We need to have a serious talk about our makeup brushes, ladies. I can't tell you the number of times I've heard the typical "My skin won't calm down, I keep breaking out and I don't know why" Followed by my usual question: "Are you cleaning your brushes?" YOU GUYS! I can't stress enough how crucial this is. And trust me, if there was a world in which I didn't have to expend the extra energy on cleaning my brushes, I wouldn't! But the fact of the matter is, that's nasty. I'm going to break down for you why you need to be cleaning them, how often, and just plain how to do it.
Okay, the number of reasons for washing your brushes are plenty, so let's just break down a few of the most important ones. Everyone's skin is home to microbes, or microscopic bacteria (ew I know, but it's normal). These bacteria are typically non harmful, and actually have some beneficial properties for your skin. BUT, not everyone has the same types of microbes, and not everyones skin can tolerate every kind. Which leads me to my first point: if you are sharing or have shared your brushes with someone, clean them before you use them on your own skin. Though someone's face can appear clean, you don't know what microscopic bacteria is living on the surface, or what breakouts could be dwelling just below. Now let's talk about your own microbes. As I said, they are for the most part safe and controlled. But if those levels change or get out of control, colonies may form and become breeding grounds for different kinds of harmful bacteria. Now, you may not know this is happening, but are combating it with an excellent skin care routine (which we all need *hint hint*.) BUT, once your brushes make contact with your skin, they pick up some of that bacteria. If it's the bad kind, you could be washing your face in the morning and attacking the problem, and then going in and swirling that nasty stuff all over your fresh face. Gross! In extreme cases, this could lead to viral infections and annoying issues like pink eye. Washing your brushes also plays a HUGE part in acne prevention. For the same reasons listed above! You don't want to be spreading the bacteria causing your breakouts all over your skin. The icky prospect of spreading nasties not convincing enough for you? Well here's another great reason: It keeps your brushes soft! You've invested in a good set of brushes, now maintain them! Regular washing keep the bristles in good condition and prevents them from becoming brittle. Clean brushes= better makeup application. Piling product on top of product will create a muddy effect when you apply your makeup. The color payoff will be pure and clear when you have nice, clean brushes.
Now, let's talk about how often we should be giving them a bath. truthfully, you should be washing them once a week. Is that always going to be realistic? No. Thats where a good brush cleaning spray comes in. If you can't hack a once a week washing, wipe off and spray your brushes after each use. You can bundle them all up and give them a few spritzes and you've done your maintenance for the day- in one minute. **stay tuned to the end of this post, I'll make some product recommendations**
But how do I even do this? -- Trust me, I've tried almost every way there is to wash a brush. I have finally found the system that works the best for me, and am happy to share it with you. Now, I'm a makeup artist so my life is full of washing brushes. My professional set almost every day, and my personal set every week (wink). So this method might be a bit more than what you'll want to do. So let's start with the most inexpensive way to wash:
Baby Shampoo or Dawn anti-bacterial soap mixed with a tiiiiiiny drop of olive/canola oil. Don't go overboard on the oil or it'll leave your brushes with a film that'll end up removing any makeup your try to apply with it. Why oil? It works to remove polymers and pesky product like foundation and concealer that can be hard for just soap alone.
Step 1: Wet the brush. It is important to hold your brush facing down so water won't go into the handle, causing the bristles to separate from the brush.
Step 2: Combine your mixture in a cup or bowl and swirl the damp bristles into the mixture.
Step 3: Under running water, swirl the brush against your hand and lightly squeeze the bristles to remove product. Keep doing this until the water runs clear.
Step 4: Remove excess water and lay the brush out to dry.
My Way: Block form brush cleaner and a mat. Brush shampoo in the form of a solid is such a game changer. It makes things so much easier and faster and avoids your hands from getting messy. A brush mat (or egg) is a multi-textured surface that allows each bristle and each type of brush (they vary in density) to get clean.
Step 1: Wet brush (same as above)
Step 2: Swirl brush in block shampoo
Step 3: Swirl brush with cleaner on mat
Step 4: Rinse & Dry
**PRO TIP: spritz your clean, wet brushes with diluted rubbing alcohol from about 10 inches away, for an extra boost of disinfectant.
There are a lot of things on the market right now for cleaning brushes, like electric spinning brush cleaners. I have never tried this method and am not totally sold on it. But if you have, and love it, let me kno