Clean Your Brushes, Ya Filthy Animal!

*take a shot every time I say the word brush(es) in this post. You’ll be drunk in minutes*

I am not the most organized of people but if there’s one thing I try to keep on top of, it’s washing my makeup off at night and keeping my makeup brushes clean. It gives me the heebie-jeebies when friends or family tell me they haven’t cleaned their brushes in month, or, God forbid, years!

Just think about this – makeup brushes are a fertile breeding ground for disgusting germs that can cause breakouts. If not washed, brushes collect product, oil, dead skin, and more disgusting bacteria. This is even truer with wet products (liquid foundation, cream eyeshadow) because the bacteria multiplies faster. If you’ve got a breakout and don’t clean your brushes, once the acne subsides from your face, the brushes will give it right back to you.

I attribute my clear skin to 80% genetics, 10% moisturizer and 10% brush care. I deep clean my face brushes every two weeks, or if they need it, sooner. My eye brushes follow a similar schedule barring the times when I use cream products or dark shadows. Now onto my favourite soaps.

London Brush Co. Clary Sage Soap


Founded by Emmy nominated makeup artist, Sian Richards, this soap stumbled into my possession at last years IMATS when I was plucked from the crowds to be Sian’s model for a demonstration. It retails from CAD 18.00 and is simple to use and very travel friendly. There are two options – the original goat milk version and the vegan coconut option. I simply wet my brush, swirl it into the soap, circle it in the palm of my hand and, voila, when I rinse it out, it is perfectly clean and soft. This product works equally well for synthetic and natural hair brushes, but Sian has specific categories on her site if you have one particular kind of brush collection. This is my #1 soap because it deep cleans, while leaving my brushes soft and with no residue.

Dr.Bronner’s Castile Soap


This soap is what first turned me onto the benefits of washing my brushes. The purpose of a castile soap is to be an everything in one. It can be used as dish soap, hand/body soap, shampoo, laundry detergent (in a pinch), etc. I think you get the point. It is particularly effective in getting makeup brushes clean and so very cost-effective as well. I put a drop into my hand along with a little water, swirl my brush in the mixture and then rinse out. Use very little because it is very strong, and if you use too much, there will still be soap residue in your brush the next morning (meaning you’ll have to re-rinse).

Pink soap (alternative)


I use this soap to wash my paint brushes and it does a fabulous job, so it is not so much a stretch to assume that it’ll work well on makeup brushes.This can be found at Michael’s Arts and Crafts stores, and the directions to use it are the same as those mentioned for Dr. Bronner’s, above.

Bonus: Spot Cleaning your Brushes!


All of the above are for properly washing/deep cleaning your brushes. If you’re lazy, like me, and can’t be bothered to do that after every makeup application, invest in some Cinema Secrets Brush Cleaner. This is an intense cleaner, and can be quite rough (and dehydrating) on natural hair bristled brushes, so I only use it with my synthetic brushes and it works a treat. I wet a cotton pad, swirl my brush, and it dries in under a minute. Perfection.


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