How often should I be cleaning my makeup brushes?
Bacteria breeds quicker than you probably realise; with your tools being in daily contact with your face, the bristles can become an absolute germ farm. At a minimum (if you're using brushes daily) you should be cleaning them thoroughly every fortnight to ensure makeup residue and bacteria is completely removed. However, if you're prone to pimples and breakouts it's definitely worth a more regular deep clean - as well as spritzing in-between uses with an antibacterial cleanser such as Makeup Revolution's Brush Cleaner. (£5.00)
What can I use to wash away makeup and bacteria?
Many people stick to baby shampoo or sulphate free cleansers to lift away the dirt and grime, while leaving bristles super soft. However, I find specifically designed products work much better and prevent degradation of the bristles over time. I love the solid shampoo pots from 'Clean' (£11.75) which are so easy to use (just swish the brush head around the solid bar with a touch of warm water,) but Lush's solid shampoo bars (intended for hair but full of goodness) are just as effective (£5.75.) Sephora's Brush Shampoo is fabulous and affordable ($7.00) while Bare Minerals have designed cleansing agents to work specifically with their own brushes (£10.00 each.) The key is to shop around and find a formula and format that works for you - there's so much available for every budget and need, so test them all and find your favourite!
What's the best technique to ensure super clean tools?
Start with your most used, heavily caked makeup brushes and apply a spot of shampoo/cleanser. With a little warm (not boiling) water straight from the tap, start swirling in circular motions in the palm of your hand. (This is where you'll start to see all the product leaving the brush and filling up the sink!) Keep adding water until there's no product left on the brush and the water runs away clear; this may require a fair amount of elbow grease, but keep at it. Rinse with some more warm water to remove any shampoo or cleanser residue.
How do I leave them to dry?
It's really important to reshape the bristles into their natural shape. They can sometimes get a little messy or stuck together; you don't want them to dry this way, as it will prevent the brush working effectively. Move the bristles around with your fingers to prevent clumping and then place on some kitchen roll, tissue or a towel to dry; this will absorb the moisture and speed up the process. It will take around twelve hours for them to fully dry out, so it's best to leave them overnight.
What if I don't have time to do this so regularly?
Spritzing daily with brush cleanser will help keep bacteria at bay after every use, as well as encouraging you to wipe away the majority of makeup as soon as you've finished your look. There are some great daily products, including Elf's daily brush cleanser ($3.00), that will help tide you over if you're prone to forgetting to invest in a deep cleanse. However, putting aside an hour every couple of weeks will be the best investment for both your skin and tools you can make - cleansing your brushes is almost as important as cleansing your face!
Do you commit to cleaning your makeup tools regularly, or are you guilty of leaving them to become a bacterial playground? Do you have any top tips to share for the perfect brush cleanse?