Jan 10, 2011

The Great Brush Wash

look how long the queue for a thorough cleaning got! because i have so many, i just put away the dirty brushes and use fresh ones, so about once a month i'd have to spend 1-2 hours with washing all of the dirty brushes.
this shouldn't be your typical brush-cleaning post, i want to share some useful tipps and tricks with you.

my foundation brushes are used up to 3 times until they get into the "to wash"-cup. lucky me, using the BeautyBlender the last months has been cutting down a lot of foundation-brush-washing.
powder/blush brushes are used longer, about a week or two, before they get dismissed. eyeshadow brushes are ok for about 4-5 uses.

first fact: if you love your brushes, don't (!) use brush cleanser! please. the spot-cleaning liquids from MAC and other brands are useful for make up artists, because they do the make up of many people and have to use their brushes frequently (and can't always bring a separate set of brushes for every customer). brush cleansers sanitize your brushes and make them dry extremely quickly so they are ready for action again in just few minutes. that is because they contain alcohol.
have you ever took a close look at the brushes in the belts of the sales associates at e.g. MAC stores/counters? i once did, and thought they are fake because they looked sooo dry, just like straw. they feel scratchy and not like a good brush at all. it is because of the alcohol in the brush cleanser which dries out the natural hair by stripping its protective coating of oils.

so i never do a "spot cleaning" especially with my natural hair brushes. dirty brushes get wiped on a clean towel or paper towel to get out excess product.

fact no.2: use soap, BUT: don't ever buy "Brush Soap"! it's expensive and in fact just the same as your normal cheapo curd soap. a closer look at the ingredients lists reveals that it's 95% the same. 100g of special "Brush Soap" cost about 7-10€ while 300g of curd soap will set you back - what? 95¢? even artists use curd soap for their Kolinsky red sable brushes.

NO! >-/

tadaa! a hybrid of brush soap (box) and curd soap (content) ;)
so, now we'll wash those durrrty boyzzz:

don't let water run into your brushes, always hold the heads down.
wet your brushes with luke-warm water (that's nicer for your hands).
then foam up on your hand with CURD SOAP then wash out.
repeat until the foam is white.

for my waterproof/smudgeproof foundations, i have a special trick to get the brushes clean again:

fact no.3: shower oil! the oil part breaks the waterproof formula which causes the build-up in your brushes and the soap part in this will make it easier to wash out the oil. of course the brush needs one more wash with curd soap to get out all residues.

look how the oil got out all the build up on this brush:
this is even after 2 washes with curd soap - and that is how the shower oil cleaned it.

fact no.4: for my natural hair brushes, i'll have a special treatment - i always condition them with a !silicon-free! (so no silicon-build up) and organic conditioner - but not the blue squirrel brushes from Hakuhodo - the hair is so soft, a conditioner would make it greasy. i let it sink in for about 20 minutes and then it totally transforms your brushes - they'll be soo soft! trust me!

and now look how squeeky clean, soft and smoooth they are again!
the eye brushes are layed down with their heads free in the air on a towel:

fact no.5: the face brushes are hanging upside down with my special gadget: hanging is far superior to "wrapping-into-paper-towels"! this wrapping can hold the shape of your brushes, but will slow down the drying process, the ferrules can loosen, the brushes can get smelly or even mould like damp clothes or sth.

so if you take good care for your brushes, they'll last you forever - with great quality!


  1. Hi there Keto, (mind me calling u Keto?)
    wow! you ARE a brush-lover! :D
    I have to spot clean because I've got problematic skin issues, so I can't afford to reuse them without cleaning first. To deep cleanse I swipe my brushes in oil and then wash them with baby shampoo.
    Love your "Hanging-Brush-Method"! :)

  2. Great tips and AWESOME brush collection!!

  3. thank you! i hope those tips are helpful. maybe i should do a real brush collection-post, this is just about a third/fourth of it. ;)

  4. What a great post! I've never though this carefully about cleaning my brushes.

    U usually use baby shampoo & MAC brush cleanser very occasionally. Or when I'm taking my make up off, a make up cleansing wipe / left over Bioderma H2O.

  5. danke. endlich mal jemand, der mir zustimmt, dass spezielle pinselreiniger nicht nur teuer, sondern im enddefekt gar schädlich sind.

    ich würde gerne in einem meiner kommenden posts auf diesen hier verweisen, ist das okay für dich?

    liebe grüße,

  6. Ich bin auch zu faul, regelmäßig Pinsel zu reinigen. Muss dann auch alle paar Wochen eine Hardcore-Pinsel-Wasch-Session veranstalten.

    Aber danke für diesen ausführlichen Bericht.


  7. *meineschmodderigepinselsammlungzumwaschendazustell* :D

  8. also ich HAAASSSSE geschirr spülen wie die pest (wir haben keinen geschirrspüler :/ sollte vllt. ein paar foundations weniger kaufen und dafür mal zu media markt gehen ;) ) aber für pinsel bringe ich die zeit gerne auf! gib sie alle her ich geb denen mal nen wellness-spa-tag!

