Dun dun dunnn. Cleaning makeup brushes tends to be a dreaded task for many people, myself included. I've gone for, prepare yourself... MONTHS without cleaning my brushes before. Gross. Needless to say, this is an awful habit to get into and it makes me shudder to think of all the nasties I'm wiping on my face every time I use them. This can of course lead to breakouts or irritated skin or can even be the cause for some people. Think about it, most of us leave our makeup brushes out on our desk where they sit and collect dirt and dust and then we wipe that on our faces, pick up whatever is on our faces and then place that brush back in a pot where he waits for that whole routine to happen again. This is why it's so important to get into a routine of cleaning your brushes, just like we do our faces!
Most people tend to agree that washing your brushes every couple of weeks is okay. Although, using a spray cleaner after every use is encouraged by dermatologists and is something I'd like to get used to doing. Now I try to do a thorough wash of the brushes I use to apply liquid products every couple of days and then I wash the ones I use to apply powder products every couple of weeks or so. The brushes that get wet are going to be the ones that turn into a breeding ground for germs so these ones need washing more often.
I use antibacterial washing up liquid and baby shampoo to clean my brushes. Chances are you already have these cleaning products in your house and if not they're inexpensive so there's no need to break the bank!
I start with two bowls: one bowl full of warm water and one bowl with the soap in it. I dip the brush in the water first, just up to the ferrule (the metal part), then into the soap where I smush it around a bit to work the soap up into the bristles. I don't rinse just yet. I place each brush off to one side for a little while so the antibacterial soap can get rid of any nasties and start to break down the makeup.
By the time I've worked through all of my brushes, the ones I started with will be ready to rinse off, so next I run the warm water over my Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Mat* and run my brush across the bumps and grooves until the water runs clear. This mat is one of the best things to ever happen to my brushes and my hands. My hands don't have to get wet throughout the whole process which is great if you have a lot of brushes to get through and don't want to end up with raw palms after using your hand as a cleaning station!
Tip: Try to avoid getting water up inside the ferrule as this will end up being a gunky breeding ground for germs. It can also loosen the glue in there which can result in your bristles falling out.
Here is an awesome video by Secret Life of a Bio Nerd if you want to get crafty and make your own version of the Sigma Spa Mat. I made one and used it for a while but I ended up getting more use out of the mat since it fits to the shape of the sink and has little suckers on the back to stop it from slipping around.
I also like to do a quick clean with baby shampoo before I put them aside to dry as it keeps the bristles soft and I like to make sure they're super clean and all the soap is out. This isn't a necessary step, but I always do it out of habit.
To dry my brushes, I squeeze as much water as I can out of them with a towel before placing a brush guard* over them. Brush guards are small plastic mesh tubes designed to keep the shape of your brushes. They're great for when you're brush cleaning but also when you're travelling! I tend to only use the brush guards on fluffier brushes where the bristles lose their shape easily or old brushes whose bristles are getting on a bit and can't remember which way they're supposed to go anymore. Finally I place them all in the Benjabelle Brush Trees. These trees are great. They keep the brushes upside down to avoid water getting up inside the ferrule to help your babies last longer!
Done! Mmm. Pretty clean brushes. Make sure you clean the handles too!