A while back, I wrote an article all about the possible mistakes one can make during the washing of their makeup brushes. I received so many comments on the piece that I thought I’d summarize my fool-proof brush cleaning routine to help those who may be new to the makeup world, or those who found that they were making A LOT of the mistakes I mentioned.
Cleaning your brushes is a super important part of your beauty routine (or at least, it should be). Removing built up dirt, oils and makeup from your tools prevents breakouts and your friends judging your hygiene.
By now, we all know about the water crisis Cape Town is experiencing, so I’ve made two routines to follow, depending on where you live, as us Joburgers have the luxury of being a little more free with our water than those in the Cape.
If you live in Johannesburg:
Gather 2 or 3 brushes of similar bristle length
Washing multiple brushes at once cuts the amount of water you’re using, and reduces the amount of time you have to commit to this beauty chore. So find a bunch of similar brushes to wash together, using their bristle lengths as a guide.
With the brushes facing downward, wet the bristles under running water (being careful not to let water run over the ferule)
Grab the bases of the brushes in a bunch and hold under running water (but only long enough for them to get wet, and then turn the tap OFF). You don’t need to soak them or allow them to lie in water, just get enough water on them so that your soap can make some bubbles.
Be sure not to let the water pass the little metal join (called the ferule), this can cause the glue inside to weaken, which may lead to shedding of your bristles.
Apply a pea-sized amount of your soap of choice onto your brush cleaner (for smaller brushes) or a coin-sized amount onto your hand (for larger brushes)
I use good old baby shampoo (in a pump bottle) to clean my brushes, as it’s mild enough to not dry them out, but still effectively cleans the bristles. If you find that your soap is too harsh, mix a little olive oil into it to ensure you don’t damage your brushes.
Depending on how many brushes you’re washing at once, and how dense their bristles are, apply the relevant amount of soap. For smaller brushes, I use this handy little pink thingy, as its dotted surface cleans the bristles better than the grooves between my fingers can. For larger brushes, I simply use my palm.
Massage the soap into the bristles, focusing on one brush at a time if necessary
If the little circular motions on the inside of your hand (or on your brush cleaner) aren’t working, use your finger tips to gently massage the bristles to get stubborn colour out. If your brushes are made from natural fibres, or have been used to apply strongly pigmented shadows, you may have to work a bit to remove all the dirt.
Rinse the brushes in the same way as you wet them initially
Try to squeeze out any residual soap before rinsing, in order to use as little water as possible. Give them a good enough soaking that no soap remains on the brushes, this can dry them out, damage the bristles or cause breakouts on your skin after you use them.
Again, don’t let your brushes stand in water or allow any water to get into the join of the brush tip to the handle.
Gently squeeze out any excess water from the bristles
Get your little guys as dry as you possibly can before you allow them to air dry. I like to squeeze the bristles of each brush with a towel in order to absorb all extra water. Removing as much water as you can allows the bristles to dry quicker.
Lay the brushes on a rolled up towel, to ensure they dry at an angle
This may seem a little extra (maybe it is) but when I let my brushes air dry, I ensure that they’re lying at an angle. Why? Same concept as not allowing water to run over the ferule.
By angling your tools this way, you let any extra water droplets run down and out of the bristles, as opposed to upward and inside of the ferule. If you let water inside of the metal piece, it can weaken the join of your handle, or cause shedding from your brush.
When they are half way to being dry, fluff out their bristles
If I skip this step, my brushes sometimes dry a bit funny, with stray hairs pointing at weird angles, or either too flat or too bushy.
When the brushes are still wet, I shape them into a point, but when they’re on their way to being a bit drier, I fluff them out and let them return to their normal shape before drying the rest of the way.
Voila! Dry and well-maintained brushes!
If you live in Cape Town:
Buy some spray on brush cleaner
Woolies makes a fabulous one.
Hope for the best
Just kidding! But there we have it! A fool-proof brush cleaning routine! Let me know in the comments below if I’ve missed out any of the steps that you may include in your routine.