Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Tips for Keeping Your Makeup Brushes Clean

Tips for Keeping Your Makeup Brushes Clean!

It has certainly been a while since I have written a blog post. Like many of you, I am stuck at home and feeling overwhelmed by everything going on in the world.  I don't know why, but one of the few things that I find relaxing is cleaning my makeup brushes.  Over the years I have tried a number of cleaning solutions, methods and storage options for keeping my makeup brushes in pristine condition. 

Here are a few tips that work well for me and help me find a moment of peace in an otherwise insane world.

*All of the items in this post were purchased by me.

On to the tips.....
  • Tip #1: Separate dirty brushes. I always keep an empty cup on the side of my makeup table.  After I am done applying makeup, dirty brushes go in that cup away from my clean brushes.  I never contaminate my fresh brushes by mixing them in with dirty ones filled with product.
  • Tip #2: Different brushes may need different cleaning methods.  In general I try to follow the recommendation of the brush manufacturer for keeping my brushes clean.  For example, I have some more expensive, delicate brushes that are hand made.  With these types of brushes, I am more gentile with how I clean them.  I will often use a soft microfiber cloth and wipe in the direction of the bristles.  In general the way you use a brush on your face is the same motion you can use to clean it.
  • Tip #3: Sanitize with 70% alcohol.  I read so many articles telling people to use 99% alcohol to clean brushes, and this is just plain wrong.  If you use something stronger than 70% alcohol, it will evaporate before actually sanitizing anything.  If you use something less than 70%, you are likely not killing the bacteria and germs as intended.

  • Tip #4: Be mindful of the professional brush cleansers your choose.  As far as professional brush cleaners go, there are a number of wonderful options on the market.  However, I personally prefer to use clear brush cleaner because I have found certain colored solutions can leave an unusual blue cast on white bristled brushes.  When I look at some of my more special brushes from Rae Morris or Westman Atelier the thought of their snow white bristles staining with blue antiseptic does not make me happy. That being said, I have used something like Cinema Secrets (a blue colored solution) to clean my darker bristled brushes.  Cinema Secrets does a thorough job and dries very quickly which is why it is an industry favorite.  There are a number of similar products on the market that are completely clear in color as well. 

  • Tip #5: Dry brushes upside down or on a flat surface. It doesn't matter if you use a shampoo, professional grade cleaner, and/or alcohol to clean your brushes if you don't dry them properly.  If you place a brush handle side down right back into a brush cup after cleaning, some of the moisture may seep down into the ferrule loosening the glue that holds the bristles together. There are a number of options for brush drying on the market including brush trees (such as my old favorite Benjabelle), the Sigma Dry 'n Shape, and even newer styles that clip to the side of a counter or look like a file bin you might find in the office. You don't really need any of these items.  Simply lay your freshly cleaned brushes flat on a towel until they are completely dry.  I recently purchased the Sigma Dry 'n Shape because I often clean a large number of brushes at once.  I find this tower is a practical way to dry a large number of face and eye brushes at once time without taking up much counter space.  Plus once brushes are dry, it doubles as a cute desktop storage display. I still own the original version of this product and this new version is quite an improvement! 

The above photo is only one half of my complete Sigma Dry 'n Shape Tower.  The full tower holds over 90 brushes!  Plus, as the name suggests, has bands that help to shape the brush heads as they dry.

  • Tip #6: Proper storage will keep your brushes free from dust.  I know a lot of people like to store brushes in a cup.  This is fine if you want to keep  a few of your daily brushes handy.  When you have a large number of brushes, it is best to store them in a way that will protect them from dust.  There are many custom acrylic brush holders on the market.  Many artists I know prefer keeping makeup brushes in a fabric or faux leather brush roll.  I personally keep my brushes in drawers fitted with bamboo dividers.  Some of my brushes are stored in brush cups with a screw on lid that makes for easy portability.  Keeping brushes in a box with some sort of fabric or tissue paper underneath is also a good option.  Whatever method you opt for, I suggest rotating your brushes often.  After all they are meant to be used!

This is a picture of the inside of one of my Alex drawers from Ikea.  I have a bamboo organizer with adjustable dividers in place and have my brushes organized by brush type.  I store my more expensive brushes in a similar manner, but tend to keep them in a single layer.  Some worry that putting brushes in a drawer can flatten out or misshape the bristles.  For this reason, I rotate an use my brushes often.  There are some limited edition brushes that I keep in the boxes they came in.  I have also seen some more creative solutions online such as using a glasses case, jewelry box, or even a shoe box lined with tissue paper.

I do not recommend just throwing brushes in a drawer without some type of protection underneath.  The drawer dividers I use are also lined with contact paper and a clear coating so I can easily wipe them clean. 

I personally clean brushes after every single use.  At the very least, clean your brushes weekly otherwise you are simply brushing bacteria onto your face. Remember, clean brushes with a solution that is right for you.  I know some makeup artists who swear by dish cleaning liquid.  If you are a professional makeup artist be sure to sanitize your brushes as well. Be gentle, and always squeeze out any excess water before laying flat to dry.  If using a cloth, be sure to use something lint-free such as a microfiber cloth. Only when your brushes are completely dry should you put them back in their dust-free storage area of your choosing. 

*I only own and use brushes made with synthetic bristles.  Synthetic bristles do not need to be conditioned.  They are not only more hygienic than natural hair bristles, but they are also hypoallergenic and kinder to our furry friends.

What do you use to clean your brushes?  How do you store your tools?  Please share your favorite makeup brush cleaning tips in the comments below!