A client asked, ‘How often do I need to clean my brushes?’.
My knee jerk response was ‘as often as you clean your silverware’.
At first glance, this felt like a ‘smart donkey’ answer.
Someone once told me, “I know it’s time to clean my brushes when I start breaking out”.
I am chuckling as I write this because it’s at least good to have a system to know when to clean your brushes.
However if you know that the results of not cleaning your brushes is skin irritation perhaps you might want to do it a little sooner. (still a smart donkey)
side note- Cleaning brushes is fast and easy so please don’t sigh and think who has the time. After reading this you will want to clean your brushes and I will share the 2 best methods I know.
- Every time our brush touches our skin it picks up some oils and with that bacteria.
- Left to its own devices, bacteria will continue to grow in our brush.
- The next day we use that brush, we brush that growing bacteria onto our skin while adding new oils/bacteria to our brush.
- This cycle continues and accelerates until we put a stop to it.
- Bacteria quickly breaks down the integrity of the brush hairs and the brush becomes unmanageable.
- Skin oil ‘glazes’ (a layer of congealed oil) our makeup and makes it difficult to pick up with our brush.*
- Bacteria breaks down our makeup product and diminishes its quality.
1- Quick Dry Brush Cleaner (after each use)
2- Shampoo (suggested weekly if using brushes daily)
Shampooing my brushes everyday takes time and they take forever to dry.
For brushes used with dry product (eyeshadow, powder etc.)
Spray a tissue or paper towel and swirl the brush hairs vigorously on the paper towel.
Brushes are ready to use in 5-10 seconds.
Also ideal for using the same brush for different colors during the same application.
Wet product requires deeper cleansing, Spray brush hairs directly and swirl the brush hairs vigorously on the paper towel.
Watch Complete Quick Dry Brush Clean Video
2- Shampoo (suggested weekly if using brushes daily)
What shampoo do I use?
Pantene shampoo & conditioner in one.
When I first started working with beauty makeup I truly knew very little on the subject.
Very early in my makeup career when I was representing Chanel a peer asked me how I clean your brushes?
My response was ‘clean your brushes’?. I never have. She look cross-eyed at me.
I did a little research and it was suggested to clean my brushes with gentle shampoo.
I said what the heck I’ll give it a try.
I half-filled my sink with some warm water and mixed in some gentle shampoo.
I plunged my brushes hair first into the water and to my shock the water turned immediately a deep purple Grey.
As I swished the brush hairs in the water it just turned almost a grey black.
I drained the water and did it again and this time the result was only a light grey so I thought this must be doing something.
After the second wash I rinsed out the brushes. I then squeezed out excess water and let the brushes sit on my bathroom counter with the hair hanging over the edge of the counter to air-dry.
The next day I was blown away how beautifully and softly my brushes applied makeup.
Above is how I suggest you shampoo your brushes.
Watch Complete Brush Shampoo Video
Why Pantene Shampoo & Conditioner in one?
It effectively and thoroughly cleans your brushes while maintaining just the right amount of conditioning to keep brush hairs supple.
A common recommendation for brush shampoo is baby shampoo. I do not recommend this. It is too drying. The idea of a gentle baby shampoo sounds harmless, but it will dry brush hairs and make them brittle. An internet answer to this issue is mixing a little olive oil with baby shampoo. The oil is meant to provide a little conditioning for the hairs of the brush.
I strongly urge you to not follow this recipe.
Olive oil and really almost any kind of household oil molecule is too big for your brush hairs. What happens is the oil gets into the hair but very difficult to take out without completely stripping the integrity of the brush hairs.
The brush becomes somewhat limp and heavy and loses all of its life and playfulness when applying makeup.
My New Year’s resolution wish for you is to treat your makeup brush hygiene the same as your silverware.
Your makeup will go on better.
Your brushes will last longer.
Your makeup will last longer.
Your skin will be happy.
5th of January, 2017
Happy New Year
*If you find that makeup is not picking up on your brush well due to glazing, I suggest using a table knife and very gently scraping off just a very thin top surface of your product. What you are doing is removing the glaze from the congealed oils from your skin that have settled on the top of your makeup. By doing this you refresh your makeup so that it is clean once again and much more easy to use. It will also extend the life of your product.
CHRIS SCOTT, M.A. is the creator of San Francisco-based Makeup Gourmet®. Over his nearly 30-year career, in addition to doing makeup for top models from every corner of the planet, he also had the honor of working for legends like Paul McCartney, US Vice President Al Gore, Shirley Temple Black, Maya Angelou and Olympic Gold medalists Oksana Baiul and Kristi Yamaguchi. He was the creator and host of the TV show ‘Makeup Gourmet’ from 2008 – 2010. He was a leading Chanel Beauté national artist for over two decades, and is also the creator and guest teacher of Fashion Makeup at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He created his unique Makeup Gourmet line to ensure his clients and the public could have access to high-quality, ethically produced, ‘green’ makeup and skincare with a low-carbon footprint. Chris is also the author of Cosmetic Counter Survival Guide: How to Buy the Right Skin Care and Makeup and the international #1 bestseller Face with a Heart: Mastering Authentic Beauty Makeup.
‘The grass is always greener where you water it.’