“How do I clean my brushes?”
This is one of the most commonly asked questions I get from my clients and trainees. Hint: the answer is NOT dish soap lol. There is a vast catalog of brush cleaners and shampoos on the market at any given time that preserves the longevity of the brush while sanitizing it thoroughly for the next client or for personal use.
Cleaning your makeup brushes regularly is essential for proper sanitation practices to avoid acne and other such bacterial issues on the skin, cross-contamination as well as to provide even and accurate product distribution on the face.
For Clients: How often should I clean my personal brushes?
Like selecting skincare and cosmetics, the answer to this question is personal to one’s lifestyle. How often you wear makeup, the type of makeup you wear and the brush type itself will all play a role in the deciding factor. Generally speaking, brushes should be cleaned with brush cleaner every day or two and shampooed every 10 days to two weeks.
For instance, if you find your liquid foundation brush is streaking while trying to apply your product, then you need to clean it. This typically happens to me after two liquid foundation applications.
For Pros: How often should I clean my brushes?
After each client, NO QUESTIONS ASKED. If I have a large party and time is of the essence – for a wedding or the like – I bring a general brush set for close to the number of people I’m working on. I say “close to” because I can clean my favorite blending brushes. etc in between each client but I don’t usually have time to clean them all.
Under no circumstances whatsoever do I use the same unsanitized brush on two clients. If the looks are to evolve on a shoot and there is more then one subject, their brushes are stored separately for reuse when the time comes to do so.
Because my professional makeup brushes are used more often than my personal stash, I shampoo them weekly or biweekly, as needed. I prefer using brush cleaners over-shampooing as they condition the bristols which assists in a soft application and preserves the lifetime of the brush. As opposed to using dish soap which dries the bristols out and can feel like scraping or poking on the client’s lids.
Use your discretion.
Professionals, you know how your brushes should look. I have some dual fiber and synthetic brushes that MUST be shampooed after every use because some pigments simply refuse to come out completely and my OCD needs the bristols looking WHITE.
My Fav Brush Cleaner & Shampoo
Below is my list of top five makeup brush cleaners and shampoos that I keep in the rotation and use after 15+ years in the biz.
Note to those with allergic reactions to ingredients: I’m loyal to all of the options listed because they thoroughly clean my brushes and are (in my experience) gluten and yeast allergy safe. I say this because I once used the Mac brush cleaner for almost a year before I realized it was making me sick, as the main ingredient is wheat protein and I’m highly sensitive to gluten and yeast.
This stuff is MY JAM! It’s an industry favorite and classic in the entertainment and salon spaces. It dissolves waterproof makeup, wax, liquid, LIPSTICK and powder residue from the brushes. It’s safe for both synthetic and natural hairs and kills 99.9% of bacteria while conditioning the bristols to expand brush life. It dries quickly, smells great and is non-carcinogenic.
Once upon a time, you had to order it from the studio in LA, now it’s basically everywhere. Sephora, Amazon, Overstock.com.
Downside: It’s expensive but deservingly so.
This brush cleaner has the skincare inside! “Alcohol-free formula with anti-aging peptides, antioxidants, hydrolyzed collagen and vitamins A, C and E is gentle on skin and brushes!” It conditions the brushes and is safe for both synthetic and natural hairs.
Downside: All that skincare leaves my hands and surrounding areas the brush cleaner comes into contact with greasy. Expensive for the amount of ounces in the bottle. The pumps break – which doesn’t bother me because I typically transfer it to a smaller bottle for my kit anyways.
I wrote about this one in my favorite gluten free brush cleaner post a while back! Check it out here!
My sister bought this for me as a gift a while back. I knew it was a mass line and didn’t expect to be as pleasantly surprised as I was WHEN IT ACTUALLY WORKED! It’s dermatologist-tested, hypoallergenic and made with plant-based ingredients. Plus its free of all that nasty stuff – parabens, phthalates, and petroleum-based ingredients.
Downside: it removes MOST makeup, more than 90%. That liquid lipstick, long-wearing foundation and gel eyeliner might need a hit of the brush cleaner prior to shampooing.
Where you at?!
Do you have a favorite of your own that’s allergy-friendly?? I’d love to hear about it! I’m always on the hunt for new products to try and write about.
Leave your feedback in the comments below and be sure to follow me across ALL social media @krisdelarenta!