A Brush with Good Habits

By Brittany Asplin

How to keep your brushes clean for a smooth canvas and a silky application.

Being up to date with the makeup trends is definitely popular within this century; whether it's learning new skills off YouTube makeup artists or just staying up late to wait for that makeup collection.  Now I can’t talk, I am a makeup addict, even though I go to university everyday not wearing a stitch of it (to which I further apologise for if you have ever got a fright from my makeup-naked face). 

I completed my makeup certificate back in 2013, which means I am not only qualified to do others makeup but I was taught other magical skills about skincare and keeping my shit clean.  And one thing I have noticed from MUA's on YouTube is the lack of care they have for the cleanliness of their tools.  Whether you paint your face with your fingers or your brushes you still need to make sure it’s clean.

Cleaning your brushes and beauty blender sponges (yes them too) is incredibly important, not only will it help apply your makeup better but also to help look after your skin.  Brushes and sponges store old makeup with their buddies: dead skin, dirt and bacteria.  Having dirty brushes can make your skin susceptible to pus filled face demons and sty’s in your eyes.  Keep your brushes in the open with those containers on your beauty table?  I will bet you get dust falling on them too.  Oh, and if you begin to see little black freckles all over your beauty blender; that's mould babies being formed.  Now that I have turned you into a germaphobe, the good news is all of this is easily avoidable.  These are few things I learnt from my study and through trial and error of cleaning my own brushes.

Real v. Synthetic hair – Now it is difficult to tell the difference between real hair and synthetic hair on makeup brushes.  You will find nowadays the majority of brushes manufactured are synthetic, however some are still made with animal hair.  But one way I found to tell the difference between the two, is to wash them.

What to use? - I often find the best thing to use is dishwashing liquid.  Dishwashing liquid strips the old makeup, dirt and bacteria from the bristles; and it's cheap!  Put a squirt on a plate, bigger than a 50-cent coin if you have a lot of brushes to clean, and dip the brushes in, using the palm of my hand to swirl them under some warm water running slowly from the tap.  Thicker brushes like foundation brushes or big powder brushes might need another dip into the soap.  Make sure you rinse all the soap from the brushes.  Squeeze the bristles gently and lie them on a tea towel to dry.  It can dry in a few hours in summertime, however in winter they may take longer, so do it on a day where you don't need to wear makeup till the next day.  Beauty blenders and sponges can also use dish washing liquid or baby shampoo.  Wet the blender using warm water, squirt a bit of the shampoo or dish washing liquid onto the sponge.  Rub onto your palm to remove the makeup as the water runs slows.

If it's a real hair brush, use a combination of olive oil and dishwashing liquid. Real hair needs to be rehydrated with a little extra help, because sometimes the dishwashing liquid can strip some of the moisture from the bristles over time. Synthetic, usually man made from nylon, doesn’t need to have extra moisturisation.  With this is mind, add a tablespoon of oil with the dishwashing liquid on the plate.  When you dip into the dishwashing liquid, dip a small amount into the oil so as you clean it the bristles get rehydrated with the olive oil.

How often do I clean? - I know myself sometimes I don't clean my brushes enough, I'm either too busy or I forget; but I try to aim for at least once every three to four weeks.  But if you could clean them at least once a month, you're doing great!


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