Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How to (cheaply & easily) clean your makeup brushes

Cleaning your makeup brushes is one of the best ways to make the most of your investment. "Investment?!" you say?  Yes, INVESTMENT. If you are buying a decent quality brush, even if you manage to find it for a steal, you don't want to end up buying another in a year, do you? Quality makeup brushes can range in price from $5 to above $50 each. So why let them wear out early, why let them get caked up with old makeup, why deal with possible bacterial funk?  (ICK ick icky ick!) WHY PAY THAT MUCH AND NOT GET THE MOST OUT OF IT?? Especially when cleaning them is something you can do as you get ready for work?

You COULD buy brush shampoo. At $14.00 for a tiny bottle, I think that stuff should jump out of said bottle and curl my eyelashes for me. I prefer the penny option, which works just as well (I've used brush shampoo before, I know from firsthand experience).  No, that isn't a typo, it's a penny option.
(Okay, okay, it might be half a penny, or two pennies, I haven't sat down and figured out the per-tablespoon cost of vinegar. Math is for people with more patience.)

1. Fill a small container with VERY HOT WATER. The hotter the better, but don't go extreme and boil it- you want to be able to stick your fingers in it if you need to fluff the bristles.


3. Stick your brushes in, bristles downward. The best way to soak them is by using just enough water to cover the bristles and not enough to cover the metal part (ferrule) as this could start to loosen up the glue holding the bristles in. I personally have never had an issue with this, but not all brushes are created equal. Swirl them around, make sure the water is getting all the way through the thicker brushes.  Give them a light fluffing with your fingers if they are really caked with makeup. If you use a liquid foundation brush you may want to use a separate container for that brush.

4. Let them sit for 15-30 minutes, depending on how long it has been since you last cleaned them or how dirty they are. Go finish getting ready for work, go watch a show on your DVR, go deal with whatever that silence from the kids means. I set a timer so I don't forget. Because I'm very good at forgetting things in the short-term.

5. When your time is up marvel at the dirty water dump out your now icky water. Run your brushes under a hot water rinse, then a cold rinse.


6. Gently shake out what water you can. You can gently press out water from the thick brushes, but be careful not to use too much pressure as this will cause the bristles to break. Either stand them up to dry or lay them flat in a dish drainer. Just make sure that they can get decent airflow around them. You wouldn't want to lay them flat on the counter top as the water would collect in the side pressed against the flat surface.

7. Later in the day, or the next morning if you choose to clean them before bed, check to make sure they have dried thoroughly- I give mine a gentle shaking or lightly brush them against the side of my hand to get the bristles fluffed up and looking pretty if a few decided to cling together.

That's it. No really, that is all it takes, just some hot water, some vinegar and a few minutes of your time.  Repeat once a month for optimum brush life.
I should probably wipe off those handles with a damp washrag while I'm at it too.

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