How To: Clean Makeup Brushes for Next to Nothing

Friday 4 June 2010

Ok, I'm paying it forward with this one. This method of cleaning your make-up brushes was one I learnt after watching a video tutorial from the amazing Miss Michelle Phan, and she in turn learnt it from an oil painting class, so we're all just spreading the love and letting more people know about this method.

It's genius, because its dirt cheap, and you can use things you'll already have around the house, rather than spending a fortune on brush cleansers. You're supposed to clean brushes around once a week, but its generally okay to leave them a bit longer, with the exception of foundation and concealer brushes, which you should do even more frequently.

I was slightly sceptical of how well this would work at first, but after trying it out, I'm really impressed. This method will clean, sanitize and condition your make-up brushes and leave them as good as new.

You'll need:

  • Some antibacterial dish soap (washing-up liquid) - Fairy etc.
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • A large plate
  • A wide rimmed cup
  • Some paper towels
Here's how it works:

  • Squirt equal amounts of the dish washing soap and the olive oil on your clean plate. An amount about the size of a playing card should do for each - depending on how many brushes you have to clean
  • Take your brush and swirl it back and forth, first in the dish soap, then in the olive oil. You'll see the colour pigments from old cosmetics come out and make a paste. The antibacterial dish soap kills all the germs on the brush, and cleans and sterilises really effectively, but on its own, it would ruin the condition of the bristles. The olive oil is the best natural conditioner around, and will leave your brushes silky smooth, restoring the condition of the bristles.
  • Run the coated brush back and forth in the palm of your hand to gently work the cleaning mixture in. This is apparently what artists do to clean their brushes.
  • Rinse the brush under lukewarm running water. To protect the glue holding the bristles in the barrel, always point the brush downwards. Never let water run up into the barrel as this risks melting the glue and making the bristles shed, ruining the brush. This is also why you should use only lukewarm water - anything hotter might run the same risk. Rinse until the water runs clear.
  • When finished rinsing, gently blot the bristles with kitchen paper to mop up the excess water and shape the bristles with your fingers to ensure they dry straight
  • Dry the brush by placing it in a wide-rimmed tumbler or glass, again with the bristles pointing downward so any excess water runs down into the glass, not back into the barrel. Prop the brush up and leave to dry overnight. Most brushes will be dry by morning, but some, such as a thick powder or a kabuki brush may take two days, depending on how warm the atmosphere is.
And there we go - simple, easy, really cheap and amazing results.

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