Saturday, January 28, 2012

How I Clean/Disinfect My Brushes, Sponges, Powder Puffs, Tools & Lashes

I wanted to do a quickie write up on how I clean my (personal & professional) brushes, sponges, powder puffs, tools & lashes.
Let me start by saying, I have 2 sets; my personal that I only use on myself and then I have my brush belt, which is strictly for clients.
I've had all of my brushes for a very long time (Except the sponges/lashes, I tend to change those more frequently) because I take very good care of them. Like anything else, I can't expect them to give me maximum results if they're all dirty & raggedy.
Aside from plain looking dirty, when you don't sanitize your tools, you're putting everyone at risk for contracting infections.
No thank you!
My process goes way beyond a daily spritz of brush cleaner & a weekly wash with baby shampoo...Here's exactly what I do & how often I do it!

Brush Cleaner:
I have a little jar that I fill about half way w/brush cleaner. I do this because if it gets too cloudy, I end up throwing it all away. It's too wasteful for me so I just fill it with what is needed.
I change this weekly or sooner if it gets too cloudy. I dip smaller brushes in this jar & swirl around until makeup comes off.
I also have a small spray bottle I use on my bigger brushes.
I rotate between 3 brands: M.A.C, Crown Brush & Parian Spirit.

Brush Cleaning Towel:
I use old washcloths for this specifically so I won't stain newer ones. After I use the brush cleaner, I like to wipe away excess liquid on here to make sure they're clean.

Anti-Bacterial Soap:
I believe my brush cleaners do a good enough job so I usually save this step for my Pro brushes to give them an extra cleaning.
I'll take a pump or 2 of anti-bac soap (like a good smelling Dial) in my hand and wet the brushes and swirl them around in the soap.
Rinse, squeeze out water until it runs clear of makeup and bubbles.

Brushes are made of hair so naturally they need a trip to the brush salon too! I know that if I want my hair to be soft, flowing & shiny then I need to use a good product. Same for my brushes!
I like Matrix, Sleek b/c it smooths, softens & calms the hair. Who wants to use a frizzy, scraggly looking, hard brush on their face? Nobody, that's who.
I use this in the same way that I do the anti-bac soap.

This is for the real hair brushes, synthetics don't really need it. I squeeze out a little bit of the Matrix, Sleek conditioner either in a small dish or in my hand and after a good shampoo I like to get a small amount of this on each brush and work it in.
I leave each one to condition in the order that they're washed so they have a few minutes to sit with the conditioner on.
After a good few minutes, rinse, reshape brushes and hang them over the side of a counter. This helps them dry faster as air gets in from both sides.

Powder Puffs:
I use Alcone's washable puffs. It's the only brand I use because they're the best & they last forever. I put these right in the wash with towels and/sheets. Wash these in hot water & I prefer using a dye/perfume free detergent so they won't be so chemically treated.
These can air dry.

Facial Sponges:
I wash and dry these the same way as the puffs.

Makeup Sponges:
I also use only the Alcone sponges for the same reason I like their puffs, they're the best.
To clean these I simply pump some anti-bac soap in my hand and squeeze all the product out. I just keep squeezing while running under water until it runs clear of makeup & bubbles.
These expand when wet, then shrink right back down to original size when dry.
I don't know why that fascinates me...*heehee*

I mainly use Ardell lashes because they've always worked for me. They're not expensive & they are extremely durable. After removing lashes (ever so carefully) I'll pull off any excess glue that's still on the lash line with my fingers.
To remove mascara off of them, I just hold them down on a paper towel & with a Q-Tip dipped in makeup remover, I'll go over them until they're clean.
*Pro Lashes*- I don't care if it weakens the material over time, but I'll take a Q-Tip dipped in 99% alcohol & run it across the lash line & down the lashes. Just to be safe for next time ;-)

Tools: (Mine & Pro-Not Including Brushes)
This goes for spatulas, tweezers, scissors, brow brushes, cuticle nippers & nail clippers...They ALL get washed with anti-bac soap AND soaked in 99% proof, professional grade, alcohol. I have a separate small jar filled with 99%alcohol that I use just for soaking freshly washed tools.
I like to let them soak for at least 10 minutes.

My Personal Brush Care Routine: (If Used)

Brush Cleaner

Anti-Bac Soap

(Clockwise L to R: Big brush cleaner, Towel, My brushes (organized by size) Spray bottle used to clean bigger brushes, Shampoo/Conditioner.
Front Row L to R: Facial sponge, Makeup sponge, Powder puff, Small jar w/brush cleaner used to clean smaller brushes)

*Professional Brushes*
Like I said, I take no risks with my own or my client's health but when it comes to my Pro tools I take extra caution. No cross contamination here!

After EVERY use (from Fashion Shows to Personal Clients) I always give them "The Works"...Brush cleaner, anti-bac, Shampoo & Conditioner.

I'll usually bring mini ziploc bags & give them the sponge, powder puff (and sometimes lashes) for them to keep.
If I used every day Ardell lashes, they can keep them. If I'm on a shoot & I use Make Up For Ever fantasy style lashes, I'll take them back & disinfect them.

*My Brush Belt*

You would not believe what this thing has been through or for exactly how long I've had it because of how new it looks! That also goes for my brushes that call it "home." Preservation is the key to longevity in this case!
Once a month (or sooner if needed) I like to take everything out of my brush belt & wipe it down using Clorox Wipes. These clean every drop of makeup & dirt while disinfecting, leaving it looking shiny and new!

It doesn't matter what your preferences are as far cleaning products go but you MUST clean/sanitize/disinfect your tools. Regularly!

Keep it pretty!


  1. Where do you find that brand of brush cleaner?

  2. I like to stock up at the annual Makeup Show
    but you can get all 3 on their individual webistes.

  3. Is there a way you know of to clean powder puffs by hand? I have the kind that comes int the compact.

    1. I would take those & wet them with warm water, squeeze a tiny drop of antibacterial dish soap in the palm of your hand and get the sponge all lathered up. Squeeze it until it runs clear of makeup. Squeeze excess water & lay flat to dry on a towel.