Friday, August 31, 2012

How I Clean My Brushes

Well hi everyone! I've been putting off brush cleaning for a while now (I know, bad beauty blogger award), and I figured I'd photograph my process and exactly how I clean my brushes because I love seeing how other people do this. I've picked up tips from various beauty gurus and I'll let you know them along the way. So let's get started then! :)

These are the brushes that desperately needed cleaning! Most of them are ELF Studio brushes, but I also have two from MAC and one from Sephora's brush range. I think this is a pretty decent collection; the only ones I'd say I'm missing are a tapered blending brush (I currently use a MAC 275 which is fine, but not ideal) and an angled kabuki I'd like to use for foundation. I'm looking into Real Techniques and Sigma, so let me know if you have any suggestions!

I use a mixture of gentle dish soap and extra virgin olive oil to clean my brushes. This is a medium I picked up from Michelle Phan years ago and I've just stuck with it. The idea is that the dish soap will cleanse the brush while the oil will moisturize. Most of my brushes are made of synthetic bristles so I'm not sure how much moisturizing is going on, but I feel like the dish soap might be too harsh without the olive oil, and anyway, I prefer the consistency the oil gives. I know a lot of people use baby shampoo, but honestly, this works perfectly and I have no other use for baby shampoo in my life lol!

You'll also need two sheets of paper towel (one to immediately dry your brushes off and one to place your brushes on to dry).

Step 1: Place your brush under running tap water (cold-lukewarm is fine). Never hold the brush straight up underneath the faucet, otherwise the water will seep into the barrel, loosen the glue, and cause the bristles to fall out (Michelle Phan tip).

Step 2: Swirl the brush in your dish soap and olive oil mixture. This is where the majority of the cleaning will happen.

Step 3: Swirl the brush against the side of the sink to rinse out all the soap and dirt. Now is when you'll be able to see just how dirty your brush was. Yum.

Step 4: Dry your brush off with a sheet of paper towel.

Step 5: Place your brush lying flat on a paper towel, making sure the bristle are off the counter. (I'll explain why later)

For denser powder brushes and kabukis, you're going to want to use your hands/fingers to work the soap in. Also, it's important that you squeeze the water and excess soap out of the brush, otherwise your brush will retain all of it, and as I mentioned, it may seep into the barrel causing shedding. Additionally, if you skip this step, your brushes will take way longer to dry because they'll be so concentrated with water!

This is the largest brush I own (a MAC 134), and I just wanted to show you guys how much pigment it retains. Look at that mess in the sink! I feel like powder brushes appear to be the least dirty in use, but when you actually clean them you see just how gross they really are.

If it seemed like I was using a lot of oil and soap, rest assured that it was all used up! (Ew.)

So as you can see, I place all my brushes with the tips off the counter. The reason for this is because you want your brushes to dry up in their original shape. If you lie them flat on the paper towel, you'll have one 3D side and one flat side. Does that make any sense? Also, You'll want to keep a towel on the floor so any dripping can be soaked up. This is a tip I got from Allison (Amarixe on YouTube and Blogger).

I usually leave my brushes to dry over night, but honestly, for denser brushes it takes longer than that sometimes. If you see that they're not dry after 5-6 hours of air drying, feel free to use a blow dryer (on a very low setting).

And voila! Squeeky clean!

I hope you guys enjoyed reading this because it took me a while to get this post sorted! Brush cleaning is a long process but, alas, it needs to be done at least every couple of months (if you spot clean between washes, that is).

Do you clean your brushes similarly?

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