Beauty Duty: Washing Brushes

After the $1 brush mention last week, I realized that I don't post a whole heck of a lot about brushes. And yet, they are an essential part of any makeup maven's arsenal. It only make sense, right? You wouldn't expect a painter to produce a masterpiece using only little felt tipped plastic applicators. So how can you expect to produce a daily work of art on your own face using those things? You just can't.

But once you start acquiring yourself some quality tools, you have to care for them. For brushes, this means washing. How often you wash your brushes is a personal matter, but weekly is a good place to start. Brushes pick up oils, bacteria and dirt from your skin as you use them. If left unwashed, these nasties accumulate and cause unattractive breakouts.

There are many products available specially formulated for washing makeup brushes. I use Well Cared For ($14) from Bare Escentuals because the first brushes that I ever got were from BE and it made sense to buy their brand cleaner. A little bit goes a long way so I expect this bottle to last for years. MAC fanatics will gravitate toward Brush Cleaner ($11). Sephora also sells these quick-cleaning wipes ($9) which look kind of nifty.

Most of these specialized formulas are expensive when you consider that they are essentially liquid soap. For that reason, I've heard of other folks using baby shampoo or even making their own unique concoction. Here are some DIY mixtures I found on makeupalley (thanks to george3b & mzxtine):

DIY Brush Cleaner #1
1 cup distilled water
1/4 cup 70% or 91% alcohol
1/2 tsp dishwasher soap
1/2 tsp baby shampoo (or any shampoo for oily hair is fine)
1 tsp liquid conditioner spray
Mix gently together and then pour into bottle to store for later use.

DIY Brush Cleaner #2
200ml water
50ml 70% rubbing alcohol
1tbsp washing up liquid
1tbsp gentle shampoo
1tbsp facial wash (optional)
Mix all the above and pour into a bottle with a cap. Before using, give the bottle a good shake then pour a small amount into a tiny dish/bowl/lid and dip brushes in (wiggle them in) then rinse off with water. Repeat if necessary.

Washing brushes is usually a Sunday night activity for me; a way of coming to grips with the fact that in 12 short hours I'll be back at work. But I can't complain, I had a good weekend. I went shopping today and did not buy any makeup. None. But I did get some of these goofy shoes and they are pretty comfy!



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