1. Beauty basics: The conventional cleanse
Preliminary practice for beauty beginners: Grab a bowl of warm water, sprinkle in some shampoo – a no-nonsense do-it-all like American Crew’s Daily Moisturising Shampoo, $32 from Sephora, works well – then bathe the bristles in the soapy solution. (You can dispense a drop or two of tea tree oil into the basin to amp up the antibacterial awesomeness.) Use your fingers to separate the strands under a running tap and you’re good to go. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!
2. Cutting-edge cleansing for stubborn stains
Here’s an intermediate-level hack for industrial-strength warpaint. Swap out your shampoo for a sanitiser-type spray like BeautySoClean’s Cosmetic Sanitizer Mist, $18 from Sephora – the aggressive alcohol will cut through the robust richness of the cosmetic creams clinging to your synthetic lip and concealer brushes.
Or go for broke and splash out on a grooming gizmo like Sigma’s spectacular Spa Express Brush Cleaning Mat, $45 from Sephora, an intriguing innovation whose mechanism of action is perhaps best demonstrated via video below.
3. The quick fix
I’m talking about instant cleansing sprays, which are almost embarrassingly easy to use. Simply spritz onto a paper towel – never directly onto the brush-head! – then swirl the ends of your soiled brush on the damp cloth, making sure not to let the suds seep into the ferrule, which is the metal bit holding the bristles in place.
One big beauty bonus of using a spray instead of a conventional cleanser: The non-rinse formula means you can squirt it onto your brush between products to prevent colour transfer – especially handy if you’re using the same shadow brush to smoke up your eye and don’t want it to muddy up your makeup.
Product recommendation-wise, consider making for Make Up For Ever’s incredible Instant Brush Cleanser, $35, which de-grimes without stripping your bristles of protective oils and is just perfect at whisking away the most waterproof of mascaras. Very “chop chop curry pok” and very cool indeed.
4. Sterilise your sponge
Your beloved Beautyblender – or any other makeup sponge, for that matter – may be spectacular at concealing and contouring, but its contours and crevices may prove to be a tough egg to crack, at least when it comes to day-to-day maintenance.
Here’s how. You start with a foamy wash. Any drugstore detergent will do in a pinch, but my personal pick has got to be cult cosmetics brand Artis’s awesome Brush Cleansing Foam, US$29 (approximately S$40 from Net-A-Porter), which yields an exceptionally fine froth that cuts through filth without rubbing the fibres right off.
In any case, what you do is to dispense a drop of your cleanser of choice into your palms, then rub your hands together to create a marshmallow-like consistency which you can then transfer onto your makeup sponge. Think of it as “icing” your eggs with dollops of custardy cleansing cream and this chore can actually become quite the therapeutic experience! Once you’ve finished daubing your makeup sponges with foam, proceed to rinse off under a tap until the water runs clear. And you’re done! Easy enough, right?
5. Some final bits and bobs
Once you’re done sudsing up and scrubbing down, blot your brushes and sponges with paper towels and lay them flat on a clean surface – never prop your damp brush upright in a container like you would your toothbrush, as gravity will cause water to drain back into the metal ferrule and weaken the adhesive holding it to the bristlehead.
And that’s it! Aim to give your tools a disinfecting dunk at least once a week; or every other day if you’re a facepaint fiend. Because hey, the bristles on your brushes deserve as much tender, loving care as the locks on your head. Brushes at the ready? Go forth and have lots of good, clean fun!
Text: Eugene Quek / Her World Plus Additional Text: Arissa Ha