Cleaning Makeup Brushes
We know exactly what to do with paint brushes, partly because of the size and stench of them after they’ve completed their assigned tasks. Makeup brushes are another matter, and you probably don’t clean them half as much as you should. Dermatologists and cosmetologists advise that we should be cleansing our brushes on a regular basis, because bacteria can build up, which in turn may lead to breakouts. But it’s not as simple as that, and so here are some tips on how to do it in the right way, taking on board all the expert advice.
Dermatologists advise that you soak your tools weekly, in particular concealer brushes and foundation. This should prevent a buildup of product and will make your precious brushes less likely to harm your even more precious skin. When it comes to liner brushes and eye shadow, it can be bi-monthly. Every fiber of your brush needs to be free to do what it does best – evenly spread the makeup in such a way as to create a beautiful and natural finish. They can’t be as effective in doing this if there is any clogging or even the smallest scintilla of debris clinging on.
How To Clean?
Surprisingly, gentle soap with warm water works wonders on your brushes, especially if they are made from natural hair, although there are very many cleansers on the market. Some stylists believe in specific product which contains food-grade solvents which can gently dissolve power, liquid, and wax-based makeup. Others go for facial cleansers, because they are specifically designed to deal with the tender skin on your face. Kim Kardashian’s makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic, for example, is a huge supporter of these. Some have even gone for dishwashing liquids, claiming that their uniquely gently soap is the best thing for your brushes.
What Comes First?
To get your brushes looking and feeling as good as new, you need to use warm water to wet the bristles, dap a drop of cleanser or soap into your palm, rinse the bristles thoroughly, squeeze out any wetness fully (preferably with a clean micro-fiber towel), smooth out the brush to its original shape, then let it dry. Don’t let your brush dry on a towel in order to avoid mildew from forming.
In the middle of the wash, be sure to keep the base of the brush head (where it connects to the handle) free from soap and water. If you don’t then the glue which connects the bristles to the base could become unstable, and bristles could start to fall out. You should also try not to allow your brush to dry vertically with the bristles up, because this can cause water to leak into the ferrule (the piece that joins the bristles to the handle), which can lead to the same problem.
Time To Replace?
Over time your brushes are not getting as clean as they once were, after soaking? It is then that you might need to replace them. Three months is a rule of thumb, although this will vary depending on how much you use them. In terms of fluffier brushes used for powder, you can see when they are ready for a cleaning based on the product build-up in the bristles or at the base where the brushes meet (the ferrule). For synthetic brushes or brushes you can start to see how the shape of the brush is becoming a little wonky, the bristles starting to clump together. It is then time to replace.
Regular makeup sponges (the cheaper kind that come in a bulk bag) aren’t meant to be reused, and so should be thrown out after a single use. Microbial-resistant sponges, on the other hand, can be reused safely for three to four months. As with makeup brushes, clean at least once a week because the sponges can become filled with skin cells, and bacteria can overgrow, according to dermatologists.
The Mat Approach
For a collection of 12 or 15 pieces it can seem overwhelming to have to clean them all, and can take up to an hour in the bathroom; far from desirable. Using textured cleaning mitts and mats can help break up even the oldest makeup residue without getting your hands too dirty. Using a mat is slightly more efficient than rubbing soapy bristles through your fingertips since it’s divided into different sections with different textures, tailored to do a perfect job on a variety of tools, from fan brushes to sponges, all of which need different textures to get them clean. The mat also has suction cups on the back and so you don’t need to worry about clumsily dragging a brush into your sink.
The importance of cleaning your brushes can’t be overstated. After investing in decent make-up brushes, a good cleaning routine is the best insurance against premature demise; certain brushes can last for years! Cleaning your brushes is also essential for daily performance, because a poorly maintain brush can become less flexible and less able to take the product, thus reducing the effectiveness of the brush.
Your hygiene is also of paramount importance; the consequences of skipping your cleaning routine will quickly show up on your skin, undoing all of your hard work. A brush that hasn’t been well cleansed may well be harvesting bacteria that can cause skin problems and infections. You wouldn’t leave paint brushes uncleansed, or just keep the same toothbrush without washing or replacing it, so why should makeup brushes be any different.
You can also get the most value for money out of your cosmetic products, some of which cost a small fortune. With well-maintained brushes you’ll actually require less product and so will save money that way. It’s a win-win. Now’s the time to brush up on your brush preserving skills. Don’t allow your brush to become your worst enemy; allow it to do the job it was designed to do, so that your skin can reap the rewards of glowing, beautiful, healthy skin.