Artist Intel: Clean Makeup Brushes

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.

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; makeup artist Kimberley Frey 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 the small eye shadow brushes, but neither should take more than a few minutes.”

RELATED: In My Kit with Makeup Artist Karuna Chani

These solvents, though convenient time-savers for keeping your brushes adequately cleansed throughout the day, don’t provide enough cleaning power by themselves. “You should thoroughly wash your brushes at the end of each business day using an antibacterial cleaner/soap,” says Bock. She advises concentrating on washing the hairs only, and not the handle. “Handles can be gently wiped clean with a paper towel, if needed.” She explains that if you get wood handles wet, the wood may expand and contract, leading the handles to loosen from the ferrule.

Another cleaning faux pas: “Do not let the water or cleaner get inside of the ferrule,” Bock warns. “This can weaken the glue used to hold the hair, which not only causes shedding and loosening of the handle, but also ‘activates’ the glue, emitting an unpleasant odor.”

RELATED: In My Kit with Makeup Artist Katie Jane Hughes

And no matter how tempted you are to speed up the drying of your bristles, Bock advises against using a blow dryer or excessively rubbing them on a towel. “Just like with your hair, these two actions can cause breakage and frizz,” she says.

Finally, Frey says to “reshape the brush head to the desired shape and let it air-dry naturally on a clean towel, preferably lying down so water doesn’t collect in the ferrule.”

These cleaners will tidy your brushes in a jiffy!

Left to right -

Cozzette Aromatherapy Brush Cleaner

Cinema Secrets Professional Grade Makeup Brush Cleaner

MAC Cosmetics Brush Cleanser


[Images: Top - Getty Images, bottom - each manufacturer]

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment...