Sunday, July 15, 2012

How To Wash & Dry Your Make-Up Brushes

Despite my general focus on naily topics I do occasionally have things to say about other things. In this case about make-up brushes.

If you love applying make-up in this day and age, chance are you use at least some brushes. When I started there weren’t many affordable ones around, but more and more drugstore brands releasing brushes in recent years (and the whole ‘having more money’ thing) means that I have accumulated dozens of these tools. Dozens that need to be washed.
There are many guides out there, on blogs, youtube, whatever. I highly recommend reading/watching a bunch of them and coming up with a system that works for you.
Some people clean their brushes daily, other sporadically, I tend to spot clean with make-up remover wipes directly after use and when I feel that a good thorough cleaning is necessary I use water and brush cleanser. I never the whole collection at once, that’d take forever and they do take a couple of days to dry around here.

First, stuff that didn’t work for me: I’ve tried baby shampoo, which sucked at breaking up the product build-up, and normal shampoo, which was slightly more effective but still meant long tedious work. I haven’t tried oils, some folks swear that those give the most thorough cleansing, but though I’m sure they efficiently break up make-up, I don’t particularly want to wash the oils out of the bristles afterward.

What consistently worked well for me so far are ‘proper’ brush cleansers:

  • My first one was from Clinique, which was nice enough, but couldn’t quite get my duo fibre brushes clean (i.e. the white bristles weren’t bright white). Also I find the spray format a bit wasteful. It’s good, but I didn’t repurchase it.
  • The second was from MAC. It’s really effective, all brushes ware cleaned thoroughly. But again I don’t really like the packaging. The cleanser is watery and dribbles out of the flip-top cap as soon as you tilt the bottle. I feel that I wasted a lot of it over the months and using a small bowl only helped a little. It does perfectly clean my duo fibre brushes.
  • My newest cleanser and personal favourite is a solid brush soap by Da Vinci (a German brand, but there are similar products out there). You just wet the brush, swirl it over the surface of the soap, once it has picked up a bit of soap you can switch to swirling on your hand or stay on the soap. As the soap picks up the residue, you’ll have to rinse and repeat. ;-) When the soap starts to lather and the foam remains white, rinse well and you’re done. Make sure to let the soap dry with the lid off.
    This is so much quicker than with the liquid cleansers, cleans as thoroughly and I love the citrusy scent.

How To Wash & Dry Your Make-Up Brushes - Cleaning

Now drying is super important with brushes. If you allow them to dry in a cup bristles up, you’ll risk water going into the ferrule (that’s the metal bit between bristles and handle, that was so not part of my vocabulary a few years ago), cheap ferrules can rust, glue gets loosened, wooden handles can swell and warp. You really don’t want that, especially if you have more expensive brushes.
The general recommendation is to lay the brushes onto a towel, but what if you don’t have the space to lay all of them out? What if the only space big enough is where you have to fear your cats will chew up your expensive brushes any may get sick on top of that? What if you’re just paranoid? (All of these apply to me.)

So this is how I do it:

  • clean the brushes (see above)
  • take a clean rag, towel or dishcloth and gently squeeze out excess water from ferrule to tip (ideally the cloth should be white, so you can check that the brush really is clean)
  • reshape the brush
  • stick the brushes into the non-patented drying box and put it somewhere out of the way for however long it takes your brushes to dry (at least a couple of days for me o.O), put a paper towel or rag in the bottom in case there’s drippage

The non-patented drying box (which won’t cost you anything if you have a cardboard box lying around):

  • take a sturdy cardboard box (I use a medium flat rate box for ~30 brushes)
  • cut off the flaps so that five sides remain, remember that the brushes got in from the bottom, so it has to be high enough
  • make cross- or star-shaped cuts on one side in varying sizes, look at your collection of make-up brushes to guesstimate how many crosses/stars of which size you need

At some point the brushes won’t stay in all that well any more, then you can either make a new box or just wrap rubber bands around the handles to keep them from slipping though. It’s always good to have rubber bands handy anyway, since some strongly tapered handles tend to slip by default. For kabuki brushes I make a little harness by hooking three rubber bands together. The middle band goes around the handle, the other two, which should be opposite, go through two adjacent holes and secured with a pencil or orangewood stick.

How do you wash and dry your make-up brushes?


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Xarawood said...

This is brilliant! Been looking for a way to dry my brushes without splashing out on a brush holder! Thanks!

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