As I was prepping my kit for a big wedding weekend (over 30 faces to paint over the next 3 days!), I decided to take a quick video of how I wash my brushes. I filmed this using my iPhone so please excuse the quality :)
Brushes are the most important tools in your makeup kit, and sometimes the priciest. They are investments that can last you a lifetime if you care for them properly. I still have brushes from when I was 16 that are in great condition! Here's a little overview and guide on keeping your brushes cared for and clean:
How often do you clean your brushes? The brushes in my kit are washed after every single use since they must be cleaned and sanitized before the next client. Your personal brushes may be washed every few weeks or as needed. Brushes that you use with liquid and cream products should definitely be washed regularly since they are more prone to bacteria growth from the moisture in the products mixing with the oils and bacteria on your skin. These brushes would be those used with foundation, concealer, cream blush, cream eyeshadow, gel and liquid liners, and lipsticks. Brushes used with powder products must also be cleaned regularly since they also come in contact with the oils and bacteria on your skin. Also if your skin is acne-prone, it is especially important to clean your brushes regularly to prevent the spread of acne-causing bacteria. Clean brushes are certainly important in keeping your skin healthy, but they also allow your products to blend better, yielding better makeup application. It's a win-win!
What should I use to clean my brushes? I personally like to use The Master's Brush Cleaner and Preserver. This brush cleaner is designed for cleaning paint from artist brushes, so it does an especially amazing job at quickly and easily cleaning makeup from your brushes. Even products that are normally difficult to clean, such as gel eyeliners and long-wear foundations, rinse away with ease. You can also use any gentle soap, such as baby shampoo or your regular shampoo. They work very well and you probably have some on-hand!
I thought shampooing my brushes in water is bad? In the video below you will see that I wash my brushes under running water and keep the brushes pointed at a downward angle. Water is only a problem for your brushes when it gets into the ferrule, which is the metal at the base of the bristles. The bristles are held together with glue and the ferrule covers that area and holds them in place. When water gets back into the ferrule, it can loosen and break down the glue that holds the bristles together. As long as you keep your brush pointing at a downward angle, your brush should be safe from water damage. NEVER SUBMERGE A BRUSH IN WATER OR SOAK IT. That's an order.
How should I let the brushes dry after washing? Once you've shampooed your brushes and squeezed our any excess water (at a downward angle), lay your brushes FLAT on a towel to dry overnight. Never stand brushes up in a glass or jar to dry because this will allow water to seep into the ferrule, which you've learned is the ultimate no-no. Also NEVER use heat to expedite the drying process, as it will soften the glue in the ferrule and your bristles will fall out. Most brushes will dry overnight, but some brushes that are very dense or have smooth synthetic bristles may take longer. Be patient :)
Why are there purple spots on the towel after my brushes were cleaned? Some brushes have been dyed by the manufacturer so that the bristles are all a certain color. I have several brushes from MAC that have black bristles and will leave purple water stains on the towel after they've been washed. This is just the dye from the bristles, not remnant makeup. Once the brush is dry, it will not continue to bleed color, so don't worry if you notice this when cleaning your brushes. You didn't do anything wrong!