We all know how important it is to follow a proper cleansing routine, but all that work is pretty pointless unless you’re taking the time to wash your makeup brushes at least once a week. Here, I share a few tips on how to clean your makeup brushes for a perfect complexion and flawless makeup application every time!
Picture this: you’ve just cleansed, toned and moisturised your skin, and you’re about to start applying your foundation… with a brush that you’ve been using for over a week. Before you continue, stop to think about exactly what may be lurking on those bristles: week-old foundation residue, dirt, and bacteria, to name just a few. Hmmm. Charming.
Now, I’ll admit that I’ve been pretty lazy in the past and I’ve gone weeks between washing my brushes, and it’s not uncommon for me to stop using my brushes altogether, opting for ‘effortless’ finger application instead. But when it comes down to it, cleaning your makeup brushes really doesn’t take up that much time and it’s a fairly simple process. Here’s how to keep your makeup brushes squeaky clean:
- Your dirty makeup brushes
- A professional brush cleaning spray (I like the one from MAC), or baby shampoo or gentle facial cleanser
- Some paper towels
- Two towels
Here’s what to do if you’re using a professional brush cleaning spray:
- Spray the brush cleanser directly onto the brush, soaking the bristles completely.
- Take a piece of paper towel and rub the bristles back and forth repeatedly until there is no more makeup coming off.
- I like to run my brush under water (holding the brush facing downwards), to ensure that there’s no brush cleaner left on the bristles (these often contain alcohol, which can irritate your skin). Leave your brushes to dry.
I like to use a brush cleaning spray on a daily basis, after I’ve applied my makeup, but for a deeper clean I go all out and give my brushes a proper clean once a week.
Here’s what to do if you’re using baby shampoo (or a gentle facial cleanser):
- Hold your brushes under lukewarm water, holding your brushes facing downwards and focusing the water on the actual bristles to prevent water from settling where the bristles meet the brush handle.
- Apply a small amount of baby shampoo or cleanser to the palm of your hand, then gentle swirl your brush in the cleanser.
- Next, rinse your brush under cold water until the water runs clear.
- Wipe your brushes clean using a towel, and remember to reshape the bristles as you go.
- Lay a towel at the edge of a table, and roll the back of the towel slightly to create a slight rise – lay your brushes along the towel, with the bristles balancing off the edge of the table and the handle slightly raised. This will ensure that your brushes dry quickly, and prevents excess water from settling at the base of the bristles (water can loosen the glue over time).
A few tried-and-tested tips:
- I always use a gentle facial cleanser instead of baby shampoo. It just makes more sense – most cleansers have antibacterial properties, whereas baby shampoo doesn’t. Your skin is also less likely to get irritated, as it’s specially formulated for use on your skin. My cleanser of choice? Garnier Skin Natural Pure Active 2-in-1 Makeup Remover Purifying Gel, R79,99, which is perfume-free and contains salicylic acid to prevent breakouts. It’s specially formulated to remove makeup, so I find that any residual makeup is dislodged far quicker and easier when I use this, compared to my usual baby shampoo.
- You can also use a little olive oil to get rid of stubborn product residue before washing your brushes. Simply apply a small amount to a paper towel, swirl your brush in the oil to remove makeup, then wash using baby shampoo or a cleanser as described above.
- If you know that you’re lazy when it comes to washing your brushes, make provisions for this. I have eight (eight!) foundation brushes, so that I always have a clean one on hand. I prefer to use a clean foundation brush every day to help prevent breakouts.
- If you have some extra time in the mornings, wash your brushes after you’ve applied your makeup. They’ll be dry and ready to use by the following morning.