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How to: Clean Your Makeup Brushes

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From being a makeup junkie & from going to school for Cosmetology and Master Esthetics I have learned many different ways of handling & cleaning your cosmetic brushes. Their is not only one “right†way but their is most definitely many wrong ways to clean them!

 

 

I remember one night we were all doing some cleaning and one girl (bless her heart) wanted to clean the makeup brushes; lets just say she had no idea how. She got all the makeup brushes from the makeup station & put them in water (yes underwater) and let them “Soak†then she just left them in the sink for the weekend… in a open bag. Then when Monday came around I saw them still in the bag & already they had some kind of bacteria/mold growing on them! She made many errors.

  • Do not submerge them underwater! Your going to fill the brush with water & that will make the perfect place for bacteria to harbor within the brush itself!
  • If you leave them on their side or have the head of the brush right side up you will have water go into the brush & that will destroy the glue that holds the hairs together. (thus costing more money)
  • She left the cleaner on the brushes; some cleaners have strong chemicals that could break down the hair or brush handle (Don’t leave it on forever)
  • The area she put them in has high traffic, people wash their hands, clean other products with in that area. (Put them in an area that is clean as possible).
  • Specially If you use your makeup brushes on clients, you need to clean them after every use, (if not you could possibly spread a cold, virus, acne)

Now like I have said before there are many different ways to clean them, here is a way I found to clean them.


  1. Get a clean bowl or some kind of plate (so that you can put the cleaner onto it)
  2. I have seen many people use household dish soaps to clean them but I feel that may be to harsh on the hairs (specially if they are real hair) so what I use is one of my shampoos mixed with little bit of Argan oil. Then pour it into the bowl. This will get all the makeup, extra sebum (oil), dirt and etc off the brushes!
  3. You then can work (don’t man handle) them into your hand or a soft cloth; in circular motion  to help break up the makeup and spread the product
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Look at all that makeup that came off!

 

4.Next gently put them under warm/cold water(Hot water can damage hairs & wooden handles) for couple minutes using that circular motion again.

 

5.Then get a paper Towel and gently blot dry them. (Then Spray them with a Disinfectant brush spray, just to be sure they are fully clean)

 

6.Lastly but maybe most important to let them dry do not put them back into your brush holder or on their sides. If you are broke at the moment like myself here is a easy way to hold them upside down.700

Get some common electrical tape; I use electrical tape because its likely not to leave a sticky film or take off the brush designs. Like the photo above, place the brush onto the tape. Then making sure to have the head of the brush upside down place them on the end or your desk, vanity. This may seem silly/ghetto but hey it works! Then once they have dried they are ready for the next fierce look.

 

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Hey, just wanted to say thanks for the tips! I enjoyed reading them, especially on your way to keep them upside-down. That's awesome! I never would have thought to do that.

 

I know there are lots of ways to do it with tons of money (brush guards, the brush tree, etc.) but I find DIY ways just as effective.

 

My first time cleaning my brushes properly, I took a rubberband and finagled it so that it was tight around the brush handle, then I hung the other loop of the rubberband from a hook and it was drying upside-down just like that.

 

Anyone else got ideas (cheap, DIY) on how to hang your brushes bristle side down to dry?

 

 

Also, what do you do with dual-sided brushes, ones with a brush head on both ends?

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And one more question- do you have tips on cleaning retractable brushes?

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Guest gexton71

Your blog provided us with valuable information to clean Makeup Brushes....

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I've seen many people suggest using dish soup on them and always thought that was too harsh. I never thought of using regular hair shampoo on them I'll have to try that. What do you think about using baby shampoo on them, because I've seen that suggested too? 

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I place a (2-3 layer) of paper towel with its edges on the edges of a book thats about 2-3inches height and place the makeup brushes handles on it upside so that the water will drip down to thw towel. It works and super cheap.

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I would only use one at a time, thus cleaning one each time, but if you need to use both sides I would simply spray a disinfectant on one, then fully clean other side (wait til its dry) then do the other side. Retractable brushes are tricky, I would follow the same process but if you can some how really clean the inside that would be ideal.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by eastofthesun View Post
 

 

 

Also, what do you do with dual-sided brushes, ones with a brush head on both ends?

