Monday, February 11, 2013

Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes - 101

Since I am often running from client to client and pulling wardrobe for photo shoot after photo shoot, lingering in any one store purely for pleasure is a thing of the past. So, it was quite the shock when I perused the aisles of a popular beauty spot only to find what could possibly be the messiest tester units I have ever seen.

Being in the beauty biz for as long as I have, I have developed what one might call a "physical" reaction to even the idea of dirty lipsticks, smeared eye shadow, unwashed brushes, and used mascara wands.

Why even as I write I have to pause (gulp) to regain my composure.

Fresh out of beauty school I did an event for a prominent makeup line at a she-she luxury store, where I was shocked to see that I was the only artist who had alcohol wipes or any means of sanitizing brushes between clients. I suspect this is because so few counter artists have formal beauty school training in sanitary procedures. And, of course over the years I have heard some hellacious stories from models that have fallen victim to unclean brushes and makeup palettes, which led to some serious doctor bills!

So the next time you are happily trying on makeup at your favorite mall joint, please dear readers keep this in mind:

Brushes accumulate makeup, oil, dead skin cells, and so much more. If not cleaned between uses brushes will harbor bacteria. Opt for using the cosmetic counter clean disposable brushes for lips, eyes, and lashes. For everything else use a clean sponge. If they don't provide these run as fast as those Manolo's can take you!

Anytime you book a makeup application at a makeup counter don't be afraid to ask questions: Were those brushes used on anyone prior to you? Have they been sanitized? How do you clean your brushes at this counter?

At home be sure to clean your brushes at least once a week with a mild organic shampoo or soap like Dr. Bronner's or an organic laundry soap, this will not only rid your brushes of the bacteria but your makeup will go on more smoothly and your skin will thank you. Though there are several brush cleaners on the market, many contain harsh chemicals-simple cleansers do the job just as well.

My favorite method for cleaning brushes is as follows:
Wet brushes in warm water, put a bit of soap/shampoo in the palm of your hand and swirl the brush around, work the cleanser through to the ends and rinse, repeat until the brushes are thoroughly clean.

Squeeze out excess water in a towel and lay brushes flat to dry on a separate towel.

Don't stand your brushes up to dry, eventually the water that drips into the ferrule (metal piece that attaches the handle to the brush) will weaken the glue and you will find yourself with topless brush handles.

Once the brushes are dry wipe them off again with a cotton pad and tea tree oil or alcohol to be sure that all bacteria is completely removed.

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