Before I started modeling, makeup cleanliness wasn’t really something I concerned myself with. I mean, I wasn’t sharing my makeup, so I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. I also just used the applicators that came with my makeup, or even just my fingers. But as I got into modeling and started to work with more makeup artists, I quickly realized that the right tools, and taking care of them properly, were really important to applying makeup and keeping my face healthy.
I brought in my friend Christin, a skilled and successful full-time makeup artist, to help me with this post. She really knows her stuff when it comes to makeup, and I figured I’d ask her some questions about makeup, keeping tools clean, and how to know when something is expired, and let her take it from there. Here we go!
Why is it important to keep my makeup brushes and tools clean?
Keeping your makeup brushes and tools clean will not only help the overall application of your makeup and make your brushes and tools last longer, but it will help improve the overall appearance and health of your skin.
I don’t share my makeup with anyone, so I don’t have to worry about germs, right?
You do still need to worry about germs, but to a MUCH lesser degree. You don’t need to take the same precautions and steps a makeup artist would with their makeup or tools. For the most part, you should only be applying makeup to a freshly washed face (with the exception of touch-ups which are generally just lips and maybe a powder throughout the day. If you are touching up more than that, there is something wrong with your application technique or the products you are using).
Does how I store my brushes and tools affect how clean they are?
Not only will it effect how clean they are, it will effect the lifetime of the brush itself. You want to store them in a cup of some sort with the brush part sticking out of the top. I use a stainless steel cup I acquired at an art store and I use the same cup to soak them before washing. You don’t have to use stainless steel, glass or plastic will also do the job.
Ok, so how do I go about cleaning everything, and how often should I do it?
For general, personal, daily use I suggest deep cleaning them once a week. Some brushes I use for wet products, like liquid concealer and eye liner, I clean after each use.
For single use clean, drop a small amount of brush cleaner on a paper towel and swirl the brush around until the product is off the brush.
To do a once a week deep clean, put a few table spoons of your favorite brush cleaner (I personally cannot live without MAC’s brush cleaner–it cleans, conditions, and sanitizes!) then add a little water and a drop of dish soap for really dingy brushes. Do not fill the cup up too much. The level of the cleaning concoction should not go higher than the ferrule. If you get liquid above the ferrule, it will soak in and will weaken the glue and your brush will break. Soak your brushes for about 5 minutes or so (do not leave to soak for more than 15 min at the absolute most, as the liquid will soak up into the ferrule). Take each brush out individually and swirl the soaked bristles in your hand. Depending on the kind of brush you’re using it will make a frothy substance. Swirl and rub the brush bristles around in your palm for a few seconds, then move your hand under running water while continuing to swirl. Take your brush and squeeze the water out of the brush and swirl under the water again. Then squeeze the water out once more. Keep doing this until the liquid runs clear and not colored or sudsy. At that point, you are done and can move on to the next brush. Lay your brushes flat to dry over night. Do not place them back into your cup to dry. The water will soak into the ferrule. Do not put them brush side down in your cup. They will dry in a weird shape and will make application difficult.
How do I know when to replace my brushes and tools, or can I keep them forever?
If you have invested a bit in a non-drug-store-purchased brush, chances are it will last a long time if not for the rest of your makeup wearing life. If you treat your brushes well and protect your investment, you will not have to purchase another one again! If you have decided to go the drug store route, you can tell if your brush needs to be replaced if it isn’t applying product the way it should, if the brush smells at all, or if it breaks.
If brushes can carry germs and get dirty, what about my makeup?
Your brushes mostly get dirty because of the makeup itself. If you are not sharing your products, and applying with clean hands to a clean face, you shouldn’t worry too much about this. If you’d like to clean your powder products from time to time, you can wipe a tissue across the surface. This takes off the first layer which is where the germs would be. For creamy products, I just scoop out a small amount to use so I don’t have to worry about contamination. Same thing goes for liquid products.
How do I know when it’s time to throw my makeup away?
All makeup has an expiration date on the packaging. there is a little picture on the back, usually on the right hand side with a drawing of a makeup container with a number on it. It looks like this. Most powder products will not go bad (this includes eye shadows). Cream and liquid products usually have a 12 month shelf life.
Do you have any tips for storing makeup to keep it from going bad or breaking?
Store your makeup in room a room temperature environment. I like to store mine in desk drawers so it wont accidentally fall onto the floor and break. Here are some pics of my setup.
I advise against bringing a huge sack full of everything you’re wearing in your purse for touch-ups. It gives a lot more opportunities for broken makeup that gets all over everything. If you need to touch-up this much, evaluate your application technique, get some tips, and/or change the brand of product you are using.
Readers, we’ll most certainly be hearing from her again, ‘cause she has more amazing tips she wants to share about hair and makeup. Yay! In the meantime, you can check out her amazing work on her Facebook page.