As a professional, I clean my brushes after every use, but if you are using your own brushes for your own makeup, once a week would be good. When I’m on a shoot, or out and about, I use a professional brush cleaner such as Parian Spirit, which is made from citrus and is environmentally friendly. It is also good if you are a bit lazy and don’t want to shampoo your brushes. Spray some on to a tissue, and wipe the brush until there is no product coming out of it.
To wash, use lukewarm water – if the water is too hot, it will destroy the glue and loosen the hairs – and shampoo or a good washing-up liquid. Point the brush with the hairs facing downwards, so the water doesn’t run up into the brush. Lather up some shampoo and wash the bristles. When you rinse, squeeze until the water stops bubbling. Dry gently with a towel and dry them flat overnight.
You can treat synthetic and natural brushes in the same way, as well as makeup sponges and powder puffs. With lip or foundation brushes, which can get covered in greasy makeup, get some oil – olive or baby oil is fine – and work a little bit through the dry brush. Then tissue it off to remove the grease, before shampooing it clean.
Ellie Tobin is a makeup artist and tutor at the London College of Fashion