Cleaning your makeup application tools is probably one of the best things you can do for the
health of you skin, eyes and lips along with proper makeup removal and facial cleansing. Think about the fact that brushes and sponges collect bacteria from your skin, then when the brushes are put away they can grow more bacteria after time. After a few days of applying makeup you are putting days of bacteria onto your skin, creating the perfect environment for a blemish. This is how I deep clean my brushes every week, so let's begin!
What You'll Need: Baby shampoo, brush cleaner, a couple bowls, some old towels and warm water.
Start by putting about a 1/2 a teaspoon of baby shampoo in one bowl and fill both with about 1/2 an inch of water for face brushes and a 1/4 inch for smaller brushes as you don't want to get the brush ferrule (the part of the brush that holds the bristles in place) wet because it will loosen the glue and damage the brushes.
I start by dipping the brush in the first bowl of warm soapy water and gently swirling it around to remove the looser makeup. Then I will take a pea sized amount of baby shampoo in my hand and always with the brush facing down, swirl the brush in small circles to loosen any product build up. Then I take the brush and swirl it in the clean bowl of water.
Finally I will rinse any excess suds from the brush with warm water, keeping the brush facing downwards. Gently squeeze out water (like you would wet hair) and then softly swirl your brush on an old towel to get rid of as much water as possible. Reshape and lay flat to dry. (Do NOT stand up or blow-dry your brushes to dry them. It can cause water to drip down into the ferrule and loosen bristles and heat from a dryer can melt the glue and do the same.)
Above: I hope this little diagram helps.
Using a white towel can be helpful because you can see if you have gotten all the product off of the brush when drying.
For brushes that are harder to get clean or to remove color you can use a bit of brush cleaner. I like to use this on brushes that have any sort of cream or liquid products on them or if I've done a intense eye. I'm using the Sonia Kashuk Brush & Sponge Cleanser, $6.99 at Target. For face brushes, dampen brush with water, spray bristles with the brush cleaner (brush facing downward) and work into a lather. For eye-shadow and lip brushes I like to first spray them while they're dry and work into a towel in gentle, little circles. I find this gets the pigment off better.
I then like to wash both face and eye-shadow brushes with baby shampoo because I don't care for the smell the cleaner leaves behind and most cleansers can leave bristles feeling a little bit dry in my opinion. Then I reshape and dry as mentioned above.
Sponge Cleaning: When it comes to reusable makeup sponges it is very important that you clean them thoroughly. Bacteria can get deep inside the sponge and cause breakouts and if you are using cream products with this dipping the sponge back into the makeup puts the bacteria right into your beautiful product.
There are lots of sponge cleaners out there or a products that pull double duty as both a brush and sponge cleaner. My Sonia Kashuk cleaner does both. Spray the sponge generously and work the product in by massaging it. You will start to see the product lifting. Then rinse under warm water and let the sponge fill up and ring it out multiple times until you don't see any more color in the water you squeeze out. Simple enough! I like to do this after every use and leave out to dry.
After all of your brushes have been cleansed leave them out to dry over night on a clean towel.
In the morning you will have the pleasure of what feels like new brushes that smell nice and clean.
Ooh la la! They feel so soft and smell so good!
If you are using brushes on someone else and would like a hospital grade cleaning done, take some of the 91% Alcohol that I talked about in my post on Sanitizing Your Makeup, pour about a 1/8-1/4 inch, depending on brush size, in a small container and swirl makeup brushes around and then give them a quick back and forth on a towel. I would recommend following this with a wash with baby shampoo, if you are not moving right on to another face, as not to dry out your brushes. This will kill every single thing that could have been living on your brush. Even if a person seems like they don't have a cold sore the virus can still be present. That also goes for eye infections like conjunctivitis or more commonly known as pink-eye, this can be very contagious along with painful, itchy and unattractive. Pink-eye can take a week to show any symptoms of infection, so be careful when sharing makeup and makeup tools to clean them well. Keep in mind that the person may not even know themselves that they have any sort of eye infection present
or cold sore on the way. This can also be a good practice if you struggle with acne.
I hope that this has been helpful and informative. I tried to explain this well and I hope I have.
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"It's our hearts and brains that we should exercise more often. You can put on all the makeup you want, but it won't make your soul pretty." -Kevyn Aucoin, Makeup Artist