I feel slightly hypocritical writing this post as I'm the first to admit that I'm incredibly lazy when it comes to cleaning my make up brushes. For a long time I didn't bother at all (shock horror) until I realised how much of a negative effect it was having on my skin. Whenever I buy new brushes I realise how much clearer and healthier my skin looks and I can't believe how long it took me to put two and two together. If, like me, you have blemish prone skin it can be especially important to keep your brushes clean and product free as bacteria can so easily be spread around the face. Since I've been cleaning my brushes regularly I've noticed that my skin has broken out a lot less often and I'm getting fewer of those annoying 'bumps' under the skin - hoorah!
Although many brands offer special brush cleaning lotions and tonics these can be pricey and may not actually be the best for your brushes as some include chemicals too harsh for such fine brush hairs. Instead, it's often best to use baby shampoo as it's gentle enough to clean the brushes and remove product residue without damaging the brush. It's also a lot cheaper; you can find a range of baby shampoo's in places like Poundland and the bottles are far bigger too. You may like to invest in a special conditioning make up brush cleaner such as the Bobbi Brown option (find that here) but my tip would be to use these for a proper 'deep clean' every few months and keep to the gentle baby shampoo for regular washes in between. I follow these 5 simple steps when cleaning my brushes;
- Fill a sink half way with lukewarm water; it's best to do this as when cleaning brushes over the sink it will prevent any product residue staining the basin! It's also a good idea to dip the brushes in this before cleaning so that the shampoo lathers well.
- Pour a small amount of shampoo onto the palm of your hand and gently swirl your brush around it in circular motions. Every now and again you may like to swish the brush around in the sink to remove any colourful lather.
- Rinse the brushes in warm water. Be sure to rinse the brush thoroughly until there is no lather left on the bristles. Get the water right into the middle of the brush; not just the outside bristles.
- Gently blot the brush on a clean, soft towel. Try not to ruin the natural shape of the brush or be too rough; then repeat these steps with all of your brushes.
- Leave the brushes to dry naturally; preferably overnight. I tend to wash my brushes in the morning straight after I've applied my make up so that they get plenty of time to dry before next time! Lay them out on a towel and rotate every few hours if you wish to ensure the brushes keep their shape and dry completely.
In terms of how often you clean your brushes it really is up to you! I've heard some people say you should do it once a month, once a week or even everyday (WHAT?!). I try to wash mine every week or two, but I'm not too harsh on myself with it. Although the process doesn't take long at all I just find it really tedious and I can't personally be bothered to wash them any more often. If my skin is going through a particularly bad stage I might choose to clean them more regularly, but I usually find just doing it every now and again is all right for me.