Cleaning make-up brushes is something I do after every job and it’s a makeup artist’s cross to bear. That said, you don’t need to be quite so devoted – I recommend cleaning brushes used for powders once every couple of months or so, and brushes used with cream products (like concealers) twice a month or more.
If you’re using a small brush with a gel eyeliner, then it might need cleaning after every few uses, because the product is meant to set to a long-lasting finish and the brush will get stiff with dried pigment.
To clean your brushes, I recommend Dr. Bronner’s Fair Trade and Organic Castile Liquid Soap. Those kooky labels that you’ve never read are covered with Dr. Bronner’s personal philosophy, referred to as the “Moral ABC,” at the heart of which is the idea of spiritual unity, or “All-One!” Take a closer look at one of the labels next time you’re in Target, or better yet, go to Bronner’s website and read while in bed, because doing so will probably put you to sleep.
The charm of the Bronner story notwithstanding, the product continues to be one of the most versatile cleaning products in existence. The “18 in 1” claim is true, for indeed one can clean one’s entire body and house with this stuff – add baking soda and white vinegar and bring down the likes of Proctor and Gamble once and for all. The original Peppermint formula now comes in multiple scents, including Tea Tree, Rose, Almond, Eucalyptus, Baby Mild (unscented), Lavender and my new personal favorite, Citrus.
Basic brush cleaning technique: use about 1 part soap (you can try any liquid soap or shampoo, really – in fact, you can clean your brushes and wash your face with this one!) to 10 parts water. Lather up, rinse very, very well, squeeze out and lay flat to dry. Good idea to do this at night so the brushes are completely dry by morning. Heed my words, because using an even slightly damp brush on a powder product will render the latter useless by compacting the pigment into something with the consistency of a hockey puck.
Seasonal tip: in the summer humidity, brushes can take forever to dry, so I use a towel to blot the excess moisture, especially from the larger ones. In the winter, they’ll dry much faster, just like your skin (note to author: future post topic).
Clean brushes smell nice, feel plush and are good for you. Off you go, then….