  9. @keto:
    wenn das so ist, nehme ich dir natürlich ein wenig dreckiges geschirr ab. ich bin gott sei dank einmal zum kauf in die geschirrspülgerät-abteilung abgebogen. :D

  10. Seife für Kosmetikpinsel (exakt die Gleiche!) nutze ich auch, finde die auch super :)
    Ich wasche meine Pinsel aber immer direkt nach Benutzung, ein angesiffter Foundationbrush vom Vortag...ewww nein, mag ich nicht im Gesicht.

    Allerdings würde ich keinem Künstler empfehlen, seine Kolinsky-Pinsel mit Seife zu waschen. Auch nicht mit Pinselseife, ich kenn auch keinen, der das macht.
    Bringt man solche Pinsel dann in Aquarellnäpfchen wirds unschön. Dem Pinsel macht es nichts, aber es bleiben immer Seifenrückstände im Pinsel und da leiden die Farben ganz füchterlich darunter, sehr ärgerlich, wenn man teure Farben hat, die kann man dann wegwerfen.

  11. Naja, das mit den fdt-brushes seh ich nicht so eng. Wenn man nicht zu viel erwischt hat und das Produkt gut einarbeitet, bleibt davon nicht so viel um Pinsel hängen. Wenn man nicht gerade an Akne leidet und ansonsten eine halbwegs gesunde Haut hat, sollte das kein Problem darstellen. Der einzige Nachteil, der bei manchen Pinseln auftreten kann, ist das etwas stoppende Gefühl beim Auftrag durch eine dünne angetrocknete fdt- Schicht auf den Haaren.
    Viel schlechter für die haut ist es doch, wenn man sie den Tag über immer wieder mal mit den Händen berührt. Die sind viel versiffter als jeder alte Pinsel.

    Und wegen der Künstler: das gehört dann wohl auch in die s

  12. sparte der künstlerischen freiheit, denn jene die ich kenne, benutzen sehr wohl hin und wieder kernseife. auch bei aquarellpinseln respektive kolinsky. wenn man sie gründlich unter klarem fließendem wasser ausspült, sollten die seifenrückstände vernachlässigbar gering sein.

  13. Toller Beitrag! Danke für die Tipps, das mit der Kernseife und Pinselseife wusste ich nicht, wieder etwas dazugelernt! :-)

  14. Hi, thank you for this very helpful post. I once made the error to listen a YT Guru in a video where she explained how great it was to mix olive oil with anti-bacterial dishwash soap - it coated my brushes with residue I can't get rid off unless I wash them a dozen times! I'm curious about the conditioner method - do you let your brushes sink in a cup of water mixed with conditioner, or do you use the same method as for your own hair (put your product on and let it set for a few minutes before rinsing it out)? May sound a stupid question but I thought I'd ask anyway! :-D
    Thanks again for your thorough post!

  15. hi,
    i recommend using shower oil because it doesn't create this massive and thick build up like olive oil.
    and about the conditioner: i use it just like i use on my hair, i.e. washing the brush, squeeze out the water and then massage some conditioner into the brush head, leaving it soak in for about 5-10 minutes and then wash out thoroughly.

  16. Oh, thank you very much for your reply - I'm trying this method ASAP! :-)

  17. Where can you purchase curd soap? I tried two arts and crafts stores but couldn't find it!

  18. you can buy it in drugstores. i often find it together with the other soap bars.

  19. I've gone to numerous drugstores in search for curd soap but couldn't locate it. Maybe it's 'cause I'm from Canada, and they don't carry it here? Could I use baby shampoo or Neutrogena's Anti-Residue Shampoo for cleansing my Hakuhodo brushes? Is there anything else besides curd soap?

  20. i heard many people using a mild shampoo (like the medical mild ones for example from eucerin and such brands, not the siliconey ones with "special effects") and had no problem with it.
    i'm just using curd soap because it's comfortable, cheap and very effective.
    i think the more important part for my brushes are a little conditioning after the wash with a natural hair conditioner, of course washed out very thoroughly.


  21. Genius!
    I need to try the upside down with hair ties technique<3

  22. tolle tipps das muss ich schon sagen und gut erklärt!:)

  23. excellent post! very helpful tips. I have to change my brush care routine! A big hug to you!

  24. Thanks for sharing these gorgeous tips! I have used the MAC Brush Cleanser some time in the past on some MAC brushes, and that's probably why my Face and Cheek brushes got a bit scratchy. o.O

    Now, I'm using mild baby shampoo to cleanse all my brushes. Do you prefer regular Soap over shampoo? Is it because of the silicone in shampoos that you don't like?

  25. @Jess: i use the normal curd soap after i found out that it contains the same ingredients as a brush soap i formerly bought and at a fraction of the price.
    i prefer the curd soap for its simple yet effective ingredients. for extra-care, i would use a lightweight, silicone-free conditioner on the brush hairs afterwards.

  26. Do you ever comb your brushes? The Hakuhodo website suggests it but I never really tried it.


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