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how the pros do it: clean makeup brushes

Bopha Mom-Baccam - Wednesday, June 24, 2015


If there was an eleventh commandment it would undoubtedly be, "Thou shalt clean thy makeup brushes regularly." Not only will this keep your tools looking their best and help them to live a long, healthy life but it will also lower your chances of dirty brushes causing acne, rashes or even eye infections. So we're here to teach you how the pros clean their brushes to get you in the good habit of cleaning your tools regularly! 

To start, we'll teach you how to spot clean your brushes, or clean in between colors. We use (and recommend) Cinema Secrets and Parian Spirit Professional Brush Cleaners, which both come in bottles varying from 2-32 ounces at the price range of approximately $8-36. To use, simply apply a small amount of the cleaner on a paper towel and sweep your brush back and forth until the pigment comes out of your brush completely. Once all color is out, reshape the bristles of the brush using your thumb and pointer finger and then lay flat or at a downward angle to dry. 
Bonus points: Using these products not only cleans the brushes but also sanitizes, conditions, and deodorizes them. Both cleaners are also very quick-drying and good for synthetic and natural brushes. 

Next, you'll learn how to deep clean your brushes. How often you need to deep clean varies depending on use, but once every two weeks is fine for normal use. You will need to deep clean more often if you are doing big, elaborate makeup looks or if you've been sick, clean and sanitize everything once you are better to make sure no germs are left behind. 

For deep cleaning brushes, we love MAC Brush Cleanser paired with the Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Glove (pictured above). MAC Brush Cleanser is $15 for 7.9 ounces and will clean, disinfect and condition brush fibers so that brushes last longer. It also leaves brushes smelling fresh and clean! The Sigma Spa Glove is somewhat of a splurge at $39 but worth every penny! This glove has different grooves specifically designed as a quick, easy and effective method of giving your brushes an even deeper clean. However, if you're looking for a cheaper way to deep clean your brushes, baby shampoo and paper towels will work too! 
Disclaimer: Baby shampoo is cheap but will also make your brushes very soft. That may not seem like a problem but blending with extremely soft brushes can be difficult, so just be aware it may take some getting used to. 

To get started, use half MAC Brush Cleanser (or baby shampoo) and half water and fill a small container with the solution. You only need a small amount, so begin with less and make more as-needed. Also, with continued (incorrect) use, brush cleansers can affect the bristles and glue holding your brush together so never immerse your brush more than 1/4 way past the bristles. 

Let brushes sit in the solution for 10-15 minutes, then use the Sigma Spa Glove to rinse or use your fingers to squeeze out excess water and reshape the brush. To see if the brush is clean, split open the center with your fingers and look to see if product is still in there. If so, repeat the process over until all product residue is gone and no suds come out. Liquid, cream or gel brushes will most likely need to be washed 2-4 times. Finish by laying brushes flat or at a downward angle to dry. Never leave brushes sitting upright to dry as it can trap bacteria in and ruin the brush fixtures. 

And now, once your brushes are completely dry, they are ready for action again! Cleaning brushes can seem time consuming (especially if you have a TON), but dirty tools are not only less effective and have a shorter life span, but they are also perfect places for bacteria to grow (eww). So make the smart and healthy decision for your brushes and your skin and always clean them regularly! 


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