Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Care for brushes

To keep with yesterday's post about brushes, here is some information on how to take care of them.


I highly recommend storing the brushes in a brush case. If you buy a set, it will usually come in a case or bag of sorts and you can use that. You can store them really whichever way you want but, to increase the longevity of your brushes, you want to store them in a way that the bristles can't be damaged.  So throwing them in a makeup bag is NOT a good idea, unless it's for a short period of time (e.g., when traveling) but even then, I wouldn't recommend it.  Store them carefully and they will last for a long time.


Brushes should be cleaned regularly. That will help both keep them in good shape for a long time and also keep them clean in terms of color cross-contamination and bacteria.  There are a number of ways that you can clean brushes. Here are some options.

Warm Water and Baby Shampoo

It's pretty much exactly like it sounds. Take your makeup brush and get the bristles wet with warm water. Then put a small amount of baby shampoo on the bristles and massage to get the color out. Rinse the bristles well with more warm water. Use a towel to remove the excess water from the bristles, making sure to reshape the brush to something close to its original shape. It's very akin to working with your own hair. ;) Let the brush air dry.

The advantage of this method is that it's fairly inexpensive as baby shampoo is not costly and a small bottle will last you a long time. The disadvantage is that it takes a long time for the brushes to dry (about 24 hours). So you likely won't be able to do this very frequently.

I usually use this method for big fluffy brushes like my kabuki brush, my powder brush, and my blush brush. That's the best method to get the colors out of the brush and clean them real good.

Makeup Brush Cleanser

Makeup brush cleansers come in all kinds of formula. I've tried the one by e.l.f. before and wrote a review on it. I'm not using it. The one that I do like is by MAC (which I talk about in that e.l.f. product review). The instructions on the bottle say to pour some cleanser over the brush bristles and then reshape the brush and let dry. I've seen MAC stores where they have a jar of it and will dip the brush in it (just the bristles) and then they will wipe it over the a tissue. The method I use, which I've seen done by my favorite MAC consultant is to pour a little amount on a tissue, wipe the brush back and forth until all the color is out, reshape the brush, and let dry (I put it back in the case to dry). This latter method uses the least amount of product.

The advantage of the makeup brush cleanser (MAC or other one that has alcohol in it) is that, since it has a little bit of alcohol in it, it will dry off much faster and you can technically use the brush in like 20-30 minutes but I usually wait longer to make sure that it's completely dry. In addition, they claim that the product helps condition the brushes. I don't think that it's that much more conditioning than the baby shampoo would do so I'm not sure that it's an advantage really but I haven't tested it. The disadvantage is that it's a little pricey at 14$ but it does a splendid job so I feel that it's well worth the price.

I usually use this method for all my brushes for eye makeup. I clean these more frequently (see below) and they require a faster drying method.

Frequency of Cleaning

I have friends who I have had to chide for the frequency of cleaning the makeup brushes... they *may* do it once a year. That is WAY too infrequent, unless you really don't wear makeup often.

I clean my eye makeup brushes after every use. Yes, I do. The main reason for that is to ensure that there is less cross-contamination of colors. If you don't clean your brushes after use, even if you wipe them and think that there isn't color left because you can't see it, there is still color in the bristles, just not visible to the eye... but it will affect the color that you are trying to apply next. So if you've had that issue where the color isn't quite right, it could be because you're using a brush that needs to be cleaned.  Also, it's a good idea to clean those frequently since they are being used around the eye area.

I clean the big fluffy brushes about once every 6 months, though I should probably do once every quarter just for good measure. These brushes always have the same product or near same product (I don't have drastic differences in the blush colors I use) every time so there is less cross-contamination of color (or none if we're talking about the loose powder).

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