People very rarely talk about the tools of a makeup artist’s trade and how important it is to keep them in tip top condition.
Not only is it important that you have the best tools to apply makeup, it’s also important that they are hygienic and in good condition. Nothing is more embarrassing than a client developing an allergic reaction or worse because my tools are not up to scratch. So, I am pedantic about making sure my makeup and brushes are cleaned after every use.
I have extremely sensitive skin. I have struggled with allergic reactions and eczema all of my life. So, I have to be particularly careful with what I put on my face and what I use to apply my makeup. Any foreign substance can leave me red and uncomfortable. It’s for this reason that I border on the fanatical when it comes to keeping my makeup and brushes clean.
But, keeping makeup and brushes clean is not something only makeup artists should practice. You will get the best out of your products and tools if you show them a bit of TLC, and I promise it’s not time-consuming or costly.
Cleaning your brushes
Cleaning your brushes is quick and easy. It may seem daunting at first, but once you get started and make it a habit, it will come as naturally as brushing your teeth.
I always recommend my clients invest in a brush cleaner at the very least. Spritz your brushes after every use and dab on a tissue.
A good deep clean is like an exfoliation – it is necessary at least once a week.
You will need:
- A shallow bowl
- A Gentle clarifying shampoo or baby shampoo (baby shampoo is gentle on the bristles)
- A cloth
Run the bristles under lukewarm water.
Dip the brush into the bowl filled with water and baby shampoo and give the mixture a swirl with the brush.
Use your hand as a cup for the warm, soapy water and swirl your brushes, one at a time, in your palm until they are clean.
Rinse the bristles under lukewarm water.
Repeat the wash and rinse process until the water runs clear.
Pat the bristles dry with a cloth, then reshape them.
Lay your brushes on a cloth to dry, preferably with the handle raised. Water that runs into the handle will loosen the glue or over time the wood will swell.
Cleaning your makeup
I cannot tell you how often clients ask me how to clean their brushes but forget to take care of their makeup. Always remember that it’s as important to keep your makeup clean as well.
For this, you need to use something with a high alcohol content – rubbing alcohol from any pharmacy will do.
Pour some into a spray bottle and spray over your powder, blush and eyeshadow pallettes. Leave it to dry for a few minutes.
You can use rubbing alcohol on your lipsticks as well. But there’s nothing wrong with using a baby wipe.
Cleaning them with this quick and easy method will not only help your makeup last longer but also remove all those germs that can cause or add to breakouts.
Makeup is expensive – I know. But expiration dates are important to bare in mind. Using makeup that has expired can cause clogged pores, breakouts and other worse conditions. If you respect your skin, you will make sure to only use makeup that has not passed its sell-by date.
It’s easy to determine if your makeup has expired – often the smell, colour and texture changes. Consider these when you’re trying to decide.
Usually oil-based products like lipsticks and those you touch with your fingers (concealer and foundation for example) are the first to go bad. Your fingers and lips carry bacteria and germs which are easily transferred to these products, so they must be checked regularly.
Furthermore, anything that has a wand (these wands pump air into the container), like lipgloss and mascara, also have shorter shelf lives.
Here are some general guidelines on shelf lives:
Mascara has a shelf life of 2-3 months. Throw it away when it has a strange smell or when you notice it gets clumpy. If it does get clumpy and it is within its expiry date, you can place the tube in a cup of hot water to melt the clumps before using it.
Liquid foundation and concealer lasts between 6 and 12 months. If the colour has lightened, or you see it separating into two layers, get rid of it.
Lip Gloss lasts a year and lipstick two. But, if your gloss becomes extra sticky and your lippie becomes very dry, toss it out.
Powder, eyeshadow and blush that is cleaned and taken care of can last a while. But if you notice it becoming dry and flaky, throw it out.
Don’t leave your makeup in the sun and don’t share it with other people. These are quick ways to gather bacteria and spread germs. Heat can cause bacteria to grow on products.
Try to avoid creams and foundations in tubs. Go for products with a pump or squeeze tube instead to keep it hygienic. If you do have a tub with concealer or foundation, use a makeup spatula to take some out when you use it. Make sure your hands are clean if you don’t use the spatula.
Do not use a sponge for longer than 1 or 2 weeks. Sponges soak up bacteria. You can wash and reuse them though.
These are my tips on keeping your makeup and tools clean. Bookmark, print, memorise them – your healthy skin will thank you.