Advice / Clear Skin / How To / Makeup

Makeup Brushes: What I use and how to clean them!

I had my introduction to makeup via my mother and her savvy Avon selling abilities. I used to sneak into our hall closet on the TOP shelf – FYI, I was certainly one heck of a climber from a young age- and get into this pretty fantastic little container of about a THOUSAND lipsticks…all about an inch tall. Ok. Maybe not a thousand, but certainly at that young age, I thought so. Of course, years later I found out my Mom KNEW all my mission impossible-like moves. Who would have thought, what I thought was pretty good snooping/detective work- was actually not all that secret at ALL!

My love of makeup came young as I have stated a bajillion, few times, and with this also came my first little cheap set of makeup brushes. I really had no idea there was something more wonderful that my awesome little plastic case of brushes until I was well out of highschool (ok… I grew up in a small town, give a girl a break), and working for my very first makeup company. This was my first exposure into how expensive makeup brushes could be, and I LOVED my employee discount.

So, after 10+ years, I still get tons of questions about makeup brushes- what are the best, where can you skimp, how to wash, etc., so here’s my 2 cents.

Do I use inexpensive brushes?

Yup. In particular, I LOVE E.L.F. I often sing the praises of this company, but I truly mean it. In particular, I love the eye shadow brushes. In my opinion, you just can’t go wrong there. Plus, you seriously HAVE to check out their website here. They run fantastic 50% off deals all the time- I mean.. who can beat that, when a lot of their products are only $1?

Do I use expensive brushes?

Yup. I have a range. Some I love, some I wish I would have skipped. I have everything from Bare Escentuals, Aveda, to Mac and Japonesque. My favorite expensive brushes are Japonesque. As you can see here->

This is a picture of my set up at a recent Image

wedding. Love them.

You can check out the website here.

But you can also check them out at Ulta. That is where I purchased them, and I love them. They aren’t cheap, but Ulta often runs great 50% off deals on the brushes. (Current deal as of 9-19-13 is Buy 1 Get 1 50% off).

So, after all of that- how do you clean them?

Due to the expense of my Japonesque brushes, I did purchase the cleaner that they recommend. It is a good cleaner, but it’s also expensive. That being said, I can confidently say that after using it, I will go back to my faithful- baby shampoo and water.

A few tips to washing your brushes –

1. Why wash?

Bacteria on your skin, will transfer to your brushes, so if you wonder why your skin looks like a teenager? Start there.

2. How do I wash?

I start with warm water, put a little baby shampoo into my hand, dampen the brush facing DOWN. This means the bristles are facing toward the sink and the water is running with the bristles. This does not mean that the water is running into the bristles toward the brush.

Why? Because you don’t want to disrupt the bristles by pouring water directly into the center, and you don’t want to pour a bunch of water onto the wood that holds the bristles. Water soaks into wood…. I.E if you soak your brushes in water, or you leave them sitting in water, the water will soak in, and split the handle, or at the very least, the paint finish on the handle. No bueno.

After you have dampened your brush, brush it in a circular pattern on your hand in the baby shampoo until the shampoo runs clear… or likely white from the foam. Rinse, and lay flat on an absorbent towel.

How often?

I wash my personal brushes every other week. You are your best judge in this. I have a tendency to be oily rather than dry, so the chances of bacteria being on my skin are higher, due to moisture. This seems to keep my skin in check.

Brush no-no’s :

Do not leave your brushes soaking in a cup of water. You are guaranteed to ruin the handle. Learn from MY experience.

Do not run water directly into the bristles if the brush were standing on end, bristles up. This will ruin the shape of your brush,

You can, but I wouldn’t, use regular shampoo. Baby shampoo is cheap and gentle. If you want to maintain your brushes, gentle is better.

Do not get conned into buying something you don’t know about. Makeup sales-people are fantastic at their job, (believe me, I was one) – they may try to convince you that you ABSOLUTELY need that stippling brush- but if you don’t know how to use it, don’t drop down your hard earned money for it, until you are SURE you need it.

Last bit of advice- if you want to learn more about brushes- there is a fantastic makeup artist on YouTube, and he gives great tutorials on brushes, how to clean them, what to use, AND he just came out with his own line, which I have not had a had a chance to use yet, but let me just say- he knows his stuff. Check him out: He goes by Goss Makeup Artist. (I receive nothing for promoting him. I just dig him. If you guys know anything about me- I’m honest in my like or dislike for makeup products, or makeup artist personalities.)

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any questions!

Have a beautiful day!


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