A necessary evil. That's what I think when I have to wash my makeup brushes. It's a chore that I tend to put off as much as possible...A necessary evil. That's what I think when I have to wash my makeup brushes. It's a chore that I tend to put off as much as possible, but it comes to a point that you keep buying new brushes to avoid washing the old ones...and then you end up with 50 dirty brushes, and quite literally two hours of your time down the drain.
Some people may find it relaxing, but I find washing brushes to be such a chore because it eats up so much time! However, it is a necessary evil because it is an absolute must to keep brushes clean. You don't want gunky old makeup stuck to the bristles. Your skin will not like this. Makeup colors will no longer translate well when applied. And I find keeping both brushes and makeup clean and sanitized extends their life spans by leaps and bounds.
If you tend to procrastinate with this chore like me, the first piece of advice I would share is to wash 5 or 10 at a time instead of tackling an entire pile all at once. If you have a job and family and friends and hobbies and a life in general, two hours washing brushes is a lot to ask. But if you work with makeup on a daily basis, as a makeup artist or as someone like me who wears it probably 360 days a year, you have to make time for it. I've found myself much more willing to do the job if I only wash a few at a time, even if it's over several sessions. (Having Spotify on helps!) If you prefer to deal with it all at once, I salute you!
Do not wash your brushes too frequently. Always exposing them to water and soap may cause the bristles to fall out. To keep your brushes clean at all times, spot clean with a spray cleanser. You can DIY, but I find it too much of a hassle so I just buy ready-made ones. Spray on the bristles, wipe off on a face towel and see the gunk come off. Some people opt for paper towels, but clean old towels are way more environmentally friendly.
Got these from Beauty Manila, Bonmarchepage, and H&M in Barcelona.
I know all bloggers and YouTubers have their makeup standing in cups on their dressers, but I live in a dusty city (sigh). My makeup brushes live in a drawer to keep them protected from dirt.
I deep clean my brushes by washing them with shampoo once a month, but you can do it twice a month if you're an even bigger clean freak than I am.
To avoid wasting running water, dip dirty brushes bristles-down in a cup of water when you're getting ready to wash. Just like the hair on your head, shampoo works much better when hair is totally soaked instead of just wet. Make sure the water level isn't far up past the ferrules (metal part of the brush) or you'll loosen the glue holding the brush hairs together.
I wash my brushes using Johnson's baby shampoo or any of these brush shampoos I've picked up here and there. Just a drop is enough for a small or not-so-dirty brush, but you'll definitely need more for foundation brushes. Those are the toughest to wash, by far! Massage gently on your hand or use a brush egg to rinse out dirt and pigments. I've even used this silicone potholder from Daiso as a cleaning surface, just to prevent my hands from getting raw. But your fingers are still the best bet for working through bristles to get brushes really clean. Be gentle and don't pull on the hairs, and always wash brushes bristles-down to prevent water from seeping into the ferrules.
If you find that a brush is still not clean enough, simply wash again with Ivory bar soap. I've been double washing for years and Ivory bar soap will not hurt your brushes or make them stiff. Don't forget to wash the handles, too.
After washing, rinse really well, then (gently!) squeeze out excess water from the bristles. Lay flat to dry overnight on a towel (or one of those brush trees if you're fancy). Then be proud of yourself and get on with the rest of your life!