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I've been searching high and low on how to best dry and store double-ended brushes.

 

I think the best thing I can come up with if you have to clean both sides at once- dry the brush flat on a towel. But that was a freaking good idea to clean one side at a time and after one dries do the other. I might have to try that!

 

Also, for storage ideas, I found these awesome little pen-holders at office depot... oh my god they are great!!!!

You can get them for about a dollar here: http://www.officedepot.com/a/products/264670/Pen-Pal-Pen-Holder-Assorted/ or just search for 'pen pal holder'.

 

They look like this:

 

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They have a sticky back so you can stick them anywhere. I'm excited! I bought 5 last night!

 

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They fit my EcoTools eyebrushes (pictured above) so I'm happy! I don't think they would work with larger double-ended brushes, though.

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Its really very tough to clean Make-up brushes,and rather tough if you have to do it at home but let me tell you the best thing you have ever tried,first of all buy a best brush which do not need to be cleaned on routine basis,I buy on-line from *link removed per TOS* you can also find cleaning kit for your brushes.I love wearing make-up so I am all time choosy for it.

Edited by zadidoll

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Its really very tough to clean Make-up brushes,and rather tough if you have to do it at home but let me tell you the best thing you have ever tried,first of all buy a best brush which do not need to be cleaned on routine basis,I buy on-line from *link removed* you can also find cleaning kit for your brushes.I love wearing make-up so I am all time choosy for it.

Sorry Leslie, your post is flawed...

 

From a Pro stand-point, and from other threads on this forum about this topic, is that cleaning brushes is easy, and that ALL brushes need to be cleaned after every use.

 

Everyone knows how I feel about this topic, so I just keep quiet and lurk on threads like this. I really have to bite my tongue when reading cleaning techniques for brushes and Blenders, I would NEVER try any of the techniques / methods put forth, but that's me and other Pros that I talk with about this topic, but at-the-end-of-the-day, people ARE cleaning their brushes and Blenders, which is way better than not cleaning them. So that is a good thing. I also do understand that everyone on here are not Pros, and what I do like about these related threads is that members are talking and sharing techniques.

Edited by zadidoll
removed link from quoted text

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Not just from a pro-point of view but from a matter of hygiene. Not cleaning your brushes on a regular basis introduces bacteria and good knows what else onto you face. Brushes should be cleaned after every use be it a deep clean (wash) or cleaned with a brush spray.

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I use a spray brush cleaner after every use and then once every week or two, depending on how often the brush was used, I do a deep cleaning with a soap for brushes and for my foundation brushes I use Purity.    A brush I use once or twice a week gets a deep clean every two weeks and a brush I use everyday gets deep cleaned once a week.  I am not a professional and am only using my brushes on myself.  

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@@vogueboy - now I'm super curious, how do you clean your brushes? :P

 

I am, admittedly, absolutely terrible at washing my brushes with any regularity.

I use Parian Spirit, if I don't have that I use the brush cleaners from Cinema Secrets or Monda, if I am in a bind, I'll use Beauty-So-Clean brush cleaner.

 

The great thing with these cleaners is that they dry your brushes instantly, well, about a minute with synthetic brushes, so it's quick and easy. As opposed to brush cleaners from MAC, Lise Watier, Cover F/X, which need an hour-plus to overnight drying time.

 

Also with Parian Spirit, not only does it clean your brushes, it sanitizes and conditions them at the same time.

 

Most people don't realize that make-ups are oil, water, silicone, and alcohol based, and that soap & water based cleaning methods and oil conditioning methods are not compatible with make-up brushes.

 

Think of artists who use oil, acrylic based paints, they don't use soap & water to clean their brushes, they use proper brush cleaners, same with contract / commercial painters who use latex based paints. "Right tools for the right job" so the saying goes... Anyways I don't want to sound preachy...

 

As for deep cleaning, I do that once a week with my blush / powder brushes with a brush immersion tub filled with clean Parian Spirit.

