If you’ve ever watched an episode of Oprah where she subjects bathrooms, and other commonly used places by the housewife masses of America, with a black light, then you know how freaked out people are about dirty things. Well, your makeup brushes are no exception. Seriously, Oprah would give out free faints for everyone, if she knew. But it’s okay, people, makeup artists have the answer, and a bonus, it’s great for the condition of your brushes. Because, let’s be honest, your brushes are starting to look like Egle Tvirbutaite and Annemarie van Dijk from this shoot in August 2010 for Vogue Italia!
Most brushes are natural hair and need to be washed and conditioned like the locks on our own heads or they build up bacteria. So, what products are out there to help us keep our faces breakout free?
Best Brush Shampoo: Truly Pure Shampoo and Conditioner by Jane Iredale. This product is gentle, effective and leaves your brushes feeling fresh and conditioned.
Best Quick Spray Brush Cleanser: Parian Spirit Brush Cleaner. This stuff works like a dream, but be careful not to leave your brushes soaking too long in this stuff. It can have a drying effect and can even strip the protective coating on the handle of your brushes. Give them a quick spray and then rub them out on a paper towel until you get all the product out.
Worst Spray Brush Cleanser: Paula Dorf “Brush Out”. This stuff leaves a residue on the hairs and also has a very hard time getting any cream based products out. If you’ve got a waterproof product in your bristles you are S&*% out of luck. I am not a big fan of MAC’s brush cleaner either, it is gentle which is good, but you literally need to soak your brushes in this fluid to get everything out, so it won’t save you any more time than shampooing.
Best Human Hair Shampoo to use on makeup brushes: Your vanity and bathroom counter starting to look like the cosmetics counter at Macy’s? Don’t worry, you don’t have to choose between more clutter or clean brushes. You can opt for something you probably already have in your bathroom. Johnson and Johnson Baby shampoo leaves your brushes squeaky clean, and free of the residue that some shampoos can leave behind. One piece of advice though, you want to avoid any buildup on your bristles because it can come off on your eye shadows and also impede the application onto your subject’s face.
Best solid bar brush soap: DaVinci Conditioning Brush Soap.
Best Natural/Botanical brush cleaner: Jane Iredale Botanical Brush cleaner. Pros: it’s all natural and can effectively remove mineral makeup from brushes. Cons: it has a very strong smell that stays on your bushes for a while. And, it has a hard time getting out cream based products.
Whatever product you choose, you should get into the habit of cleaning your brushes regularly. If you’re a makeup artist shampooing is something you should do several times a month. For personal use, once a month is fine. Don’t forget pros, spot cleaning is key between deep cleans. I use the product above.
1: First up, lay a towel down on a flat surface next to a sink (If your bathroom has a pedestal sink, then your kitchen works fine).
2: Add a small amount of shampoo to your palm.
3: Wet the end of your brush.
4: Gently wipe the brush in the shampoo like you were painting.
5: Rinse the brush. Repeat until no more makeup comes off in your palm.
6: Lay the brush on the towel to dry.
Do’s and Don’ts:
DON’T leave your brushes upright while they dry, this will weaken the bond in the handle and cause your hairs to fall out faster. Instead leave them to dry flat.
DO buy “hand tied” brushes. That means they are tied into the handle, not glued. They are roughly the same price as the glued in brushes, but will last you twice as long.
If you’re a pro, DO Wash your brushes between each client to maintain sanitary standards.
DON’T forget to reform your brushes before they dry to avoid them drying into crazy shapes that cause them to become useless at the task they are designed to do.