Clean Bristles

48 Ensure your makeup-brush bristles are as clean as a whistle for every service.

We’ve all heard the horror stories about sharing makeup—each swipe against the face is an opportunity for oil to adhere to the bristles; bacteria love proliferating in oil; dust collects on the bristles; etc., etc.; and before you know it, exchanges of bacteria transpire, breakouts… well… break out, and on extreme occasions, serious infections develop. Yet, as a makeup artist, your job requires you to, in essence, “share” your makeup—an unavoidable work hazard. In order to do this in the most responsible, sanitary way, you should be cleaning your makeup brushes often.


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How often? “Makeup artists should be cleaning their brushes after each client,” notes Karen Bock, creator of Brushes by Karen. “A quick-dry brush cleaning method is best for this.” Solvents that are considered “dry brush cleaners” sop up oils and pigments deposited on the bristles; Kimberley Frey, creative director of Brush Up with Barbara, says to spray the solvent onto the bristles until they are lightly saturated, then wipe the brush back and forth on a strong paper towel until all traces of the makeup are removed. “Make sure the brush is dry before using it to apply makeup to your next client,” she advises, adding, “The larger powder brushes take a little longer to dry than a small eye shadow brushes, but neither should take more than a few minutes.”

(Photo: Andreea Angelescu)