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I use Parian Spirit, if I don't have that I use the brush cleaners from Cinema Secrets or Monda, if I am in a bind, I'll use Beauty-So-Clean brush cleaner.

 

The great thing with these cleaners is that they dry your brushes instantly, well, about a minute with synthetic brushes, so it's quick and easy. As opposed to brush cleaners from MAC, Lise Watier, Cover F/X, which need an hour-plus to overnight drying time.

 

Also with Parian Spirit, not only does it clean your brushes, it sanitizes and conditions them at the same time.

 

Most people don't realize that make-ups are oil, water, silicone, and alcohol based, and that soap & water based cleaning methods and oil conditioning methods are not compatible with make-up brushes.

 

Think of artists who use oil, acrylic based paints, they don't use soap & water to clean their brushes, they use proper brush cleaners, same with contract / commercial painters who use latex based paints. "Right tools for the right job" so the saying goes... Anyways I don't want to sound preachy...

 

As for deep cleaning, I do that once a week with my blush / powder brushes with a brush immersion tub filled with clean Parian Spirit.

Just googled this up- can I ask a dumb question?  (I'm in the middle of a career and life-change switch and will have more time to start taking care of what my face looks like prior to leaving my apartment)- how do you use this thing (amazon link)?  I'm a huge fan of this idea- the fact that it'll dry in a minute or so.. a lot more doable for me!

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Just googled this up- can I ask a dumb question? (I'm in the middle of a career and life-change switch and will have more time to start taking care of what my face looks like prior to leaving my apartment)- how do you use this thing (amazon link)? I'm a huge fan of this idea- the fact that it'll dry in a minute or so.. a lot more doable for me!

1) That little screen sits on a raised ring that is placed into the jar.

 

2) Pour Parian in, to just below the jar's threads.

 

3) Dip your brush in and gently agitate / swirl your brush on the screen. Be careful of over splash.

 

4) Take your brush out, press the excess out on the edge of the jar.

 

5) Wipe your brush on a paper towel.

 

The beauty with Parian Spirit, is that all the pigments and sediments settle below the screen, (around the riser), no matter how much you stir up the solution, your brushes will never soak up any sediments / pigments. And the solution will go clear. You can tell when you dry your brushes on a white paper towel... The paper towel will still be white and there will be no pigment transfer. No other brush cleaner does this.

 

Pigment transfer = pigments are still in the bristles.

 

As the solution gets lower, just keep refilling the jar.

 

How do you know when to change the cleaner?

 

Excellent question Elizabeth!

Edited by vogueboy
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@@vogueboy Thank you SO much for that!! Sounds like I'll be purchasing some Parian Spirit and this container thing really really soon!  I saw before that @@zadidoll has posted about them, and now I feel comfortable enough to to maybe wash my brushes with tenfold regularity!  You've convinced me to change my brush hygiene, Omar!

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Daily usage can result in bacteria concetration that can transfer to our skin causing break outs. If you don't clean the brushes regularly, following a good skin routine is pointless.

 

This is how I clean my brushes -> **links removed**

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So I am going to follow up with the "dip 'n swirl" technique in response to other's methods on here. I am going to take brush cleaning a step further... By using used brush cleaner to clean a couple of brushes in these pics. Parian Spirit is the only brush cleaner that you can do this with and still get clean brushes that will also be conditioned, sanitized and dry.

 

If you use other brush cleaners like Cinema Secrets, Monda, RCMA, and Ben Nye in this manner, (used in a jar), the pigments will be suspended in the solution and they never settle, or if they do settle, they will get mixed right back up when you disturb the cleaner and the brushes will soak up the pigments back into the bristles. That's why these brush cleaners only come in spray bottles (and refills).

 

 Having said that... I clean my blush and powder brushes with Parian Spirit in a spray bottle. Typically I use two paper towels to get one blush brush clean, as there is a lot of pigment transfer to get rid of. The spray technique takes about three minutes max. And the brush is ready to use right away.

 

 

First off,  white paper towel is perfect to dry your brushes on. Why? Any pigment transfer onto the towel shows you that your brushes still has pigments still in its bristles.

 

Remember, any pigment transfer means a dirty brush. A clean brush never transfers pigment onto a clean white towel.

