Quick, off the top of your head: When’s the last time you gave your makeup brushes a good clean?
Ah, the sweet sound of crickets chirping … Now, I don’t mean to guilt-trip you, but the grease and grime that build up on your bristles aren’t doing your face any favours. Colours don’t combine as well as they should, for one, and the months-old gunk you’re massaging into your mien is plain gross, and pimple-inducing to boot.
But because ain’t nobody got time for multi-step rituals, I’ve streamlined this necessary chore into three fabulously foolproof steps – or two if you’re absolutely pressed for time.
Aim to do the full three-step works fortnightly; weekly if you’re a frequent facepaint fiend. Brushes at the ready? Go!
STEP 1. STERILISE (OPTIONAL!) Skip straight ahead to the next step if you’re bowled over with “better” things to do. For the rest of us diligent folks, here’s what to do. Dip the ends of your brushes into a shallow bowl of bacteria-busting vinegar solution.
Balsamic, apple cider or sherry? Your choice, really, although I’m partial to distilled white vinegar for its crystal clarity – no possibility of inadvertent staining here!
In any case, the ridiculously easy recipe, such as it were, is roughly one part vinegar to two parts warm water. Grab the handle and submerge the hairs in this solution, swishing it about for oh, 20 seconds or less. Rinse off under a running tap.
STEP 2. SHAMPOO. If you have an alcohol-free brush cleaner on hand, congrats: You’re well on your way to becoming a beauty pro. If not, gun for a gentle shampoo that degrimes without stripping the bristles of protective oils. Rule of thumb? What’s good for your head is good for your brush.
Product recommendation-wise, I’m loving the shampoo from L'Oréal Professionnel’s luxe new Absolut Repair Lipidium range, which is positively packed with good stuff like cuticle-comforting ceramide and lock-loving lipids and lactic acids, all of which aid in sealing off split ends on your head and brush.
To use, smooth a generous glob of your go-to shampoo into the bristles. Work in some water and lather up, making sure not to let the suds seep into the ferrule, which is the metal bit holding the bristles in place.
Rinse carefully to prevent damage to the handle. Top tip: The trick is to angle your brush so that the water flows down the length of the hairs. When the water runs clear, you know you’re done. See? It’s exactly like shampooing your scalp.
STEP 3. STORE. Almost there! Pat with paper towels, then dry lying flat – 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.
Left to their own devices, your brushes should be good to go in about 12 hours. Once your brushes are bone-dry, store them standing up in a wide jar filled with silica beads, like sticking flower stems in a vase. And there you have it, a beautifying “bouquet” of brushes you can pluck at whim to gussy up your mug!
L'Oréal Professionnel Absolut Repair Lipidium Shampoo, $29, is available from September 2014 at all L'Oréal Professionnel salons. For more information, visit www.loreal.com.sg and follow L'Oréal Professionnel Singapore on Facebook and Instagram.