As a celebrity makeup artist, I’ve been asked quite often how frequently one should wash their personal makeup brushes. My response is always the same: Wash your brushes as frequently as you wash your pillow cases. However, how to wash them however, wasn’t always an easy reply.
In the beginning, I remember attempting to wash my brushes with the same bar of soap that I used to wash my body. For me, it’s Dove ($6.19, target.com). Since the product worked so well on my skin and kept me clean, surely it would break down the build-up on my brushes. Right? I tried this a couple times and found myself in the bathroom for far too long. Rinse after rinse it took too many tries to get my dingy brushes like new again. After a couple of tries, I realized that I was just going to have to use something stronger. The next best thing would be dish soap. That worked like a charm and got my dirty white brushes white again, but then I noticed them slowly loosing bristles over time.
It was obvious to me that the dish soap was drying out the hair of my brushes. I’d spent a lot of money on those suckers and needed them to hold up! Not to mention, my Beauty Blender sponges ($20.00, macys.com) that were $20 a pop STILL wouldn’t get cleaned by anything other than the official soap that the company makes. Those bars of soap ($16.00, ulta.com) cleaned my brushes and blenders marvelously but they were not affordable, especially for how fast I was moving through the product. Thus, I like many other girls just gave up washing my brushes as often as I should. Oh come on! Don’t act like you haven’t gone a month or longer without washing your brushes! It’s easy to do when you realize how time consuming it can be and how costly it is to purchase soaps that are meant to wash the hairs of your brushes.
Once I became a working makeup artist I gathered up a collection of brushes meant only for clients and realized that I’d have to come up with a solution for cleaning my brushes. I’d be using them on multiple faces and needed them to be clean for each use for sanitary purposes. After some trial and error I narrowed it down to baby shampoo ($4.99, target.com) for my brushes and the official Beauty Blender bar of soap ($16.00, ulta.com) for my Beauty Blender ($20.00, macys.com). The baby soap was strong enough to get my brushes clean but not too strong that it would dry them out. Still, it took a few washings before I could get them to be REALLY clean.
One day I was traveling with a client. I had been working with this particular celebrity for some time and I was in and out of hotels with her. I realized after a long day on set that I’d run out of my bar of soap to wash my Beauty Blenders. It was late and Sephora wasn’t open so I used my only option…the bar of soap provided by the hotel. Within seconds of working up a good lather I realized that this bar of soap was cleaning the hell outta that sponge better than the official bar of soap! I grabbed a white bristled brush and tried using the soap on it. In seconds the brush was back to white! SECONDS! With my baby shampoo it took a few washings!
The next morning I approached a maintenance worker and asked for more soap for my room. She gave me one bar. “Do you think you could spare any more of them?”. By the end of my stay I’d racked up at least 10 bars. It wasn’t long before I realized that it wasn’t just that hotel’s soap that cleaned my brushes and sponges. It was ALL hotel soap. So why would hotel soap work but not my Dove soap?!
Simply put, because its cheap. Cheap soap cleans brushes and sponges best. I put this theory to the test by going to the drug store and purchasing the least expensive bar of soap they offered: Dial soap at .99 cents a bar. Now, all of these years later, that is my go-to product to clean my brushes and my sponges. The best part? Dial soap ($1.99, target.com) is antibacterial too. WIN WIN! The only down side is that it is somewhat drying. I counteract this conditioning my real hair brushes every now and again. It’s real hair so you can condition it! Pamper your brushes from time to time so they can keep pampering you!