 

 

 

The cleaner in these pics is about two weeks old and I've cleaned about 300 brushes in the same cleaner in that time. I just added more Parian Spirit to top up the jar within that time. 

 

Based on my usage, I usually clean out my cleaner around the two week mark, this is when I usually see a bit of product / pigment transfer on a clean white paper towel.

 

 

 

As you can see, Parian Spirit is clear. The tub on the right is used Parian Spirit. 

 

post-110969-0-44450400-1401923644.jpg

 

post-110969-0-94344200-1401923696.jpg

 

You can see the settled pigment on the bottom.

 

post-110969-0-14175900-1401923717.jpg

 

As you can see, despite the cleaner looking dirty, you can still see the screen, as the pigment will always settle to the bottom no matter how you swirl or agitate the cleaner.

 

post-110969-0-64274300-1401923854.jpg

 

I am using an 8 year old white-bristle brush (MAC 239) for the purpose of this demo, as we all know, white bristles are very difficult to keep white. 

 

post-110969-0-12211500-1401924072.jpg

 

I am going to use MAC Carbon (a very rich matte black powder) to clean.

 

 post-110969-0-70306100-1401924309.jpg

 

post-110969-0-34833900-1401924324.jpg

 

I deliberately transferred a quick swatch onto the paper towel to show how dirty the bristles are.

 

post-110969-0-18188400-1401924358.jpg

 

As I dip the brush, you can still see how black the bristles are...

 

post-110969-0-22862000-1401924399.jpg

 

Now I just give the brush a couple of quick swirls on the screen and the brush is now clean.

 

post-110969-0-32092700-1401924520.jpg

 

post-110969-0-58264500-1401924545.jpg

 

post-110969-0-48339500-1401924565.jpg

 

Now I am drying the brush next to the swatch I made earlier. Notice, no pigment transfer.

 

post-110969-0-38493000-1401924782.jpg

 

As I drag the brush slightly lower on the paper towel, there is still no pigment transfer, which proves the brush is clean, dry and white and ready to use right away, despite that I just cleaned it in a jar of used brush cleaner. Also the brush is sanitized due to the ingredients.

 

post-110969-0-76281300-1401924804.jpg

 

Now I am going to clean a concealer brush in the same used cleaner, notice that I also made a foundation swatch before I dipped the brush in for comparison when I dry it.

 

post-110969-0-78652900-1401925842.jpg

 

post-110969-0-69931300-1401925866.jpg

 

post-110969-0-17537600-1401925892.jpg

 

post-110969-0-34762700-1401925914.jpg

 

Comments and questions are always welcome.

Edited by vogueboy
  • Like 8

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So I am going to follow up with the "dip 'n swirl" technique in response to other's methods on here. I am going to take brush cleaning a step further... By using used brush cleaner to clean a couple of brushes in these pics. Parian Spirit is the only brush cleaner that you can do this with and still get clean brushes that will also be conditioned, sanitized and dry.

 

If you use other brush cleaners like Cinema Secrets, Monda, RCMA, and Ben Nye in this manner, (used in a jar), the pigments will be suspended in the solution and they never settle, or if they do settle, they will get mixed right back up when you disturb the cleaner and the brushes will soak up the pigments back into the bristles. That's why these brush cleaners only come in spray bottles (and refills).

 

Having said that... I clean my blush and powder brushes with Parian Spirit in a spray bottle. Typically I use two paper towels to get one blush brush clean, as there is a lot of pigment transfer to get rid of. The spray technique takes about three minutes max. And the brush is ready to use right away.

 

 

First off, white paper towel is perfect to dry your brushes on. Why? Any pigment transfer onto the towel shows you that your brushes still has pigments still in its bristles.

 

Remember, any pigment transfer means a dirty brush. A clean brush never transfers pigment onto a clean white towel.

 

 

 

The cleaner in these pics is about two weeks old and I've cleaned about 300 brushes in the same cleaner in that time. I just added more Parian Spirit to top up the jar within that time.

 

Based on my usage, I usually clean out my cleaner around the two week mark, this is when I usually see a bit of product / pigment transfer on a clean white paper towel.

