The Weekend Post #44: Makeup Brush Maintenance

Brushes are something that are oft neglected in my extensive beauty routine. Face masks are dutifully applied on a weekly basis, the whole ‘I’ve lost count of how many steps it includes’ skincare routine is carried out twice daily, but brushes? Well let’s not discuss when they last had a good ol’ clean. So today I thought I’d ramble about makeup brush maintenance, mostly so I can take the chance to practice what I preach. For me, tending to them on a weekday just feels wrong, it’s definitely a Sunday thing. Gather up those brushes and have a read…

Make the edit. I’m not too much of a hoarder when it comes to brushes. Probably due to the fact that I’m very limited in homes for them. An M&M mug houses my daily go-tos and an old Starbucks mug contains the leftovers. But if you’re up for a streamline here’s a rundown of what brushes you need: a base buffing brush (the Real Techniques Buffing Brush is the obvious choice here), a small powder brush (for blush and highlight), a larger powder brush (for bronzer and setting powder), a contour brush (with a tapered end for precise sculpting), a small eyeshadow blending brush (MAC’s 217 rocks at this), and a larger one (for blending). Seven brushes, that’s all, will have your back. And remember the less brushes you use, the less you have to wash – groan – which brings us to…

Get cleaning. Now you’ve got two options here. How long have you got on the clock? In a rush then indulge in a quick spot clean sans water, but if you’re chilling then get out the liquid soap and give them a deep clean. My favourite spot cleaner is Essence of Beauty Brush Cleaner, it’s got the perfect spritzer on top so coats the brush (one spray for a little brush, two or three for bigger powder ones) and then you just swirl the hairs onto an old towel or piece of kitchen cloth and ta-dah – two minutes later and your brushes are dry and ready for action. For a wash under the tap, I use The Body Shop Shower Gel. A Re.1 size into the palm of your hand massaged into the ends of a wet brush and rinsed out – you’ll be amazed horrified at the colour of the water that appears. Dry off and place balanced over the edge of a table for an overnight dry-off.

Finishing touches. You could leave it at that, but a true sesh of makeup brush maintenance ends with some final tweaks. Reshaping the bristles of your brush with a bit of gentle coaxing whilst it’s still damp is a good way of moulding it back into the brush you first purchased. Or if your ferrules have become a little loose it’s time to reach for the superglue. And those with a MAC heavy collection may want to reach for the clear nail polish and paint over those numbers so they don’t rub off – I’ve learnt that one the hard way. But if you want your brush stash to look tres profesh dab a spot of nail colour on the top of each handle so your brushes will never get lost in the crowd.

10 minutes cut out of your Sunday schedule and your bevy of brushes will be raring to go: edited, cleaned, fixed-up and ready for dusting come Monday morning.