Monday, 11 February 2019

How I Clean My Makeup Brushes.

The best products for cleaning makeup brushes is something I always see discussed on makeup groups and is also a topic I talk about with my colleagues regularly. There are so many brilliant products out there made specifically to keep your brushes fresh and healthy, as well as those that aren't but have still wound up being firm favourites for many. The products I use do change from time to time but I thought I'd share with you the brush cleaning formula I have been sticking to over the past couple of years.

Brush Cleaner Routine, Makeup Brushes


One of my least favourite parts of my job is cleaning my brushes and because I primarily work in prosthetics I have a lot of stubborn glues and paints to remove on the regular. I find myself using less and less brushes per makeup over the years, I wonder if that's my brain sending subliminal messages about not wanting to clean too many at the end of the day. Either way, on the whole I always have a bag full of brushes that need to be washed. I've used various different brush cleaners, baby shampoos and washing up liquids over the years but in the last couple I've settled down with those pictured above.

I have two levels of brush cleaning, on set spot cleaning and sanitising between actors or shoots and at home deep cleaning when there is time for my brushes to fully dry. I'm going to start with the latter which is what I think most of you guys will be more familiar with.

Brush Cleaner Routine, Makeup Brushes

Both of these brush cleaners are my go to products and Real Techniques is generally my first port of call because it is very affordable. It's a gel, so I pop a bit in a shot glass to dip my brushes in then I can work up a lather on the Zoe Ayla mat before rinsing all the product back out.

These mats have really revolutionised brush cleaning, I remember many many years ago finding a dog grooming silicone mitt and using that to clean my brushes, now we have such a wide range of textured mats specifically created for our brushes. Goodbye MacGyver! I've linked it as best I can above but I think it might be a little tricky to find this one now, I got it from TKMaxx sometime last year I believe. Though fear not, there are so many others about. I liked this one because it was a great size but also suctions onto the sink which was an important feature.

Brush Cleaner Routine, Makeup Brushes

The other brush cleaner I use is by The London Brush Company and is a goats milk soap. A friend bought me one a few years back and I was so impressed that I replaced it as soon as it ran out. This is more expensive but it is brilliant, it gets out all the more stubborn pigments so I often reserve it for those brushes or any that the Real Techniques gel hasn't quite managed to blitz. For this you just have to wet your brush first, then you can rub it onto the soap before using the mat as usual. I love that it comes in a pot keeping the suds contained. There is also a vegan option of this soap but I've not tried it to be able to give you a comparison.

I should mention I also really enjoy the OSCA brush soap as well which I received a refill of at a makeup Christmas party last year. Being a refill it's a little harder to use but I think I've found a pot the right size for it. I've only used this a couple of times and had misplaced it when I took these photos but still wanted to give it a wee shout out because it also does a lovely job.

Brush Cleaner Routine, Makeup Brushes

As far as drying my brushes, I just squeeze them out and lay them on a towel somewhere warm, once they're mostly dry I can pop them in pots to save space but I don't want to allow too much water getting into the ferrule and wearing away the glue. I've seen those drying stands you can leave your brushes in upside down, which do look handy but I always have such large quantities to clean I'd need about 5 of them at once.

Brush Cleaner Routine, Makeup Brushes

I mentioned spot cleaning my brushes at work, these last two products are what I use for that. I can't always do a deep clean because there's not enough time for my brushes to dry off so if I'm short of time or I need to clean a brush between actors these are what I use.

The Make Up For Ever Instant Brush Cleanser is something I've had in my kit for a couple of years. As far as I can tell they've repackaged it now which will be a shame if the new bottle doesn't have a spray nozzle. This is great because it dries SO quickly. I think this is due to it being oil based so it's already a little less wet. I use this on my regular brushes, but prosthetics and oil don't mix so in those situations I just rely on good old IPA.

IPA stands for Isopropyl Alcohol and is something I think all makeup artists would tell you is a staple in their kit. We use 99% IPA to not only clean our brushes but to sanitise the rest of our kit and to activate our alcohol palettes. (for painting prosthetics amongst other things) This will draw out the product, sanitise your brush and due to such a high alcohol content it evaporates back off the brush quickly, I always have several bottles in my set bag because I know I will always need it. You can either dip your brush into a pot of it or spray it directly onto the bristles then clean off on tissue. I've linked above to the supplier I use because I buy in bulk 5litres at a time, however it is something you can buy from pro makeup shops and pharmacies due to it being used in first aid.

Before I finish I thought I'd quickly link to a few others I've used in the past and can also recommend...
- Cinema Secrets
- Parian Spirit
- Mac

I hope this is insightful to a few, I'm sure the majority of you have your favourite brush cleaners already. Leave me a quick comment if you love to use one that I've not mentioned.



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