How to clean your makeup and brushes

 Chicago Makeup Artist

Occasionally I work with talent that brings their own makeup. Sometimes they bring their own out of fear that an artist will not be available or out of personal preference for their specific brand. Often, their bags look very dingy and in need of some major tender loving care. This article is dedicated on how to clean your makeup and brushes.

I got to thinking about how we treat our pretty makeup packages after we glowingly come home with them and ceremonially place them in our caboodle or bag. It doesn’t take long before we toss them around, drop shadows on the floor, keep products we don’t use, and apply them with dirty brushes! I myself have a bag covered in a film of broken powders and eye pencil remains and I am guilty, guilt, guilty of hoarding makeup I don’t like! I am also given quite a bit of makeup for free from companies that I have worked with. I can’t possibly use all of this stuff before it expires. I know you’re thinking, HEY! GIVE YOUR EXTRAS TO ME! Visit me in my salon and I have have a little basket of free samples and goodies for clients to sift through. Moving on…

How do we keep our makeup supplies neat and tidy?

Here are a few steps you can take to live a happy and sanitary makeup life:


makeup you have not used within the last 6 months. That “tinker bell” glitter you have been holding onto since grade school has probably had its day in the sun and shouldn’t be renting space in your beauty supply closet.


broken packaging. Tape, pin, rubber band, or MacGyver your way through those broken pieces of plastic. If you want to take it a step further, depot your shadows into a Z-Palette. The Z-Palette saves space and makes it easier to see what colors you own in a pretty display. Click here for instructions how to de-pot your makeup. If you want to repair broken powders, you can press it back together with a few drops of 99% alcohol or Beauty So Clean. I don’t personally like doing this with my broken powders because it messes with the integrity of the oils in the makeup. I prefer to place broken powders loosely in new containers.


all surfaces with a baby wipe damp with alcohol. A paper towel damp with alcohol is also sufficient.


I cannot stress how important it is to clean your brushes. It is unsanitary to reuse a brush as well as ineffective in applying makeup.It is unsanitary because once you touch your brush to an area where there is inflammation or lesion on the skin (such as a pimple or acne), you risk transferring the same bacteria to other areas of the face that are otherwise healthy. A dirty brush is ineffective in applying makeup because it muddies the true color of the product. For example, you cannot use a brush dipped in black and brown and then try to swipe a cream or light pink over the lid with the same brush! You are an artist and the tools your use on your canvas should be clean so that you get the best results! For the average consumer, I recommend cleaning your brushes with a hair shampoo. It is gentle on the brushes and very effective. If you want to splurge, purchase Cinema Secrets brush cleaner or MAC Cosmetics brush cleanser. I tend to use a bar soap found at the art store called the Masters Brush Cleaner.

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