How To: Clean your make-up brushes

Nowadays we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to make-up brushes.. You don’t need to be a make-up artist to be able to be able to acquire a decent set of brushes.  And while I’m on the subject, I have to mention a fave (and not extortionate) brush collection in my kit – Samantha Chapman (of pixiwoo‘s)  Real Techniques, now available at some of the larger Boots.

So… when was the last time you properly cleaned your brushes?  Does the bristles resemble the hair of a wet dog, perhaps?  As you could imagine, dirty brushes will harbour bacteria, and why would you like to spread those nasties across your face again and again? Here are a few tips on how to care for your brushes.

Try to deep clean your brushes once a week, but quick clean it at least every 2-3 days. Eyeliner brushes should be cleaned after every single use.

Deep Clean

  • Wet your brushes, pour a little mild shampoo into your palm, gently swivel the brush around to soak up the shampoo.  Set this brush apart, and do this with all your brushes.
  • When all your brushes have been shampooed, start rinsing them under lukewarm running water, swiveling it in your palm again to get rid of the soap.  Make sure that ALL the soap has been rinsed out properly!  Do not tug at the bristles.
  • Gently squeeze the brushes with a paper towel to get rid of excess moisture, and shape the bristles with your fingers.  Try to taper the bristles so that they dry in their original shape, you don’t want them to be splayed when they dry, as this will eventually ruin the shape.
  • I like to dry my brushes overnight in an airing cupboard, but you could place them on a towel on a table.  I find it best to leave the bristles ‘overhanging’ the table, so that they could retain their shapes.
  • Do not dry your brushes upright – all the water would stay in the ferrule (the part of a paint brush that holds the hairs onto the handle) and this could loosen the glue holding the brush together.
  • You could also look at THIS VIDEO for other tips on how to dry your brushes.

(as a side note – if your brushes are extremely clogged, especially foundation brushes, use anti-bacterial dishwashing soap in the same way, then follow up with a shampoo cleanse.  This is not recommended for everyday use, as this could damage your brushes with continued use, but it is pretty effective. If this doesn’t clean it properly, it’s time to buy new brushes.  And get into a routine ASAP!)


Quick Clean (Spot Cleaning)

  • Use a conditioning brush cleanser.  I love Beauty So Clean, I find the spray quite handy when I’m on set, and it does its job pretty well.
  • Spray one or two spritzes on either side of the brush, and wipe the brush on a kitchen towel.  Remember to be gentle with your brushes!!
  • The cleaned brushes will dry within seconds, so you’re good to go.

You will soon find that with your brushes being cleaner, apart the hygienic benefits, your make-up will also apply better.  I hope that this has inspired a few of you to look after your brushes!

How do YOU take care of your brushes?

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4 thoughts on “How To: Clean your make-up brushes

  1. awesome!! so glad you’ve started these up again! i just bought some of the MAC brush cleaner but opened it and it hasnt got a pump boo. i’ll have to go buy one. any recommendations?

  2. Amy says:

    Thanks Elbie! It’s great to hear a recommendation from another MUA on the Pixiewoo brushes, I have a set and they are so soft and clean up really well. Thanks for the advise on the anti-bacterial wash, I didn’t realise this was harsh, so will use a mild shampoo instead.

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