The Makeup Brush Care Guide for Working Artists

makeup brushes

A makeup artist relies heavy on their tools of the trade, and as a collective I’m sure we can all agree on our love for makeup brushes. They help us to build on our canvas and in return, it’s only fair that we take damn good care of them. Also, it’s of high priority to show your clients that sanitation is extremely important to you, because that means you care about them and their skin. Here’s our guide on keeping those brushes spick and span.

// The Spot Clean

As a working artist, you should have enough brush multiples to be able to do each model/client with a clean set of brushes. When this is not possible, they can be spot cleaned on a tissue. There are many brands that sell brush cleaners for spot cleaning but we have found the most effective to be Cinema Secrets and Beauty So Clean. These are great in a pinch when you need to re use a brush or if you simply need to keep your personal brushes clean between deep cleans. Just note that spot cleaning will not rid your brushes of bacteria and product completely, which is why you need to be deep cleaning as often as possible.

Recommended Cleaners: Cinema Secrets | Beauty So Clean Wipeout | 70% Isopropyl Alcohol

// The Deep Clean

As a rule of thumb, your brushes need to be deep cleaned after every job, or as often as you can. Makeup artists have a duty of care to protect their model by using hygenic practices and let’s be honest; clean brushes mean better application.

We have to be a little biased here and strongly recommend our favourite cleaner Dr Bronner’s Pure Castille Soap. Besides the fact that this product has an infinite number of uses for body and household, it is also fair trade, organic and safe for those brush hairs. Swirling a drop of this onto the brush in your palm will not only remove makeup from the brush but also disinfect it. There are a tonne of flavours to choose from and a little goes a long way. You can also use Baby Shampoo to deep clean but this will not disinfect the brushes, only clean the product from them. Feel free to use a cleaning mat to help move the product around, but the palm of your hand will generally work wonders!

Recommended Cleaners: Dr. Bronners Liquid Castille Soap | Baby Shampoo

makeup brushes

// Hang ’em High

When it’s time to dry your brushes, you want to do it naturally and you never want to leave them standing up. Water will slowly damage the inside of a brush breakdown the glue holding everything together if it seeps inside. The best way is to leave them hanging upside down, and there are a few ways you can do that. Some beauty brands such as Sigma Beauty offer mesh sleeves and holders to keep brushes upside down, however we prefer to save our money and use one of 2 solutions. The easiest option is to use hair elastics to hang your brushes off a rail or rack but make sure this is done in a dry area. Alternatively, we also love to use small laundry hangers from the Japanese dollar store. They will hold most of your brushes bar the really thick big handled ones.

makeup brushes

makeup brushes

// Don’t forget those handles!

Once our brushes are cleaned and dry, we then like to use 70% alcohol and a cotton pad to wipe down. Remember, the people you apply makeup to will be looking at your tools and kit. Don’t scare them off with dirty tools! Keep those brushes squeaky clean from top to bottom.

// How about Beauty Blenders?

Many people often wonder what the best way is to clean and sanitise beauty blenders. Our favourite way is to use Dr Bronner’s Pure Castille Soap as it sanitises simultaneously. However, you can also soak them in 70% alcohol for 15 minutes and then leave to air dry. The important thing to keep in mind is that sterilisation (the act of killing ALL bacteria) isn’t possible with beauty blenders or any sponges due to their porous material. Sanitising using the above methods generally does the job but will never rid your sponges of ALL bacteria. Consequently, they should not be shared on multiple clients so we avoid using beauty blenders in this situation and stick to good ol’ disposable wedge sponges. If your budget allows and you are using a beauty blender on an actor or model, it can also be nice to let them keep it. The main moral of the story is to be vigilant and thorough about your hygiene practices. Your clients only have one body to live in!

Extra tip: While these steps suggest specific products, we implore you to discover what works best for you. The moral of the story here is to treat your brushes with care and ensure that they are completely sanitised and sterilised where possible, not just ‘cleaned’. We also avoid hype products which promise easier and faster cleaning, because there are no shortcuts. Do yourself a favour and use some of that good old fashioned elbow grease.