Brushes, part 2 – Care & Feeding

So, at the end of yesterday’s post I said that Friday night was brush cleaning night – in the event, I was so shattered after last week that I didn’t get to it until this morning.  I thought I’d take a few pictures as I went along and show you what I do to keep my brushes happy.  I’ll put a link at the bottom for all the things I mention.

By the time I get to the end of the week, my brushes are, to say the least, a bit yacky.  In the reading I’ve done, most makeup artists seem to recommend that brushes that are used daily, but only used on one person, should be washed once a week.  This was something of an eye-opener for me, having previously been a “wash my brushes when I remember” type of person.  Don’t judge me!

There are many options for cleaning.  Some people swear by baby shampoo, there are all sorts of specialist cleaning gels and solutions, there are sprays which you can use “on the fly” for a quick clean up between colours, and there are solid cleaning soaps.  For me, I find the quickest and most thorough option to be the solid cleaning soap.  This is the one I use:

It smells gloriously of lavender, has charcoal in it (hence the colour) and comes with a little removable rubber scrubby pad in the top of it in the shape of a butterfly.  It’s called “Blendercleanser Solid Pro” – it was developed as a cleanser for Beautyblenders, and that’s how I initially found it, but it works absolutely brilliantly for brushes too, and has gone on to be popular for both.  Mine gets used every morning to clean my Beautyblender, then once a week to clean all my brushes.  This pot is a month old and still more or less full.  It might seem pricey, but it goes a very, very long way.

I start by running some warm water into the sink (which gets replaced probably 3 times overall if I’m washing all of them).  I wet the brush thoroughly, and then swirl it in the top of the cleanser until suds appear.

soapybrush

I then use my magic scrubby tray (also known as the Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette) and swirl the brush around in it.  There are different sized scrubby bits for different sized brushes and for more intense cleaning for seriously grungy things like foundation brushes.

brushscrubby

I then rinse the brush in the warm water and check to see if it’s clean.  If not then lather and repeat.  Eventually when the brush looks to be clean, I do a final quick rinse in clean running water to get the last of the soap suds out.

Ta dah!  Before and after.

Once they’re all clean then drying them becomes a Thing.  To begin with I was just chucking them all in a pot together, handle side down, and putting the pot in the airing cupboard overnight.  Then someone pointed out to me that this was a surefire way of shortening the life of my brushes.   Drying them bristles-up means that the water drains from the bristles down into the root, where the bristles join to the handle.  Sooner or later, constant soaking in water is going to knacker the glue holding it all together.

There are a couple of companies that sell “brush trees”, specifically designed for drying brushes with their bristles downwards, but not wanting to put my hand in my pocket for this, I turned to the internet instead.  Whatever did we do before the internet?

And somewhere on Reddit (I’m afraid I don’t remember where to be able to give credit!), this was what I found.  The original idea used the back of a chair, but  I had the idea that a non slip coathanger would work even better, and it does.  A coathanger and a few rubber bands/hair bands of different sizes.  That’s it!  The whole thing then hangs in the airing cupboard overnight (or very often until Monday morning if I’m not doing anything for the weekend).

hanger

And that’s it!  Brushes clean and ready to go for another week.  It takes probably half an hour to do (I did it this morning in the time it took my husband to mow our entirely average sized suburban lawn) and is really very little hassle for keeping brushes in good condition and maintaining good hygiene with them.  I find the whole process pretty therapeutic to be honest, and seeing yacky brushes become clean, shiny ones is very satisfying too.

Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette – £11.75 

Beautyblender Blendercleanser Solid Pro – £40.00

DISCLAIMER: This review is not sponsored by Beautyblender, Real Techniques or Paris Presents Incorporated, and I have no affiliation with either company.  I have not been paid or otherwise compensated for this review, and I (or my very generous husband) pay for every product I review. All opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.

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