Thursday, May 9, 2013

How to clean your Makeup Brushes in 5 minutes

The 3 Step Method


Makeup brushes make application flawless but when used often, they become breeding grounds for harmful bacteria.  Oils and skin cells coupled with the ingredients from the makeup products (eyeshadow, lipstick etc) contribute to the buildup and growth of  bacteria.

Why is this a big deal?

The buildup of bacteria can cause breakouts, eye infections and can seriously compromise your immune system.  Sharing your brushes with friends or family can also spread the germs and make others ill.

And if that doesn't make you want to rush to the sink with a can of bleach, here's another fact- Dirty brushes don't apply makeup as well as clean brushes because of the buildup of gunk. 

If you use your brushes every day, I recommend using a soft, clean towel to gently wipe them off.  I also highly recommend washing them once a week to remove the gunk, condition the bristles and disinfect the brushes.

I've been using an inexpensive 3 step method for cleaning my brushes for years and have never had a problem.  Try it out, your brushes will thank you for it :)

List of products you'll need:

  1. Johnson's baby oil.  I decanted some into a little spray bottle so there's not as much wastage.  If you don't have baby oil, you can use olive oil instead.  Try to use a fragrance free oil.
  2. Dr. Bronner's Liquid Soap (A mild shampoo can be used instead)
  3. Paper towels
  4. Dishwashing sponge


The cleaning process:

Step 1: Oil

Add a little oil onto a paper towel and delicately rub your dirty brush across it.  To prevent damaging the bristles, hold the end of the brush as you sweep it across the paper towel.

The benefits of using oil are two-fold- It helps de-gunk the brush especially if it's been used on a cream product like foundation and also, it conditions the bristles so they remain soft (much needed for natural hair brushes).

Dirty eyeshadow brush
Sigma C433 Pro Blending brush with brown eyeshadow buildup

After cleansing with oil.  Note the buildup on the paper towel.

Step 2: Wash and Rinse

Wet the dishwashing sponge, add a bit of liquid soap to it and work up a lather.  Take the dirty brush from step 1 and rub it gently across the sponge.  You should gently work up a lather to remove any remaining product. 

Rinse the brush under water till the water runs clear.  Try not to wet the ferrule (the metal part holding the bristles and the brush together) as it may rust and damage the brush. 

Step 3: Shape and Dry

Delicately squeeze out any remaining water from the bristles, shape the brush into its natural shape and lay down flat on a towel to dry.

Clean brush
Washed and shaped to dry

What methods do you use to clean your brushes?  I'd love to hear your comments..

have a lovely day,


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