brush cleaning and maintenance

I’ve recently posted a video on my favourite/essential brushes, might as well tell you how I like to keep them nice and clean, so that they last a long time and I don’t have to spend more money on brushes, and so that they don’t accumulate bacteria that screw up my already poor skin and I don’t have to spend more money on skincare…

spot cleaning
for when you need to clean that brush to use it with another colour, or to simply give them all a quick clean at the end of the day.
that’s when the spot cleaning liquids come in handy. something like the Sephora Daily Brush Cleaner, E.L.F. or Kiko Brush Cleaner (more expensive brands such as M.A.C. or Make Up Forever also provide them).
they can have quite a lot of alcohol (many are disinfectant), and they don’t actually deep cleanse, but you can use the brush immediately after using these cleansers, which makes them perfect for regular spot cleaning.
you just have to put a bit of the liquid onto your brush or (paper) towel, and gently sweep the brush on the (paper) towel until it comes out clean.
one thing to be careful is not to let any of the cleaner get into the ferrule, so that the product won’t disrupt the glue that holds the bristles inside.

deep cleaning
every one or two weeks (ideally), one should wash their brushes in order to really keep bacteria at bay and prevent product build-up. you just put on your favourite face mask, stream some YouTube videos or your favourite episodes of (insert here) series, while devotedly bring your brushes back to their original colours (and textures).
I’m not a fan of very stripping brush shampoos, because they dry out the bristles, which makes them more breakable — and harsh on the skin. I like to find a middle-ground between moisture and deep cleaning.
you can use a good conditioning brush shampoo, baby shampoo, DIY by mixing 3 parts anti-bacterial dish detergent 1 part olive oil, or follow my lead and grab yourself some glycerin soap. it is mild on the bristles because of the glycerin, while still cleaning them thoroughly.
once every six months, I give them a more abrasive cleanse, usually with the aforementioned DIY soap.

there are only two rules:
1) don’t let water/product get inside the ferrule (it dissolves the glue and causes your brushes to shed);
2) don’t mess with the shape/direction of the bristles, so that they don’t splay.
so, keeping your brush pointing down, put it under some luke-warm running water, sweep it on the soap, then with soft circular motions sweep it on the palm of your hands, rinse and repeat until the water runs clear.

the same process applies to your sponges — just keep in mind you should throw them away every three months, because bacteria builds up inside, where no detergent or water can get properly.
resist the urge to use your fingernails to remove some more stubborn stains: keep rubbing the soap onto the sponge with your fingers, then squeeze several times to take all the water/soap out and repeat. when finished, squeeze all the water and pat it with a towel.

you should always let your brushes and sponges air dry.

when it comes to sponges, if you have those classic ones, just leave them on a clean towel to dry.
if you have a Beauty Blender, you probably know its box serves as a drying stand, and it even falls inside when it’s fully dried. magic!

as for brushes, you should let them dry facing down, so that the water doesn’t creep inside the ferrule, and in a way that doesn’t kink or splay the bristles — so laying them on a towel on a flat surface is not the best idea.

let me share with you my household tricks to keep the brushes upside down:
1) the Real Techniques set stands;
2) one of those IKEA underwear hangers. they are especially great for brushes with larger handles — just clip them on and adjust the position gently and don’t break one of the clips while your camera is recording…

3 thoughts on “brush cleaning and maintenance”

  1. Thanks for sharing your tips and the reminder not to ruin the brush shape (I may have been guilty of doing this before lol)! I’ll be sure to try washing with baby shampoo – I also read somewhere to add a few drops of tea tree oil to the cleaning solution to help disinfect!


    1. yes, tea tree oil has great anti-bacterial properties!
      just be sure the baby shampoo is not too heavy on sulfates (which makes them super foamy and luscious, but is a bit drying on the bristles)

      Liked by 1 person

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