 

 

 

As you can see, Parian Spirit is clear. The tub on the right is used Parian Spirit.

 

attachicon.gif1.JPG

 

attachicon.gif3.JPG

 

You can see the settled pigment on the bottom.

 

attachicon.gif3a.JPG

 

As you can see, despite the cleaner looking dirty, you can still see the screen, as the pigment will always settle to the bottom no matter how you swirl or agitate the cleaner.

 

attachicon.gif3b.JPG

 

I am using an 8 year old white-bristle brush (MAC 239) for the purpose of this demo, as we all know, white bristles are very difficult to keep white.

 

attachicon.gif4.JPG

 

I am going to use MAC Carbon (a very rich matte black powder) to clean.

 

attachicon.gif5.JPG

 

attachicon.gif6.JPG

 

I deliberately transferred a quick swatch onto the paper towel to show how dirty the bristles are.

 

attachicon.gif7.JPG

 

As I dip the brush, you can still see how black the bristles are...

 

attachicon.gif8.JPG

 

Now I just give the brush a couple of quick swirls on the screen and the brush is now clean.

 

attachicon.gif9.JPG

 

http://www.makeuptalk.com/f/public/style_images/MakeupTalk_Mobile2/attachicon.gif 10.JPG

 

http://www.makeuptalk.com/f/public/style_images/MakeupTalk_Mobile2/attachicon.gif 11.JPG

 

Now I am drying the brush next to the swatch I made earlier. Notice, no pigment transfer.

 

http://www.makeuptalk.com/f/public/style_images/MakeupTalk_Mobile2/attachicon.gif 12.JPG

 

As I drag the brush slightly lower on the paper towel, there is still no pigment transfer, which proves the brush is clean, dry and white and ready to use right away, despite that I just cleaned it in a jar of used brush cleaner. Also the brush is sanitized due to the ingredients.

 

http://www.makeuptalk.com/f/public/style_images/MakeupTalk_Mobile2/attachicon.gif 13.JPG

 

Now I am going to clean a concealer brush in the same used cleaner, notice that I also made a foundation swatch before I dipped the brush in for comparison when I dry it.

 

http://www.makeuptalk.com/f/public/style_images/MakeupTalk_Mobile2/attachicon.gif 15.JPG

 

http://www.makeuptalk.com/f/public/style_images/MakeupTalk_Mobile2/attachicon.gif 16.JPG

 

http://www.makeuptalk.com/f/public/style_images/MakeupTalk_Mobile2/attachicon.gif 17.JPG

 

http://www.makeuptalk.com/f/public/style_images/MakeupTalk_Mobile2/attachicon.gif 18.JPG

 

Comments and questions are always welcome.

You're an angel! Thanks for sharing, this was really helpful.

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Now I know I shouldn’t be cleaning my make up brushes with home dish soap. Been using this ever since and didn’t think too much of it. You’re right .  This could be harsh on my face.

 

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Depending on how you have your brushes sitting ect in a tin, glass jar or even in a jar with a lid.
Dust particles & little nasty bacteria & germs lay all over them. So much bacteria is stored on these brushes from touching your face everyday to sitting in the open. You should also keep your brushes in the best condition possible so they can be used for months (even years) & prevent your skin from having any breakouts.

Be careful not to get too much soap or water however near where the bristles are attached to the brush. This can loosen the glue over time, ruining your brushes. I usually add a bit of water to a small shallow glass, a bit of cleanser (or gentle shampoo), then just swirl the brushes in it. Then rinse holding the brushes, bristles down til the water runs clear. Depending on how dirty your brushes are you will probably have to change out water and the cleanser in the cup a few times. Works like a charm! Reshape bristles and lay flat.

I use hand-soap from the bathroom and do the 'swirl on the hand' method. Works fine every time! Also I wash my face with olive oil and would never ever go back to any other 'cleanser'. It works great and is cheap plus you have to buy product which have covering bag in packing. tinyurl.com/professionalmakeupbrushset is giving very good instruction about saving the brushes from damage along with lovely packing along with amazong stuff

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