brushes, over time, will get clogged up with old makeup, dead skin cells, oil, bacteria and got knows what else, so it is important that they get a good clean every once in a while...

I probably clean my personal makeup brushes (the ones that I only use on myself) about every 2 weeks, depending on the brush, my concealer and foundation brush get washed more often because they are the most likely to get riddled with nasty bacteria. Whereas, my powder brushes probably get washed less often! 

I guess it is personal preference as to how often you wash your makeup brushes... But I would suggest that you wash them quite often in the interest of hygiene, particularly if you suffer from acne or frequent break outs, as you are effectively spreading the bacteria around your face every time you use your brushes! 

Obviously, I wash my professional brushes after every use as I use them on lots of different people and it would be extremely unhygienic to cross contaminate, but I admit that I do not show the same effort with my personal makeup brushes, I should probably wash them more frequently than I do... But saying that, if I have had a break out of spots, I will wash any brushes that have come into contact with the area, after every couple of uses.

Moving on... There are 3 ways which I clean my makeup brushes, depending on the type of brush and how fast I need to clean them... 'alcohol cleaning' (Isopropanol or Acetone), 'spot cleaning' (using a brush cleaning solution) and the good old fashion method of soap and water.

Alcohol cleaning... This is my favourite and most used method...
I use 99% Isopropanol Alcohol which I buy off Ebay, but I think most household stores will stock it, if not acetone/surgical spirit also works well. 1 litre usually costs roughly £10 and it lasts ages! 

Benefits... Disinfects - kills any bacteria that might be lurking on your brushes, Timesaver - the alcohol evaporates a lot faster than water so smaller brushes will be dry within minutes and larger brushes within 20 mins or so, Easy removal - the alcohol breaks down even the most stubborn of makeup so the brushes are clean within seconds, and it doesn't leave any residue.

Disadvantages... If used too often on natural haired brushes it can dry them out (I mostly use synthetic haired brushes so I don't have this problem), difficult for cleaning large brushes, such as a powder brush, as the hairs soak up all the alcohol (I use a different method for cleaning my powder brushes)

How to... 

You will need a pot or tub to put the IPA into, I use an empty body butter tub. Pour the  IPA into the tub so that it is roughly about 1 inch deep.

You will need to have some tissues or cotton pads handy, to wipe the brushes on after...

All you need to do is dip the brush into the alcohol and swirl it around for a couple of seconds, to loosen the makeup, then push/wipe any excess liquid out of the brush using the side of the pot (you can repeat this method if the brush still looks dirty). 

Next take a folded tissue and wipe of the excess product and alcohol with a backward then forwards movement. I then like to do a swirling circular motion as this seems to be the most effective method for removing all of the product. I then leave them to dry on a towel.

I always try to clean the cleanest looking brushes first to prevent the IPA from getting too mucky, for example, I will always do my eyeliner brush last as I do not want to get black on the rest of my makeup brushes. But, you can always pour out your IPA and start a fresh if it starts to get too dirty.

Spot cleaning... I use this method when I am in a rush and quickly need to clean a brush, for example, if I am out on a job and need to use a brush on multiple people.
I use MAC Brush Cleaner for doing this, the only problem with this process is that it only removes the surface product and doesn't remove the makeup from deep in the hairs of the brush, that is why I only use it as a quick fix.

How to... 

Take your brush cleaning solution pour it onto a tissue then swirl your brush around until you are happy that most of the makeup has been removed, then leave to dry for a short while... Obviously this does not work great for larger brushes, but as I said previously it is more of a quick fix.

You can also use the brush cleaning solution in the same way as 'alcohol cleaning' (above) or with water, in place of soap, using the 
method below... So it is quite a versatile product.

Cleaning with soap/shampoo and water... This is the oldest and probably the most widely used method to clean your brushes... You can use any type of soap/shampoo really, but preferably something gentle like baby shampoo, brush cleaning solution or an antibacterial hand wash, as harsh soaps will dry out the bristles.
I always use this method for my larger brushes as I find that it cleans them more throughly than the other ways.

Benefits... Throughly removes all traces of makeup from your brushes, If you use an antibacterial hand wash to wash them with it will also disinfect them, you can shape the bristles while wet, if they have gone too 'fluffy', or use brush guards to keep the bristles held together whilst they dry.

Disadvantages... It takes a long time for the brushes to dry, especially large brushes which may need leaving all day/ night to dry completely, time consuming to clean, each brush has to be individually dipped in water, washed with soap, then rinsed, shaped and put out somewhere to dry - this can be a very long laborious task and you end up with shrivelled/wrinkly hands in the end!! If water goes up past the bristles onto the ferrule (metal bit) and handle, this can loosen the glue causing the brush to come apart.

How to...

All you need is water, preferably at the sink or in a bowl, and a gentle soap (I like to use an antibacterial moisturising hand wash/soap).

Firstly wet the bristles, making sure that you don't get water on to the ferrule or handle! 

Next put a 10p sized amount of soap/ shampoo onto your hand (more or less depending on the brush size) and swirl your brush around in it until it forms a lather.

You can also use a sponge if you find this easier, just use the same method, put the soap/shampoo onto a wet sponge and swirl the brush around until it forms a lather.

Then throughly rinse all of the soap out of the brush. You may need to repeat the process if the brush still rinses out dirty water.

Sometimes makeup products, for example oil based, can be particularly difficult to remove... In this case I use washing up liquid as this emulsifies the oil.

Finally squeeze out the excess water and 'shape' the brush so that it doesn't dry fluffy and misshapen. And put to dry on a towel somewhere overnight.

Personally, I do not like to use conditioner or oils on my brushes as I think that this makes them too soft and 'slippy' as they leave a residue on the bristles.

Anyway... Sorry this was a bit long winded but I hope that it was useful for someone :)

A x


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