Great makeup brushes can really give your makeup a refined and polished look. But if those brushes are not clean, the finished look will be a lot less than that. Not to mention the potential for bacteria to build up in your bristles and be placed on your face. But how exactly do you clean your makeup brushes?
As a professional makeup artist, it's imperative that we clean and sanitise our brushes. But it is still important for your personal ones. Some people recommend baby shampoo, but I find it does not effectively remove liquid and cream products, it's just too gentle. There are products you can buy that are specifically for brushes, like Clean Brush Goat's Milk soap and Beauty Blender Cleanser, but I do love Dr Bronner's Pure Castile soap. It can be purchased in liquid or bar form from any health food shop, and easily removes all traces of makeup. It's also great for makeup sponges.
When washing my brushes, I like to wear a pair of ordinary dish washing gloves (ones that are kept out of the kitchen!) This protects my hands from the drying effects of soap and water, and the texture on the gloves cuts my cleaning time in half. This is very handy when washing 50 brushes!
I wet my brush in warm running water, apply a small amount of soap, lather on my textured glove, and rinse. Don't use water that is too hot as it may melt the glue that is holding the bristles in. Powder brushes will be clean in a few seconds, foundation brushes may need a second go. I squeeze out the excess water on a clean towel, lay the brush flat or on a slight angle with the bristles pointing down and leave to dry overnight. I love to use brush guards to help keep the shape of my brushes. They are a flexible mesh tube that hold the bristles in place to stop them splaying out.
In the morning a spray my brushes with brush cleaner to sanitise them. I like Parian Spirit and Scotty's Brush Cleaner, but you can also use Isocol (70% Isopropryl Alcohol).
I hope this helps to keep your brushes clean and in great condition. Great brushes should last at least 10 years if you look after them. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments!
Amy Kenny is a Melbourne based makeup artist and hairstylist working as a bridal makeup artist, commercial makeup artist, fashion makeup artist and corporate makeup artist in Melbourne and Victoria.