Monday, January 28, 2013

How I Clean My Makeup Brushes

Picture taken from Instagram

There are many ways to clean brushes. Many brush-centric (MAC, Shu Uemura) companies sell accompanying brush cleaners while some make brush soaps (Becca). I've always shied away from them because the cleaners include alcohol, which I believe damage the brush hairs in the long run. My method takes longer, but ensures that my brushes are baby soft no matter how many washes they go through.

I treat brush maintenance with the same zealousness as my haircare routine. I use whatever shampoo and conditioner I have in my current rotation to clean my brushes. Just wet it, lather up, rinse under warm water, condition, then rinse again. Be sure to hold your brush head down while washing so water doesn't seep into the ferrule and weaken the glue that holds the hair together. I dry my brushes over the edge of a table to maintain the shape. If you think about it, the process is almost exactly like washing hair.

Since I wash my hair with Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo (we have to talk about this one day. For now, one word: awesome), I have perhaps the world's most pampered brushes.

I took an hour to thoroughly clean thirty brushes. Bending over the sink wasn't fun, but the waking up to a row of like-new brushes the next morning? Priceless.

25 comments:

  1. Haha I'm glad you got a blog post out of the brush-washing pain! I have been using Philosophy Purity Made Simple to clean my brushes. While I've found better stuff to use on my face, that baby cleans brushes like nobody's business! That or I use a gentle shampoo or even a pet shampoo :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. This makes sense - I used to use my regular shampoo on my brushes (which is a gentle SLS-free shampoo). I switched to diluted Dr. Bronners a bit ago for my synthetics for no particular reason, and I vary the routine with my natural hair brushes - diluted Dr. Bronners if they are really dirty, shampoo usually, just a rinse sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Do you cleanse your brushes between uses? I'm still struggling to find a good brush cleanser.

    I use organic shampoo on my brushes. Some of mine have synthetic dye and it fades with regular shampoo. For foundation, concealer, gel liner brushes (synthetic brushes), I use anti-bacteria hand soap that contains vitamin E and a bit of lotion. My method has kept my brush clean and soft. I've tried the oil+soap method and it was really hard to get rid of the oil.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No I don't. A lot of the ones I *should* clean (like the eye brushes) are Shu Uemura Kolinskys and just wiping them against a paper towel usually cleans the excess makeup off.

      Delete
  4. I use Dr. Bronner's on my brushes; lathers well, rinses clean, and is fairly gentle. Also, this may be relevant to your interests: http://www.benjabelle.com/collections/brush-trees

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. seems like Dr. Bronner's is a popular choice!

      Delete
    2. Xiao, question for you - what are the ingredients in the shampoo you use? Does it have sulfates in it? It looks amazing but I avoid sulfates in my shampoo and conditioner.

      Delete
  5. The alcohol in those brush cleaners are definitely not great for brushes with natural hair. I wonder if it's a problem with synthetic brushes tho? I kinda like to wash my brushes weirdly enough. There is just something really satisfying about seeing all the dirt being washed away, lol!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I expend less effort with my synthetics :) Sometimes I use my facial cleanser for them since they're particularly hard to clean otherwise

      Delete
  6. I wash and dry my brushes the same way. I use the same sulfate free hydrating shampoos on my natural bristled brushes as I do my hair. For my synthetics, sometimes I'll use gentle hand soaps to get rid of more oil and bacteria. My brushes have retained their softness and shape for years, so the method must be working.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm so glad you talked about this! I've always been a bit askance of washing makeup brushes with regular shampoo/conditioner, but I guess it really is okay to do. I've only tried Sephora's brush cleaner (meh) and Daiso detergent. Now I'm using Dr. Bronner's baby shampoo (the sea green one) diluted with water. It seems to work much faster at cleaning than the other two I've tried. I always do a final clean rinse with water + baby oil. I do find that the Dr. Bronner tends to leave my brushes feeling a bit dry, but I like to give each brush at least two shampoos... cause I need to get every bit of product out of there.

