When I think about makeup and beauty, the first thing that springs to mind is lots of pretty colours, shimmery eyeshadows and lipsticks, and made-up faces that look so good, they could kill. In fact, I’ll think about everything from celebrity makeup looks that I’ve enjoyed in the past to the last pleasant conversation I had with a makeup artist in Sephora before I’ll remember the most important part: the brushes! Brushes are (somehow) very overlooked in the realm of beauty, and I don’t know why. I know that I, personally, have struggled with choosing what brushes to buy or if I should order a whole set from one brand versus another, so why don’t I pay more attention to them? I think I’ve cracked it; it’s easy to get caught up in the colourful, shimmery, somewhat magical world of makeup, but sometimes, you need to give credit where it is due. I mean, think about it, where would half of the looks we create be without at least a little something to help us out? I’ll tell you where, nowhere. Without at least one tool, whether it be a brush, sponge or spoolie, most of us would not walk out of our door to welcome eyes, no way. Actually, we’d be the next “big thing” – our faces would soon become an internet meme. #yikes
Today, I’m going to (hopefully) prevent that by going back to basics. I’m here to share exactly how to care for those brushes that you may or may not have put so much time, attention and money into awhile back but then totally forgot about and/or undervalued them, because they deserve some love, too! 😉 🙂
The Spot Clean
I think we can all agree that brush cleaning is not a fun or exciting task, especially as your brush collection grows, but this is where spot cleaning can come in really handy. Popular with makeup artists, spot cleaning is basically a fancy term for what I like to call the “lazy girl clean.” It is simple, takes no time and, with the use of a specially formulated brush cleanser (which you can pick up at the drugstore or higher-end makeup stores), offers the ability to use a newly clean brush right away. This is a great option if you’re constantly on-the-go, in a rush or creating a more complex look in which you need to use plenty of colours or shades. While I didn’t originally think that this was important, it really is, as keeping your brushes as clean as possible can prevent breakouts and smudgy, muddy makeup. Furthermore, spot cleaning can come in handy when you have a small amount of brushes that you use regularly and don’t have the time to thoroughly clean them often, as a good and quick spot clean will do the trick to space out deeper cleans.
Brush cleansers come at various prices, colours and techniques (some bottles have a nozzle, some have a sprayhead, some have a pump, etc.), but it doesn’t make a difference. You can use any brand’s brush cleanser, and owning a high-end brand’s (read: more expensive) cleanser doesn’t do anything better for your brushes (despite what you may hear or read). Clean is clean is clean! Something important to add, though, is, be sure to ask if a cleanser is appropriate for spot cleaning before you buy it! One of my friends in university bought what she thought was a brush cleanser in the US when she was on a trip and forgot to bring her own, and it ended up ruining her brushes (despite saying brush cleanser on the bottle, it apparently was meant for hairbrushes, not makeup brushes… :S I’m still confused about that one!). Always ask, it could save you some tears! 🙂
What You’ll Need
Brush Cleanser of any kind (I’m using MAC’s Brush Cleanser [$18 CAD for 235 ml], but as aforementioned, it doesn’t matter, so use whichever one you like!)
1. Lay out the washcloth onto a hard, clean surface (I like counters or vanities, it’s easier to clean this way) & pour out a little brush cleanser. Start with small amounts and add more as you need it, you don’t want to waste it!
2. Press brush into the wet washcloth.
3. Rub back and forth, applying some pressure, as you turn the brush clockwise to reach all areas.
4. Reshape the brush.
5. Repeat if necessary.
Ta-da! Clean brushes! Most of my spot cleaning happens when I’m actually applying my makeup and notice how dirty a brush I want to use is, so I’ll give it a minute or so to dry and then proceed (yup, that’s the glory of brush cleansers formulated for spot cleaning, your brushes will dry extra fast!). However, if I’m cleaning my most used brushes after makeup application or if I’m not in a hurry, I’ll lay them out to dry on a clean, dry towel for about an hour so that they can dry properly.
I’m going to also demonstrate how the process works for brush cleansers with a sprayhead, only because though it cleans exactly as any other brush cleanser would, it does give you a couple of options as to how you go about it.
What You’ll Need
Brush Cleanser of any kind (I’m using Quo’s Brush Cleanser [$11 CAD for 175 ml], but as aforementioned, it doesn’t matter, so use whichever one you like!)
1a. Lay out the washcloth onto a hard, clean surface (I like counters or vanities, it’s easier to clean this way) & spray brush cleanser onto washcloth. Start with small amounts and add more as you need it, you don’t want to waste it!
1b. spray cleanser directly onto the dirty brush.
2. Press brush into the wet washcloth, rubbing it back and forth, applying some pressure, as you turn the brush clockwise to reach all areas.
4. Reshape the brush and lay flat to dry.
5. Repeat if necessary (not pictured).
The Deep Clean
The term “deep cleaning” refers to exactly what it sounds like it would, getting all of the dirt, bacteria and makeup that builds up in our brushes out. It takes more time than spot cleaning and more resources, but it also cleans better than anything else. That being said, fresh, clean brushes are honestly one of the best things on the planet to use; they are soft and apply makeup with ease, but man, I wish someone would invent a makeup brush cleaner (just like a dishwasher!) sometime soon! The cleaning process is far from hard and, it can even become an almost fun (I did say almost) experience once you get into the groove (I usually use this time to catch up on YouTube videos or listen to some music to keep things light), but it’s getting started! Staring at a pile of dirty brushes, small or large, is one of the most demoralizing things on the planet (in my humble opinion). Alas, it must be done, so let me show you exactly how I do it.
