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May 14, 2012

Brush Cleaning

For some reason, and no, I don't know why, I am obsessed with make-up brushes. Given that I don't even wear the whole shebang; contour, eyeshadow, liner, on a daily basis, I have no real need for having so many make-up brushes. That being said, I love them and have been building my collection over many years. 

I try to spot clean my everyday brushes on a weekly basis but, about once a month, I try and give all of my brushes a deep clean. A build-up of product on your make-up brush can cause your make-up not to apply as nicely as it should. Deep cleaning ensures that you get the most from your tools and your make-up as well as ridding them of bacteria and removing residual staining from brightly coloured make-up. I thought I would do a quick post, showing you what I use for both spot and deep cleaning and how I keep my brushes looking as good as new!


My brush cleaning kit is quite condensed and most will be easy and cheap to get your hands on. For spot cleaning, I use a brush cleanser, usually MAC, and a face cloth. For deep cleaning, I recommend using some kind of shampoo and, one of my newest weapons for getting a perfectly shaped and dry brush, mesh brush guard.


Spot Cleaning

Spot cleaning brushes is pretty easy. Just squirt some cleanser onto a folded face cloth and swirl the brush in it until clean. Always remember to clean the brush in the direction of the hairs; if it's a round brush, use circular motions, if it's a flat brush, use back-and-forth strokes. This will prevent the brushes from shedding and losing their shape.

Lay flat to dry with no pressure on the bristles. I usually just hang mine over the edge of a table or window-ledge. You don't want to stand your brushes up until they are at least 90% dry. If water drips down into the ferrule (Metal part of handle) it can cause this to loosen, rust and detach from the handle.


Brush Guards

I'd been interested in getting some brush guards for awhile now but, didn't fancy paying €6 for six of the branded ones. So, I was very intrigued when I saw a roll of the stuff on Sarah's blog which she ordered from eBay for the princely sum of €1. Cue me hotfooting it over to this seller and ordering myself some.

I don't need the mesh for travelling as such as I have a brush roll that keeps all my babies safe and sound when in transit but, what I really wanted it for was drying. If you've any experience with brush cleaning, you'll know they often dry wonky with hairs sticking out at an angle and never in the correct shape. So, it was my theory that this mesh could be used to contain the hairs, maintain the intended shape of the brush and protect the bristles whilst they dry.


Before I begin any washing, I cut the mesh to size for each brush. This mesh will be too wide for smaller brushes like liner and angled brushes but, stretches to fit perfectly around even the widest of my brushes, the little, fat MAC 182 kabuki brush! Lay your brush along side the unrolled mesh and eyeball a portion from just above the bristles to the ferrule.


Cut the mesh and slide it up from the base of the handle to make sure it fully covers the bristles. If it doesn't comfortably cover the bristles, set it aside for a shorter brush and go again. Keep the measured mesh on handle of the corresponding brush while washing so it's ready to slip up and cover the brush head when ready.



Deep Cleaning

Presently, to deep clean my brushes I have been using Dr Bronner's Magic Soap. This is an 18 uses in 1 organic soap that I have used for everything from cleanser to shampoo. This little bottle came in a beauty box a few months ago but, you can buy the massive bottles in American Apparel. I have used everything from baby shampoo and olive oil to washing-up liquid and my own shampoo to give my brushes a deep cleanse but, the Dr Bronner's is by far my favourite as it gives a really satisfying clean "squeak" when all of the soap has been rinsed out. 


To begin, run your water to a lukewarm temperature. Cupping your hand, blob a tiny amount of your chosen cleansing agent into your palm and choose your first victim! You want to wet the brush head only and, pointing the brush downwards, swirl the bristles in the soap and keep swirling until your hand is covered in a brightly coloured foam! Rinse off the bristles and your hand and swirl again in your palm until the there are no more suds and the water runs clear. Your brush is now clean!


Try your best not to get water on any other part of the brush except the bristles to prevent unnecessary wear and tear of the brush and potential breakages. To do this, keep the brush pointing vertically downwards (i.e. NOT the way I have photographed it below!) and only have the tap trickling water outwards, so you can control it hitting the bristles and ensure that the run-off is down into the sink and not into the ferrule. 


While I wash all of the brushes, I don't cover the clean brushes straight away. Rather, I leave them to drip-dry over the edge of the sink until I am finished. This gets rid of a lot of the heavy wet. 


Once all brushes have been cleaned, I pull the guards up from the handle to cover the bristles and dry them flat, again, with the heads hanging over the edge of a table of windowsill. Bear in mind, deep cleaned brushes will take 24 hours plus to dry fully so, make sure you have some left aside to use. 


Only when the brushes feel touch dry should you store them standing up. Leave the guards on until the brushes are fully dry. When you remove the guards, you should have pristinely clean and perfectly shaped brushes that literally look as good as the day they came out of the shop!




A behind-the-scenes peak at what looked like a brush explosion!


19 comments:

  1. Where did you get your mesh from? I've never seen the cut-it-yourself version.

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    1. I've linked the seller in the post!

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    2. oopsies... I really ought to be asleep! :)

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    3. Haha no problem! Delivery does take awhile as it's from Hong Kong x

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  2. I get way too much enjoyment from cleaning my brushes; loved this post!

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  3. Wow Sinead you put me to shame - rushes to wash brushes immediately!! ;)

    That little mesh blankie is a genius idea too during drying.

    Nic x

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  4. Hi I will admit I don't clean my brushes as often as I should, but when I do the shampoo I use doesn't seem to remove my EL double wear light, any tips?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Catherine :) It could be down to staining as opposed to the product actually still remaining on the brush. Oil-based products are tough to remove like lipstick, foundation, liner etc. so, I sometimes go in with a drop of olive oil before the shampoo to break down the product and then shampoo it out! x

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    2. OOo, interesting, might try that one! Many thanks!

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  5. I love cleaning my make up brushes! Do it at least once a week! xo

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    Replies
    1. Same here though, I don't have the patience to deep clean every week! x

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  6. I have brush envy! What a good collection, they look pristine no doubt down to your great cleaning routine.
    Mine are SO old and I have about six in total. TOTALLY AWESOME BLOGGER RIGHT HERE HAHAH.
    Love this post x

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Katie! It's definitely a sick obsession! Some of them are around 10 years old amazingly, just goes to show what a bit of TLC can do! x

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  7. i hated the dr bronners soap but now i think im gona use it for my brushes now =)

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    Replies
    1. It's really ideal for brush cleaning as it's so natural! x

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  8. Great post, loving the blog:) Great work girlies!

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