Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Midweek post: My guide to washing makeup brushes.

Hi everyone!

I thought I'd do a a post today on my top tips for washing your makeup brushes. Having worked on several beauty counters, working with different brands, aswell as doing a couple of freelance makeup jobs on my friends, and of course having experience in washing my personal brushes.

I've divided the cleaning process into three important sections, so hopefully a couple of you might find it useful!

But first some people may ask the question:
Why do we need to wash our makeup brushes?

I would say that the majority of women don't wash their makeup brushes, however it is important to do this for hygiene reasons, but also to maintain the quality of the brushes. If you were to use a foundation brush everyday for a year and then were to wash it I can guarentee it'll be almost impossible to get it back to it's original state, however if it is washed frequently the same foundation brush could last you twice as long. If you take care of your brushes, particularly expensive ones, then they can last you a very long time.

Firstly, assess the time between washes that is realistic for you. Not everyone can assign time every week to wash their brushes, but I would urge that personal brushes should be washed every three weeks at least. Partly because most skin issues clear up around the 21 day mark, as well as skin renewing itself constantly, yet it's not too unrealistic for busy women who have a full time job and a family to maintain. 

There's no point washing brushes if you're in a rush, firstly the job won't be done as thoroughly as it would if you did have time, rendering the process pointless, but you also need to allow sufficient drying time. For my personal brushes, I only ever wash what I have actually used since the last wash, and find the process takes me around half an hour. At work, I allow around twenty minutes before closing time to clean the brushes and lay them out to dry (this should be done at the end of everyday, for obvious reasons). 
An overnight period for the brushes to be able to dry naturally is realistic, but to be sure I'd try to leave them for about 16 hours
Do not try to speed the process up! I saw a photograph on Instagram recently of someone laying their brushes out to dry over a radiator. This is a big no no as the heat off the radiator can cause the natural fibre brushes to become damaged and will more than likely cause them to become out of shape. Lay them on a clean towel, somewhere away from unnatural heat!

Run the tap on a tepid heat, a high temperature can cause damage to the brushes. Do not put the plug in your sink for all the dirty water to fester and absorb into other brushes! Keep the tap running and clean one brush at a time, let the brush get a bit wet before placing the soap in the palm of your hand and gently circle the brush in your hand. I'd stress that this should be done delicately, again so as not to damage the hairs of the brush but firm enough that the grime is being removed! Rinse the brush and repeat until the water runs clear. Gently squeeze the brush to get rid of excess water, reshape and lay to dry before starting on the next.

Believe me, I've tried almost everything, but the one product I'd really recommend to wash brushes with, is simple everyday anti bacterial washing up liquid! Baby shampoo seems to be a popular choice, but while this is nice and gentle on the natural fibred brushes, it isn't antibacterial so will not elimate any bacteria while you're washing them. By using baby shampoo you'll wash product out, but you won't wash out the germs! Anti bacterial washing up liquid lathers well, and removes product wonderfully. 
On my makeup jobs I've used both MAC and Estee Lauder's brush cleansers. I've never been clear on whether the MAC one is meant to be instant cleanser but it does work as one for me, cleaning the brushes of product quickly and efficiently but the brushes will need to be deep cleaned later on if used on a client to prevent cross contamination. 
(Please note that I have used MAC's brush cleanser as a deep cleaner too but find it economically draining in comparison to washing up liquid!)

If you have any other questions please let me know and I'll answer you, but hopefully this post is thorough enough! If you have any other tips or suggestions please write them below!


  1. Great post - Ive been using baby shampoo to clean my brushes and never even thought of using antibacterial washing up liquid - ill be cleaning my brushes tonight as im off on holiday tomorrow so this post was really helpful :) thankyou xx

  2. Thank you so much for this post! I've been using baby shampoo, but I never thought about it not being anti-bacterial! As soon as I finish it up I'm going to buy some anti-bacterial soap! xoxo

  3. This was very helpful! I've always used baby shampoo because whenever I've used anti bacterial washing up liquid, it irritates my sensitive skin, is there anything you can recommend I try instead? x

  4. This just reminded me I've to wash all my brushes tonight :( X

  5. great post - reminds me i need to wash all my brushes!

    from helen at // @thelovecatsinc

    ps. check out my brand new giveaway!


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