Let me ask you an honest, and very personal question.. When is the last time you washed your brushes?
I realize this is something we often overlook. I’ll be honest with you. I don’t wash my personal brushes often. Not nearly as often as I should. Now, for my work brushes- they’re washed after every use.
Does that mean you should wash your brushes after every use? Well.. I guess in a perfect world, yes-ish. However- washing your brushes after every use can cause the brush to wear down, shortening its lifespan. Boo.
Since the worlds not perfect, and we don’t have unlimited funds set aside for our brushes. What exactly do we do now?
I’ll tell ya! Depending on how often you use your brushes- washing your brushes at least once a week should be enough. If you don’t use them every day you could go a bit longer. Once a week doesn’t sound too terrible does it?
I mean, lets think of it this way. You’re constantly rubbing your face with the same tool, wiping across oil, sweat, bacteria, and dead skin cells. Then your brush sits on your bathroom counter, in your makeup bag, or whatever- collecting more bacteria- only to go through the same routine the very next day. (Not counting those of you who touch up multiple times a day!)
I’ve heard people say once a month is fine- but I really, REALLY have to disagree with this. I’m no brush expert, but you’re only cross contaminating everything you touch with that brush. Think about everything you touch with it, including your makeup. I’d rather clean off as much as I can once a week, rather than once a month. This will also help keep break-outs at bay. See light at the end of the tunnel. Have I guilted you into washing your brushes more often now? Wait till you hear what I have to say about wax pots! Ahh.. for another day. One horror story at a time.
Okay. So down to the nitty gritty. Literally. Lets get those gritty brushes clean.
So, what do I use? Brace yourself. Shampoo. Dog shampoo to be exact. I kid you not. Don’t make that face at me. It’s not like I’m using used dog shampoo. This is strictly un-doggy touched shampoo. Seriously. Come over the my house and see for yourself how filthy my dogs are.
So really, I get a conditioning, sensitive skin shampoo. Why you ask? Because it’s meant to clean hair. It’s a great cleaner, and also super gentle on my brushes. And some of my brushes are not synthetic.
I also use MAC’s brush cleaner as well but you do have to use quite a bit to get brushes clean. And I clean my work brushes after every use- so not as cost effective for me. However- this is great for shadow brushes. I just pour a little in a cup, and swish the brushes around. Being sure not to submerge the metal part and then rinse.
I will say that I also use DAWN dish soap on my lipstick and eye liner brushes with alcohol as well just so that I can make sure they get super clean. Those two brushes can spread the worst of things so they need to be carefully sanitized. Also as everyone knows (and the cute little duckies and otters can testify) DAWN cuts grease. Lipstick and gloss are hard to get out of the brushes and nothing works better than good o’l fashioned DAWN!
How do I clean? When washing your brushes PLEASE be sure to NEVER tip the bristles/hairs up, and never submerge them in liquids past the metal band. This is where the glue is that holds those precious hairs together. Constant moisture+glue=bad times. I promise you this.
I usually wash a couple of the same brushes at a time. So eye shadow brushes with eye shadow brushes, usually 5 or so at a time. Lip brushes all together, liner brushes all together, and face brushes as well. But NEVER mixed. Nothing causes a bigger party foul than getting lipstick on a blending brush. Washing it out is a nightmare. So, I run the brush hairs under the faucet quickly dampening them. Again- hairs/bristles facing down. Then I squeeze a pea size of soap onto the palm of my hand. I rub the brushes onto the soap and swirl in circles a bit, rinse a little, and repeat if necessary. Which usually isn’t for the brushes used on powder products. I usually have to wash the foundation brushes several times to get the tips white again.
Now I rinse the brushes with hot water- you can do warm, until all soap is gone. All while swirling in my palm, again avoiding getting the metal and handle wet. Lightly squeeze excess water out. And shape the brushes back to the their natural shape and lay on paper towels or a thin towel to dry. Why a thin towel? Well a fluffy towel has those fluffy fibers that would push on the hairs of the brush causing them to dry flatter on one side than the other.
I like to let them dry over-night. So for at least 8-10 hours. And there you go. Clean. Dry. Pretty brushes!