Keeping your makeup brushes clean and in excellent condition helps them last longer and, more importantly, avoids cross-contamination. A professional-grade cleaner sanitizes brushes and dries fast when you’re on the job, and washing them with soap or shampoo and water gives bristles the thorough cleaning they need in between gigs or clients. Using both methods helps to maintain optimum brush performance and best hygienic practices. Check out these best sellers and some of our tips for how to clean makeup brushes like a pro.
Products in solid or cake form are easy to use, but you’ll need enough time for your makeup brushes to dry, which can take several hours—washing them at the end of the day and drying overnight works nicely. Plus, it’s so satisfying to give your beloved brushes the loving care they deserve after a job well done making your clients (or yourself) look beautiful.
To use, just wet the brush bristles (being careful not to immerse the ferrule, which can loosen the glue over time) and swirl over the soap. Using your fingers or a silicone cleaning pad, gently work lather through the bristles. Repeat if necessary, and then rinse. Softly press out any excess water and then reshape the hairs and lay flat on a clean towel to air dry. Be sure to lay the brush heads jutting out over the end of the table or surface so that air can reach all sides. Some brushes will dry faster than others, like eyeshadow and other small styles. Powder and foundation brushes usually need more time, so make sure they are completely dry before storing them away.
Professional-grade brush cleaners are fast-drying liquids that clean and sanitize and take only about 10-15 minutes to dry, depending on the method used and the brush. It’s an essential item for every makeup artist, especially those working on location with no access to a sink. It’s also handy to have at home if you have a tight schedule but want to make sure your favorite brushes are clean and ready to rock when you need them.
They’re also super easy to use. For quick surface cleaning of makeup residue, either mist the brush cleaner onto the bristles or a paper towel and gently swirl to remove as much as you can from the brush, repeating as necessary. For more thorough cleaning or removing products like cream foundation or gel eyeliner, immerse the brush bristles into the solution to dissolve the makeup away. To sanitize brushes, read the product’s label for the dwell time required, which may vary by brand.
For many artists, having extra makeup brushes or multiple sets on hand for each client or actor has become the norm. Alcone Company Professional Makeup Brushes make this an affordable option, starting at $6 for Precision Lip and up to $16 for Powder. They’re also vegan and cruelty-free!
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