How to Clean Makeup Brushes Like a Professional Makeup Artist

clean makeup brushesYou are going to want to clean makeup brushes when you have a lot of money invested in them. It is easy to invest over $200 in this type of makeup equipment easily. The last thing you want is to have them turn stiff, rough and unusable when you are creating a work of art with makeup. So, you need to clean and care for your brushes as a professional makeup artist cares for theirs.

Why You Need to Wash Your Makeup Brushes

Washing your makeup brushes will keep them in great shape and remove all of the gunk that collects on them. We have an awful lot of stuff living on our skin. It is normal to have yeast, mold and bacteria growing on our skin at all times. If that isn’t enough, we also have skin parasites. It sounds horrible, but this is how nature protects us from bacteria, viruses and other parasites that will harm us. Natural likes to keep these sorts of things in balance and that is how it is done. You might not know about it, but this is the way it is. It is gross, so I’m sure you don’t want to dwell on it. But you don’t want this stuff building up on your brushes.

When you use a makeup brush on a person, it is picking up all the things that are living on their skin. In all likelihood it is pretty much the same stuff that is living on your skin, but why take the chance?  There are some things that you do not want to pick up from another person’s skin like ring worm and other contagions that are far from beneficial for your skin. So, after using your brushes on another person then you should wash them. And really, even if you are the only one who uses your makeup brushes, you do need to clean them from time to time. Makeup and oils, bacteria and yeast will build up on there and render your brush useless after a while.

How to Wash Your Makeup Brushes

The Shampoo Wash Method

Put a couple of drops of hair shampoo on your hand and wet your makeup brush. Then rub your brush around on your hand to work up a lather. Once you have a good lather going, you can rinse your brush under the faucet, but be careful to hold your brush with the handle up at all times. You do not want to get water up under that metal band where the bristles are glued in. If you do then it will degrade the glue and the bristles will start to fall out. Once you can no longer get suds out of the brush, dry it by squeezing the bristles in a clean dry towel. Then reshape your brush and lay it down on a towel to dry.

You can also use a liquid dish detergent to do the job, like the product Dawn. All the varieties of Dawn are great degreasers and work wonderfully to clean a dirty brush.

Bath Bar Wash Method

You might think of a bath bar as a bar of soap, but not all bars of soap are actually bars of soap. In the case of washing your makeup brushes you definitely do not want a bar of soap. The reason to avoid soap for this is because soap leaves a mineral residue. You want your makeup brush to rinse clean and soap is going to leave behind the slightest layer of soap scum. That is only going to collect and build up more crud on your brush faster. So, what you need is a detergent bar. Any deodorant bath bar is detergent and really most bath bars are detergent, not soap. If the word soap is written on the label, then skip that one. If ingredients include sodium palmitate or tallowate, or something that sounds like it then it contains soap. Pick a bar that doesn’t contain those things.

Hold your bath bar under the running water to get it wet.  Get your brush wet then rub your brush on the bath bar for a few seconds to make some suds. Put your bath bar down and work up a lather on the brush with your fingers. Add more from the bath bar if you need to. Once you have a good lather going then rinse well so you don’t have any more suds, avoiding getting water under the metal that holds the bristles in. Squeeze the bristles in a clean, dry towel, reshape it and lay it down to dry.

Clearing out a Big Makeup Load from the Brush

There are times you’ll have a brush that is just loaded with too much makeup. This is when a little olive oil or mineral oil can help break it up. Of course you don’t want to throw out an expensive brush!  You have to give it your best shot to save it.

Put a few drops of oil on your fingertips and massage the oil into the brush. Massage that oil while trying to break up that stuck and gummed up makeup in the brush. Most of the time the makeup will start working itself free of the brush right away, then you can wash it with some Dawn dish washing liquid. Dawn is going to work the best at getting all the olive oil out of your brush.

Cleaning Brush Handles

You should clean your brush handles every time you use your brushes. Hands are filthy and you are leaving a little bit of everything you touched on your makeup handle every time you use it. So, have baby wipes with your makeup so you can wipe them down or you can use your eyeglass cleaning solution spray. Give them a spritz or two and wipe them with a towel before putting them away.

Brush Handle Tip

As we use brushes, their finish tends to get worn off over time. You might lose the manufacturer’s name or the brush number that is painted on it. It is easy to keep that information from wearing off by painting it with clear nail polish. One coat should preserve that printed information on the brush for a long, long time.

How to Soften Brush Bristles

If you have expensive makeup brushes then they are probably made from animal hair. That hair can be softened the same way you soften your hair, with hair conditioner!  So, wash your brush with one of the methods used above and then add a drop of hair conditioner to your brush. Massage in the hair conditioner and let it sit for one minute then rinse it out. Squeeze out the excess water, squeeze the bristles in a clean, dry towel, reshape the brush and lay it out to dry.

Buy Brush Cleaner

There is a makeup brush cleaner that gets rave reviews called Colorescience Brush Cleaner Spray. It has a wonderful scent because it is made with orange and lemon essences. It is used by spraying a cloth and then using the cloth to work through the bristles on your brush. You can use it every time you use your brush on another person or once a week for your personal brushes.

How Often to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

It is recommended that you clean makeup brushes at least once a month, but cleaning them every week is better. You don’t want a bunch of makeup to build up on the brushes because that is going to harm the brushes. You will also create a lot of skin problems if you use dirty brushes that are loaded with bacteria, yeast, mold and worse. So, clean them often. If you use them on other people then clean them every time.

Fun Makeup Tips and Tricks

Now that you have clean makeup brushes to work with and have reduced the amount of bacteria, mold and yeast that goes on your skin, you will have cleaner skin!  So, celebrate by learning some really cool makeup tips for all skin tones, learn Marie Claire’s beauty genius tips and also take a class on mastering the art of color for makeup application.

If you want to learn how to apply makeup like a professional then there are classes you can take online for that also. Professional makeup artists apply makeup on television and movie sets but they also apply makeup for brides just before their wedding and in salons that cater to women who have special occasions coming up. Makeup artists also work in large theaters to apply makeup to the actors.