Sunday, June 28, 2009

Good Habits: Brush Care 101

As many of you well know, I'm a self-proclaimed brush whore - and I know I'm not alone. How many of you have invested hundreds of dollars (if you're brave enough to total up what you've spent over the years) on brushes, but don't take proper care of them? Properly cared for, brushes can last forever. I remember the first time I washed one of my makeup brushes. It had never even occured to me that they should be washed regularly. The same brush was used for years with different products, different shades - you name it. When I washed it, it was absolutely gross! I think I had to wash it for close to half an hour before that sucker came clean.

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately that talk about washing makeup brushes. Rather than commenting all over the place, I thought I'd post my own two cents here. Caring for your makeup brushes isn't difficult, and isn't time consuming, providing you do it on a regular basis. Here's some quick and important tips:

  • If you change shadow, liner or blush colors daily, wash those brushes daily. You don't want to cross the colors over, or you'll end up with all new shades you didn't intend. I keep a jar of Parian Spirit on my bathroom counter. It's in a glass jar with a mesh screen near the bottom - use the brush, dip it in the jar and run across the mesh screen, and rinse. The color will sink to the bottom of the jar, below the screen. Hang them or lay them on their sides with hairs hanging over the edge of your sink to dry.

  • Foundation brushes, sponges, Beauty Blenders, powder brushes should be washed weekly. I set Sunday mornings aside for deep brush cleaning day. Every brush I've used that week (even the brushes already cleaned with Parian Spirit) get washed after I've put on my makeup on Sunday and hung out to dry.

If you suffer from acne or have any kind of open sores on your skin, wash those brushes daily to prevent cross contamination.

Dry your brushes by hanging them to dry (wrap a rubberband around the handle and hang from a towel hook), or cover your brush with our brush protectors and stand them hair side down in a cup. This will keep the water from getting into the ferrule of your brush, loosening the glue. If not, you'll end up with a brush in 2 pieces before you know it!

  • Save money - of all the brush cleaners, shampoos and soaps that I've tried, I find that the absolute best product is Dr. Bronner's Pure Castille Soap. It's inexpensive, readily found at chain drugstores, Target, health food stores, and of course, on my website. This product cleans so well, I use it to clean my equipment!

Fluffy brushes or those that aren't big and dense - such as shadow brushes, concealer brushes, and blush brushes dry pretty quickly - often in 30 min or less. By the time I'm done getting dressed, my brushes are dry and ready to go back into their cup. Dense ones will take longer - several hours isn't unusual. Expect even longer if your brushes are made of dense, synthetic hair. If you use synthetic brushes, pick a day of the week where you have plenty of time from washing to next use - or have 2 of those brushes so that you can use one while the other dries. I've had some synthetic brushes actually take over a day to dry.

Slightly off topic, but do you know which type of brush works best for which type of product? Natural hair brushes work best for loose powders - they trap and release the powders much easier and smoothly than synthetic. Liquid and/or cream based products should be used with synthetic hairs, which won't absorb the product, and allow it to sit on the edge of the hairs.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for the tips. I've been wondering about how best to wash brushes.

    I checked Milo to see where I could pick up Dr. Bronner's Castile soap in my local stores and I was shocked that Eastern Mountain Sports carries it! Now I know where I can pick it up near me.


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