Though you can technically use any kind of cleaning agent that is safe for hair on makeup brushes, I’ve always used baby shampoo to clean mine, for a few reasons. Firstly, I have super sensitive skin and fear that one day I’ll be lazy (ha, one day…how ’bout erryday) and won’t quite get all of the residue out of the brush in the rinsing process. When I go to put a makeup brush on my face, I don’t want to have any kind of reaction on my skin after the fact, so using gentle baby shampoo puts my mind at ease (and so far, knock on wood, no bad skin reactions, YAY!). Secondly, it’s cheap and they sell huge bottles of the stuff at every drugstore I’ve ever been to, so I don’t have to constantly restock or fear that they’ll suddenly discontinue it. Finally, my brushes are my babies, I don’t want any harm to come to them. I’ve heard you can use Dove hand wash or shampoo for colour-treated hair on makeup brushes (rumour has it it’s not as harsh as regular shampoo), but I’ll pass. I want my brushes to be super soft and clean when I’m finished, not shedding, falling apart or worse, stained. No, thank you.
What You’ll Need
A small bowl, jar or basin
Shampoo or cleanser (I’m using Johnson’s Baby Shampoo [$6.49 CAD for 592 ml], but as aforementioned, you can use whatever you like!)
Small towel or washcloth
1. Pour a moderate amount (about a quarter-sized, or a bit more if you have plenty of brushes to clean) of shampoo/cleanser into a clean, dry jar.
2. Fill it with warm water.
3. Swirl the first dirty brush in the water.
4. Lather it on your hands until all of the makeup has washed away. Be as meticulous as you can, really getting all of the dirt and makeup off of the brush.
5. Holding the brush downwards, rinse the brush under a lukewarm water stream. If the water under the brush runs clear, your brush is clean. If you can see colour in the water, return to step 3 and wash again.
6. When the brush has been thoroughly rinsed, reshape your brush (crucial step, if you don’t reshape the brush, it will dry out of place and might result in excessive shedding when trying to reset it dry), lay it on the towel or washcloth to dry for a minimum of 6-8 hours. I leave my dense brushes a little off the edge so that all of the brush’s bristles can be equally exposed & it will dry a little faster, but it’ll dry regardless. Oh, and never, ever store your brushes upright directly after cleaning, water can seep down into the ferrules and loosen the glue and cause damage. Just thought you should know! 🙂
Yay! You did it! You cleaned your brushes, so now when you go to apply your makeup, it’ll go on like a wonder. Or, you could just sit and stare at your nice, clean brushes on your vanity, avoiding using them because you don’t want to have to clean them again. No judgement here, I completely understand! 😉
The Other Clean
So, you’ve put in the time and effort and you’ve got clean brushes, which is fantastic, but don’t forget about the others! Important makeup tools like eyelash curlers or reusable spoolies need to be cleaned, too! I use my eyelash curler on both bare and mascara-laden lashes everyday (yes, I know, curling your lashes after applying mascara is bad, but how else am I going to get the sky-high lash look I’m trying to achieve!?) and quite frankly, I cannot stand to look at it after awhile, with all it’s black gunge and what not just…sitting there. *shudder* I do clean it everyday with a quick wipe of a tissue but it’s not the same as properly cleaning it. It’s a little step that I add to the routine on brush cleaning day that takes little to no time whatsoever but makes me so happy; trust me when I say ladies, looking at a lash curler that looks fresh and clean makes a world of difference as you bring it up to your eyes!
When cleaning my eyelash curler, I like to use MAC’s Cleanse Off Oil, because I hate using it for any other purpose (in other words, it doesn’t float my boat to take off my makeup), but I know that you can use coconut or olive oil and it will clean exactly the same. I just love the brilliant shine that this method in particular gives my lash curler, too, it’s like it’s brand spankin’ new!
What You’ll Need
Any kind of oil (I’m using a travel size of MAC’s Cleanse Off Oil [$12 CAD for 30 ml], but use whatever you have on hand!)
A small towel or washcloth
Dirty eyelash curler, plastic spoolie, eyelash comb, etc.
1. Put a very small amount of oil on the beauty tool.
2. Using your fingers, massage it into the area.
3. Wet the washcloth or small towel under the tap.
4. Wring out any excess water.
5. Wipe the beauty tool clean & lay out to dry, if necessary.
Yahoo, a shiny eyelash curler that looks like new! This is a handy trick that I’ve started to rely on and it hasn’t failed me yet, so of course I had to share it with you! I love this for when I need to take any photos of my eyelash curler for the blog (don’t laugh, it happens :P) or for when I just want to give it a good ol’ scrub. I absolutely LOVE how shiny it gets by cleaning it with oil, and though I’ve attempted to clean it with rubbing alcohol and just plain water before, I think that the oil is by far the easiest and delivers the best results.
There you have it, clean makeup brushes and tools that are as lovely to look at (or is that just me…heheh, awkward!) as they are to apply your go-to products. As I said, applying makeup with a clean brush can totally change the game, and it’s something that you honestly have to try to believe. Taking good care of your brushes also does wonders for their overall quality and how long they will keep in your collection, and when you pay the prices that the market currently demands, you want them to last you at least a good 15 years! The good news is, with these tips and tricks, they can! 🙂
I hope you enjoyed that mega-long post (I’m sorry, I ramble, I can’t help it…makeup is my passion!) or at the very least, learnt something today!
Do you have any tips or tricks for brush care? What are your go-to cleansing products for your beauty tools?
Thank you so, so much for reading and I hope you have a cheery day!
Lots of love,