cleaning the kit

Even if you are not a clean freak, a great way to help with the COVID-19 lockdown is to make the most of an opportunity to spring clean your makeup kit and skincare products. Even better, why not give your skin a chance to breathe and rest, use the few weeks to have a makeup detox. Your skin will thank you at the end of this process!If you have a bathroom cabinet full of products or makeup kit that hasn’t been given much love over the last few months, what a perfect way to use up a morning or afternoon! Say what?Yup. It’s quite time-consuming completing a full spring clean, although this depends on how much makeup you own. As a freelance makeup artist, I have a moderate to large sized kit. It can take up to four hours depending on how fussy I am. For most people, a good clean up should not take longer than a couple of hours.  

Why is cleaning necessary? 

Regardless of whether your kit gets used on multiple clients or not, makeup and brushes collect bacteria and dead skin cells. Dirty brushes also make for streaky application and contaminate product. It’s one sure way to increase a perfect breeding site for acne and numerous skin conditions. So, set a goal with how much you can get through and let's get started. 

Step 1: Cull

It's really easy to hold on to makeup for years, especially considering how much money we spend on product. But money spent on product is not going to be good for your long-term health if you're exposing yourself to nasty chemicals every day.How do I know whether to chuck it out or keep? Check all expiry dates. 

 Mascara - 3 monthsPrimers/setting sprays/lip gloss- 1 year 

 Eye pencils/ foundation/sun protection/concealer – 2 years 

 Eyeshadows/moisturisers/blush – 3 years 

 Get rid of anything that has a strong chemical smell or pungent smell. 

Are there any products that may have lost lids? You could store them in a zip lock bag or get rid of these as these will only get dried out over a short time. 

Step 2: Wipe down all surfaces  

Some may be inclined to wash their bathroom bag. If not suitable, thoroughly clean areas like the lining, pockets, and side panels of the kit that often collect much dust at the bottom. If using a hose of a vacuum, make sure it is on the lowest setting, so it does not reshape any compartments or even worse suck them up!If it’s only the bathroom you keep makeup in then don’t forget to wipe down containers and bottles (including skincare products). Finally, spray and wipe down your tools and pallets (inside and out) with alcohol or sanitising wipes.


How often do I need to clean my brushes? 

This entirely depends on how often they get used. If there’s a standard set for everyday application, these should be cleaned once month. Any shorter time can wear the bristles at a faster rate; therefore, the repetition depends on how often you are willing to replace them.

Tools for cleaning brushes: 

• Electrical tape or waterproof tape 

 • Gentle/natural hair shampoo or natural homemade makeup brush cleaner (baking soda, shampoo and apple cider vinegar).

 • Brush cleaning. Mats are great for rubbing the dirty water off under running water to save wearing the skin on your hands. 

• Hair ties for the initial drip-drying process. 

• Towel to lie brushes on for final drying process. 

Have a look at our natural cleaning brush recipe to use ingredients in the kitchen. We posted this on our INSTA page a few years back. If you don’t have time to create a homemade cleaner, using a natural shampoo is just as good.There are online suggestions to use soap. The harsh chemicals in soap can be damaging and wear your brush set in the long run. Unless it’s a natural shampoo bar avoid this at all costs. 

Brush cleaning steps

 Step 1: Tape up the area between the ferrule(metal) and handle on all brushes. This ensures the base of the fibres don’t get mouldy and fall out when repeating this process over time. I’m sure this is why my brushes have lasted quite a while. 

 Step 2: Mix shampoo with room temperature water or make a natural brush cleaning solution. I always separate the solution into three separate bowls or containers. Usually I pour two parts in two medium bowls or broad takeaway containers. These will be for foundation, blush, concealer and kabuki brushes, and the container to clean sponges. The final part is poured in a smaller bowl or cup for eye shadow brushes and sponges. 

 Step 3: Get all the cleaning tools ready to go, including the brush mat ready in a clean sink, a clean hand towel or paper towels ready to hold cleaned brushes and a bunch of rubber bands or hair ties. 

 Step 4: Dip brushes in the cleaning solution for a few seconds then gently lather solution into each brush. Make sure the solution permeates right through the bristles. Wash out the residue of makeup under a tap with light pressure. Once cleaned then gently squeeze the water residue out of the brush and place on a paper or hand towel.  

  • Tape

  • Cleaning solution or isopropyl

  • Brushes

  • Brush mat

  • Rubber bands

  • Paper towels

  • Hand towel

  • Bowls

You may be tempted to sit them in a cup. This can create a little lean in the hair angle which reshapes the full fan shape. Remember, our goal is to have undamaged brushes at the end of each cleaning process. To ensure they don't reshape, Hang with a hair tie or rubber band on a thin towel rail. Make sure to hang the right way with the brush facing down. 

 If you can't leave the brushes hanging all day, finished air drying for a good hour and then lie them down on a thick hand towel in diffused or direct sunlight to complete the drying process thoroughly. If your towel rail has direct sunlight, leave them as long as possible. 

In warmer weather is usually takes approximately 3 hours and in cooler weather it can take a whole day. A great solution is to use your hot water cupboard to finish them off but don't leave them in overnight. 

 Repeat the cleaning process for all your brushes. Once sponges have absorbed solution, squeeze as much makeup out while in the bowl and then rinse thoroughly in warm water. Before leaving to sit and dry I’ll squeeze an extra couple of paper towels around them to capture the immediate residue of water. This is a good test to see how well they’ve been cleaned. If there’s still a lot of makeup releasing itself then repeat process in new cleaning solution. 

STEP 4: Clean the makeup

Sharpen lip and eye pencils, wipe away lipstick mess and a thin layer off the top of the stick. Don’t forget to check and wipe down the caps of products. Get rid of spills around liquid products -particularly caps that often contain dried up residue.

Step 5: Customize, repurpose and minimise

Now is the best chance to personalise your kit and make access to product easier, not to mention help reduce time looking through lots of product in draws. As a makeup artist, I couldn’t imagine trawling through all my product every day. Instead, I have a set that I made up for myself. 

Approach this process with a minimalist perspective and your future self will be grateful for saving time.Repurpose and customise pallets or compacts to suit your skin needs and tone. Now that we are heading into Autumn and Winter, it’s the perfect time to get your next season colours ready. Repotting lipstick or cream-based products into smaller canisters are also a wise use of space to ease the load in your bathroom cabinet or bag. I have managed to half my space by placing cream concealers on the lid of the aluminium canister that holds cream foundation in the main pot. 

 NB. Avoid using earbuds to repot, instead use a clean teaspoon or unused ice cream stick. Earbuds are finicky and spread their loose cotton into the product.   

Thanks for checking out a very detailed blog! I hope you've picked up a lot of time-saving tips. Like a lot of things in life, if you take care of your brushes and makeup, your beauty regime will be much more enjoyable and beneficial! 

Thanks again and all the best! XO




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