We ladies often invest lots of time and money into our skin: cleansers, toners, lotions, serums and even professional facials and peels. However, many of us are skipping one of the most important steps for a healthy, glowing face, which is properly sanitizing our makeup brushes and sponges.
“It’s just as important as washing our clothes, washing the dishes, brushing our teeth or taking a shower,” New Orleans-based makeup artist Cat Vo says. “Makeup brushes require the same care to maintain healthy skin hygiene. We use makeup brushes directly on our skin, so we want to start fresh and clean.”
Vo cleans her arsenal of professional makeup brushes after each client. When it comes to the beauty application tools that we use on ourselves, she also suggests cleaning those used to apply creams or liquids after every use. However, for brushes used to apply powder products (eyeshadow, blush, bronzer) a weekly cleaning will suffice.
There are professional products available to speed the job along. Vo uses sprays like Cinema Secrets Makeup Brush Cleaner in her professional kit, especially when she’s glamming multiple clients a day. “Spray the cleaner directly on the bristles and wipe on a towel until clean,” Vo says. “Your brush will dry in less than 30 seconds and be ready to be stored or reused! I prefer this method when I’m working on back to back clients because of how quickly you can sanitize, clean and dry brushes.”
If you have time on your hands, no need to purchase a professional brush cleaner. Try the soap and sink method. “I like to use a gentle baby soap like Honest baby wash or a natural dish soap like Seventh Generation,” Vo says. “I find they’re gentle on the bristles but strong enough to clean every bit of makeup. Apply a little bit of water and soap on the brush head and lather until the bristles are all clean. Simply rinse out the soap, pat the bristles on a towel and lay flat to dry overnight.”
Meggan Ory is another New Orleans-based makeup artist and the founder of the popular cosmetic line Makeup by Meggan. The entrepreneur and mother of two has amassed 60,000 loyal Instagram followers, thanks to her expert online makeup tutorials. Ory agrees properly cleansing your makeup brushes is “extremely important.” She follows a routine similar to Vo’s, except she opts for shampoo instead of soap.
“Between each client, I spray the brushes with a quick drying cleaner,” Ory says. “This kills any bacteria and removes all of the makeup residue from person to person. Once a week, I shape my brushes using Tresemme shampoo.”
One more reason to make cleansing your brushes a habit, “If you clean your brushes regularly, they should last a lifetime, if they are good quality brushes,” Ory says. “Yes, good makeup brushes are expensive, but if you take care of them, they should be a one-time purchase! I personally prefer synthetic bristles because they shed less.”
Ladies, let’s not forget about those sponges we carry in our makeup bags. They can be an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. “Cleaning a sponge is slightly different than a brush,” Vo says. “First, soak the sponge until it reaches its full size. Then, lather the sponge with a cleaner like antibacterial soap, dish soap liquid or baby shampoo and squeeze out all the makeup soaked inside the sponge. Rinse until the water squeezes clear. As an extra sanitizing step, you can use a microwavable cup, mix in soap and water, then submerge the sponge and microwave for 30-60 seconds. Rinse and leave out to dry overnight.”