How to master the brush off
photo by lorin gaudin
Make-up brushes are an investment – luxury or drugstore brand – because they’re used regularly on your face and they require proper care. I am not a neat freak by any stretch of the imagination, but I do clean my makeup brushes every week, without fail. It probably doesn’t require noting that, with regular use, make-up brushes can be bacteria breeding grounds and a few minutes of prevention can mean the difference between clear or clogged skin.
In shops, nothing is more disturbing than dirty cosmetics displays and dirty brushes. Basically, it’s just another opportunity to pick up bacteria transferred from someone else’s face, lips or eyes. I won’t get my makeup done at a store unless I see the artist clean the brushes and the cosmetics before applying anything to my face and eyes.
Regular cleaning keeps dead skin cells, dirt, bacteria, old makeup and oils at bay while ensuring brushes stay soft and supple, extending their lifetime. Clean brushes also help with smooth makeup application. There are tons of brush-cleaning methods and products on the market, but simple is best. In short, all that’s is needed is cleanser, warm water and a towel or brush rack.
Always on the hunt for “the best” brush cleaner, there are solids, liquids and fancy cleansing mitts from which to choose, though many swear by ivory soap or even dish liquid (a gentle one, please). At Sephora, Ulta or any drugstore, there are a number of good brands on the shelves.
It takes some labor to use a liquid (swish in the palm of the hand or on a mitt), where a solid cleanser is a lazy person’s dream (wet bristles, swirl the brush across the cleanser, rinse and dry). Japonesque’s solid brush cleanser ($20) is easy to use and works very well but has a strong, masculine scent. For those who use a Beauty Blender sponge, there are both solid and BeautyBlender liquid cleansers ($17.95) that can also be used on brushes. The scent is soapy clean and doesn’t linger; a plus. The liquid isn’t as effective at cleaning bristles, requiring a second washing and therefore too much time, but it works excellently on the BeautyBlender sponge. Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castile Liquid Soap gets brushes clean easily, leaving behind a fresh scent.
Cinema Secrets brush cleaner is said to be the cosmetics industry gold standard; it’s a bit pricey (on Sephora’s website a 32-ounce bottle is $36), but it’s super easy to use: pour some into a bowl (or purchase a coordinating tin), swirl and swipe on a clean paper towel or cloth. Recently I ordered and tested the brush drying rack and cleanser from Benjabelle. The organic liquid cleanser worked beautifully and left my brushes clean, soft and scent-free. The “Brush Tree,” said to help keep water from the ferrule (metal neck) and take up less space, was silly – bulky and frankly unnecessary.
Spring into action and keep makeup brushes clean to reap the benefits of clearer skin, better brush life and sleek makeup application.
Lancôme Visionnaire Nuit Beauty Sleep Perfector. Slather it on at night, wake up with gorgeous, got-the-best-night’s-sleep-ever skin.