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TOP 5 | Tips for Washing Brushes

Updated: May 28, 2023

I cannot tell you the amount of times I have had someone assist me on set and I’ve caught them grabbing a dirty brush to use on someone and had to stop them. BLECH! I’m a total sanitation freak so this makes me vomit in my mouth a tiny bit. One of the big differentiating factors among professional MUA’s and inexperienced hair stylists who have a caboodle is proper sanitation. So we’re going to go over the top ways to sanitize and wash your brushes so you don’t look like an amateur on set or give someone an eye infection.

Don’t Be Gross, Sanitize Yo’ Stuff

TIP #1: Remember 1x1x1. Use brushes only once, on one person, and only for one day. At wrap, you need to spray everything with 90 proof alcohol before washing everything. Do NOT use 70 proof (which is what they sell at most pharmacies).

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TIP #2: Wash NOW, not Later! Do not let your brushes sit there collecting bacteria. It is tempting to not wash everything after you finish a production until you need them next time but I’m here to tell you, that’s gross. Wash them immediately so they’re clean and ready for the next job.

TIP #3: Gentle Does It. You don’t need a fancy brush wash; a gentle baby shampoo will do the trick in most cases (link). However, on brushes I’ve used intense, pigmented, creams, it’s good to use a dedicated brush cleanser (link) to help break down the oil and lift the pigment. If you take care of your brushes they will last forever!

TIP #4: Wash, Wash, WASH! Most brushes need to be washed 2-3 times. If the water is not rinsing clean, and there is still pigment left on the bristles, you need to wash it again. And then again. Any makeup left in the brush hairs will collect bacteria!

TIP #5: Let It Hang! Once you have fully washed your brushes, you want to gently squeeze the water out of the bristles in a downward direction so water doesn’t gather in the ferrule and loosen the glue of the brush. Reshape the brush hairs then place it flat on a clean towel with the bristles hanging off the edge. This will assure your brush dries correctly in the shape it was made in.

Check my Instagram for a look at how I wash my brushes and what I use!


BONUS TIP #1: Get a UV Box. Once my brushes have dried, I place them in a UV box to sanitize them fully. This is not a requisite, but it is a great tool to have!

BONUS TIP #2: Keep it organized on set. When working on multiple models/actors where retouching is inevitable, an inexpensive, disposable way to separate everyone’s brushes is simply using paper cups with each individual's name written on it. (image)

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