Cleaning your makeup brushes is one of those tiresome tasks that you never seem to get round to doing. However, not washing your makeup brushes can cause a build-up of bacteria, oil, dirt and excess product to spread between your tools and face, leading to numerous skin issues – such as blemishes, clogged pores and even skin reactions.
Makeup artist Florrie White describes her brushes as “extensions of her fingers” and is diligent about washing her tools. “All of my used brushes are washed after every shoot, and some favourites are even washed during the shoot so they are clean for retouches,” she says.
So, what is the best way to keep your brushes clean and hygienic? Here, we take you through the best way to deep clean your makeup brushes, step-by-step, and the handy products that we swear by – so you have no more excuses for using dirty tools…
The GHI’s guide for cleaning makeup brushes
- Wet the fibres of your makeup brush with warm water. Try to ensure that your brush is facing downwards, so the glue at the base doesn’t become impacted.
- Gently cleanse your brush using your chosen cleaning product and allow it to lather.
- To make sure you get a deep clean, swirl the brush around the palm of your hand. For an even more thorough session, try a specialised brush-cleaning glove or pad. Made of soft silicone with small raised bumps, these tools really help to loosen the solidified make-up on your brushes.
- Using warm water, rinse the cleansing product out of your brushes until the water runs clear.
- Once finished, gently squeeze out any excess water and use your fingers to restructure the bristles into their original shape.
- According to Florrie, leaving your brushes to dry upright isn’t the best move. ‘Lay your brushes on a flat surface, as opposed to standing up in a jar, as the moisture can run down the handles. This will loosen the glue around the joint where the hair is bound to the handle (also known as the ferrule) eventually leading to fibre fall-out.
- Today, you can even find specialised stands that allow you to dry your brushes upside down, ensuring they dry easily and maintain their original shape for years to come.
For a deep rinse
Sometimes, your brushes might be in need of some extra love.
For a deep clean, we like Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Liquid Soap. Organic and free from preservatives, it’s the ideal product for a spot of brush cleaning. The gentle formula lathers up easily, allowing you to deep clean and get all the dirt and grime off your fibres.
You could also go back to basics and use baby shampoo for a really deep cleanse, as it’s gentle enough not to damage the bristles.
For soft bristles
Virgin or unrefined coconut oil is ideal for conditioning your brush and keeping the fibres extra soft without using any harmful ingredients. Try Vita Coco Coconut Oil.
Coconut oil has some other advantages too. It has anti-bacterial properties so will help to rid your brushes of any unfriendly bacteria. It can even be used on hair, so any left over can be slathered on as a nourishing mask.
With makeup sponges rising in popularity, it’s vital to keep them as clean as your brushes to prevent bacteria build-up.
Liquid cleansers can be tricky, as too much product can get into the sponge and leave it hard after drying. To keep sponges soft, we like the BeautyBlender Pure Solid Cleanser. It comes with a silicone pad to allow for an extra-deep cleanse, and the packaging makes it ideal for travel.
Here are some other tips on how to clean a beauty blender.
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