    I saw a blog post a few weeks back where someone used a shoe box for drying makeup brushes upside down. Made holes at the top or something and hung them to dry. Thought it was clever, although I usually don't mess with DIY. I love the brush tree link someone posted up there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. try conditioning them after!

      I think those ideas are great, but I've been drying my brushes like that for years and nothing bad has happened, so I'll stick with my routine :) honestly, I just don't want to spend the time/money ><

      Delete
  8. Hi Xiao! Its such a coincidence that you've written this post because I just tried washing my brushes for the first time yesterday and am having problems with my blush brushes :(

    They seem to have dried but they're not fluffy and soft, kind of stiff and for want of a better description, greasy? I first washed them with shu uemura cleansing oil and rinsed off with warm water. After that didn't work I washed them again with regular shampoo but this morning my Shu 20 and 20H are still clumpy :(

    Initially I thought it was due to the residual oils but after two attempts at rewashing it's still not fluffy. Not sure what I'm doing wrong :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I should mention that my Hakuhodo 210 washed fine so I'm not sure if its the longer haired brushes that are just harder to dry?

      Delete
    2. ah, i don't know what happened there :( maybe there's just not enough oil in there (like you know how if you apply not enough to your face and try to emulsify it, your face still ends up vaguely oily?)

      I would try conditioning it maybe?

      Delete
  9. Mevin Murphy born.again treatment makes brushes feel so soft after washing with shampoo or cleanser. I like wrapping blu tack around the handle to hang brushes to drip dry. I attach mine to the side of a shelf so it's out of the way.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Xiao, I was so pleased to see this post, mainly because you dry your brushes the exact same way I do. I've read from other bloggers and seen in Youtube videos that you shouldn't dry your brushes on their side (the water rots the glue in the ferrule and loosens it?), but instead hanging down in some way. Well, I got those brush guard things and tried drying my fatter powder brushes facing down and they take DAYS to dry (if at all), which makes me worry about something growing inside them! So I decided, I don't care what they say- they dry beautifully and QUICKLY on their side, hanging over an edge, as you've done. Sorry that was long, but thanks for sharing your methods :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I HATE BRUSH GUARDS. They ruin and splay my brush hairs /wave fists

      Delete
  11. Your brushes are pampered indeed! If I recall correctly, Lisa Eldridge recommended using a cheapo two-in-one shampoo and conditioner for washing brushes. I'm glad I'm not the only person who is meticulous about brush care. I will put the Shu shampoo on my to-buy list, but will reserve it exclusively for my head of hair. On the plus side, Xiao, since your hair is short, you don't have to use more than a dime-sized amount of shampoo!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would use even less if the pump allowed me to!

      Delete
  12. Hahaha I agree that washing brushes is a pain especially when I have been lazy and hence my brush is dirty (oops :p). But I agree to say that the feeling of using a newly washed brush is just sooo nice :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have a little OCD with my brush cleansing. My normal routine is the one you described but every 2-3 deep cleanings I do an extra step:
    After they are dry I use the oil mix I use on my hair, let them sit overnight and the next day I shampoo them again, condition them and let them dry. And they get so divinely soooooft...... I told you I have OCD :)
    -Marianthi-

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yep, those are happy pampered bristles! I use Avalon Organics Rosemary shampoo on mine. They are not complaining so I'll keep using it lol.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I use up the shampoo I don't like on my makeup brushes.
    Your post is making me reconsider this.
    I should pamper my face as much as you pamper your brushes!
    XD

    ReplyDelete
  16. Xiao, we are BRUSH CLEANING TWINS!!! I use the exact same method and for the exact same reasons you listed: any alcohol in a brush cleaning product, even the tiniest amount, destroys the bristles after several applications. Not only are my brushes also incredibly silky (and shiny too, come to think of it!) but they smell amazing!

    ReplyDelete

Hi, lovelies. Due to excessive spam, I would appreciate it if you refrain from including self-promoting links in your comments! This ensures that your comment will be visible and keeps the section clean. I look forward to hearing from you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...