It’s January, just in case you hadn’t noticed, and I’m being a complete cliché by fully embracing the “new year, new me” spirit – I kid you not, I’m even joining a gym. If you’re equally carried away with the renewed optimism that January brings, then you might find my “NYR” posts handy – I’ve put a few ideas for New Years Resolutions together and I’m kicking it all off with a look at products you can use to clean your make-up brushes. I did a big clean last week (check out a picture on my Instagram here) and it was fantastic – there are some brushes that hadn’t been used for ages due to being in dire need of a clean, so it’s lovely tucking into a big box of freshly washed brushes; I recommend putting aside some time and getting stuck in!
I’ve always used a brush cleaning spray (the Clinique one pictured being my spray of choice) which is very effective, but quite long-winded. Having tried out some new products during my last wash, I can’t quite believe how much easier it is to get brushes back to normal – some of my brushes went in absolutely covered in make-up, and just a few moments later looked brand new. If you just buy one thing to improve your make-up brush cleaning game, make it a brush cleaning soap, such as either of the two pictured above. The one on the left is the Barbara Hofmann Special Brush Cleaning Soap (here – link – £6.95) which is a solid, zesty-scented soap that sits within a metal tin and is a good enough size for even larger make-up brushes. The metal tin makes me nervous as obviously you need to get the soap very wet to use it (just so you know, you wet your brushes then work them over the soap vigorously to build a lather) so I don’t know if the tin might be susceptible to rust, but I like the fact that the brushes are left with a delicate, clean scent and this works brilliantly as a brush cleaner. The soap on the right is the Lottie London Soap Star, which is a little smaller than the Barbara Hofmann soap, which makes larger brushes a little trickier, but it’s not that big of a deal as you can still work all sized brushes across the soap. This also comes in a plastic tin which I’m much happier about, and there’s no scent, so if you prefer a scent-free soap then this is the one for you. It’s in Superdrug for £6.99 here – link.
The Dr Bronner Liquid Soaps have a bit of a cult following due to their many uses and impressive concentration, with one of these uses being for make-up brush cleaning. I have the unscented one which is great for so many things (and especially handy if you have children) but I like the fact that there are all sorts of variants depending on your need and preference; for example, the tea tree oil one would be a great choice for cleaning make-up brushes if you’re spot-prone. This is the product I use for really caked on base brushes, such as my favourite tarte Full Coverage Brush – a very dense brush that really collects product so needs something that’ll penetrate all the way to the base – and also for sponges, which absorb product; I actually squeeze a load on to damp sponges and work it in, then leave it do it’s thing whilst I clean the other brushes, before returning at the end to rinse out the product. It’s very good, and due to it’s oil content, it’s ideal for thick foundation and base products. You can check out the full variety of scents here – link – each of which will last you forever making it a great buy for £8.99. The Clinique Makeup Brush Cleaner, as mentioned earlier, was my cleaner of choice for absolutely ages as it’s leaves brushes looking and feeling clean and fresh. I’ll still be using this for in-between cleans and spruce-ups and you use by spraying into the brush, working the product in and then rinsing – you repeat these steps until the water runs clean and I’d say this approach is especially well-suited to delicate brushes. It’s here – link – for £14.
Finally, if you want to speed the whole process up dramatically, get yourself the Makeup Revolution Pro Cleanse Brush Tool (£4.99 here – link) which is a textured, silicone tool that you use to sort of aggravate the product out of the brush. The different textures on the tool mean you can really use it to get into the nooks of any brush and bring the product to the surface quickly and very effectively. I wet the brush, work it across the soap bar to get a bit of a lather going, then work it across the tool before rinsing away the dirt and grime – I then repeat until the water runs clear; on the extremely grubby brushes I had to do this three times, but most got away with two which was great and a lot fastter than expected. Consequently, all the brushes and sponges in this Instagram picture took around 40 minutes to clean. Not bad, eh?