I hate cleaning brushes, it’s so boring, but dirty brushes gross me out, so to me, it’s a necessary evil.
Firstly, there is no ‘right’ way to clean makeup brushes, and the only ‘wrong’ way is to never do it. The technique I use is one I have developed over time in line with what I know about micro-organisms, makeup and dirt, as well as my theories, and of course, practice.
To start I have all of my grubby brushes in a cup holder all of their own.
I tend to do my foundation brushes first because they are always the dirtiest; any brush that is used solely for liquid products is automatically on that list (especially angled eye liners used for gel liner).
To aid in getting just the right amount of antibacterial washing up liquid on my brush, I first start by squirting a bit on a plate. I like to do this in thin lines but it really doesn’t matter.
For ‘wet product’ brushes: I run them under hot water, because I want to soften the product on the bristles. For other brushes, warm water is fine. It’s very important not to let the water go above the ferrule (the metal part that holds the bristles). When water goes above the ferrule it can cause the glue that binds the brush together to break down, drastically reducing the life of your makeup brushes.
I then scoop up some washing liquid onto my brush:
I swirl the wet, soapy brush in the palm of my hand. You can see that in doing so I make little channels for the water to run down – this makes it easy to see when it runs clear.
The bonuses of using my hand versus, say the plate is that, 1. It’s less messy, 2. It has more give and is less likely to damage my brushes. I also have a theory that the oils in my hand condition my natural hair brushes. You can of course use conditioner (I question the microbe content) or even a little olive oil, but I always found I use too much and my brushes would dry but remain greasy. Also, there is no need to condition synthetic brushes.
Side note: I have a mix of synthetic and natural hair brushes, but I had started to notice using alcohol alone to clean my brushes made the natural fibres brittle and the bristles would snap leaving little bits of hair on my face.
Once I am convinced the brush is clean, I’ll squeeze out any water.
Then to dry: I use a combination of things, firstly for my powder brushes and any brush that requires shaping, I use my Sigma Dry and Shape.
You can also let them on paper towel with a slight incline so the water cannot roll back into the brush. In this instance, I have put a cook book to use.
I then cover with more paper towel
Or you could use a brush guard like these:
They shape your brushes and dry them in a vertical position, making sure that no water creeps into the ferrule.
Once my brushes have dried I then spray them with a 70% alcohol solution- I use 70% as the 30% distilled water increases the ability to the solution to penetrate organisms and kill them, but 100% is fine if you can’t make/get 70% (incidentally, Isocol is a 70% alcohol solution, and readily available at most supermarkets).
This is the main ingredient in virtually every commercial brush cleaner. Any other ingredients will primarily be to condition your brushes, or make it smell more pleasant.
Once dry I then store my brushes either in my jar (straw holder), a brush roll such as this, my favourite one from Illamasqua
or in any form of pen holder, with a zip lock bag over the top. This particular one is an ice cream cup, I like the way it splays the brushes so I can pick them easier.
So there you have it, Lizzi’s guide to germ free makeup brushes. If you need more convincing about the importance of cleaning your brushes, CHECK THIS OUT.
How do you clean your brushes? In fact, do you clean them at all? Let me know in the comments below.