Thursday, February 7

How To: Cleaning Your Brushes

Today, I'll be talking about hygiene and tools!

You're probably thinking - what?

Let me begin by giving you a little background of my skin condition. I used to have generally good skin - enlarged pores, but no biggie. Till I decided to be adventurous and when DHC first hit Singapore about 4 years back, I splurged on its Olive Virgin Oil. Reviews were great, and I thought something natural wouldn't hurt my skin. I must have been using the wrong dosage as well because instead of using 1-2 drops, I was using 1-2 pumps (well, the pump is stupid).

Within a month or two, my skin went from normal to sandpaper rough. I had comedones underneath the skin, all over my cheeks and these couldn't be squeezed or removed. They were under the skin. I must say that having problematic skin gave me esteem problems, and I was conscious of anyone looking at my face.

Eventually, I figured out the problem, stopped using the Olive Virgin Oil and it was almost an entire year before my skin went back to its relatively normal state.

Things were fine for a while - still enlarged pores and the occasional zits but then without any warning, my face started breaking out all over again early last year. I couldn't figure out the problem and went to see my GP. She prescribed me some medication that is usually given to teens to control their hormones, and told me to stop using oil-based products as my skin could be sensitive to those.

I threw out my Biore sunscreen, Biore and FANCL cleansing oil, Skin Food essence and moisturizer and basically started from scratch again.

Invested in a water-based sunscreen from Uriage and am now using water-based products for my makeup remover, toner and moisturizer. Now my skin is back to normal again, with just some slight hyperpigmentation on the cheeks.

But choosing products that suit your face isn't enough! The tools you use on your face daily also matter. Tools like the kabuki brush, blusher brush, foundation brush, powder brush - they all transfer bacteria. Basically, you transfer facial oils from your face to your makeup, and then from the makeup back to your face again. And all those eye brushes need cleansing too. Who wants pink eye?

Also, when you purchase brand new brushes - wash those as well! Manufacturing and packing procedures are bound to leave some chemicals/dust/dirt on your brushes. For instance, I bought the Bubbi brushes in 2011 and when I was washing the brushes, I realised the colour of the kabuki brush runs! I must have washed it about 5 times before the water runs clear. Imagine transferring the dye onto your face.

So, deep cleanse your brushes! Suggested frequency would be once a week but I can only afford the time to do so once a month. When I do, I make sure to give my brushes a proper lathering using shampoo and then letting them airdry after.

Steps to Deep Cleansing Your Brushes:
#1: Get a little container - I usually use one that was previously used for beancurd/something not oily and easily cleansed.

#2: Mix some shampoo with warm water.

#3: Take the first brush that requires cleansing, and swirl the brush in the soapy water. Make sure that the soapy water doesn't go past the ferrule or the bristles may be loosened from the glue binding them all together.

#4: Use your fingers and work up a lather. You can also swipe the lathered up brush back and forth against your palm

#5: Rinse the brush under the running tap until brushes are free from soap and the water runs clear.

#6: Shape your brush bristles.

#7: Repeat with the rest of the brushes. Remember to change the shampoo solution once it becomes murky.

#8: Once all brushes are cleaned, place them in an open area to air-dry. Do not stand the brushes upright as the water will dribble into the ferrule. One way is to place a large towel on a flat surface, roll up another towel and lay the brushes with their handles on the rolled-up towel, while the brush ends are declined and dripping off onto the larger towel. It's gravity at work and your brushes will probably be dry the next day, depending on the density of the brushes.

Here are my brushes air-drying. I was too lazy to wait for my brushes to air-dry so I bought Sigma's Dry n Shape from Sigma's website during Black Friday - free international shipping! It was US$32, but I had to wait really long for the shipment to arrive. That was before I discovered Luxola and DolltoDoll, both local websites which carry Sigma products! Zzzzzzz.

That's not to say I go an entire month using dirty brushes though! In between, I do spot cleansing. In fact, I do spot cleansing everyday on brushes I use daily. It's also useful if you only have one eyeshadow brush and you want to use it on multiple colours.

Steps to Spot Cleansing Your Brushes:
#1: Purchase a bottle of Isopropyl Alcohol (aka rubbing alcohol). I got the 70% Isopropyl from Guardian at about S$4.60. The alcohol basically kills bacteria and germs.

This is how Isopropyl Alcohol looks like.
#2: Purchase an empty spray bottle - get it from Daiso or Watsons.

#3: Decant the Isopropyl you purchased into the spray bottle.

#4: After you use each brush, spritz once or twice on the bristles and swipe it back and forth on a tissue or towelette. I bought an entire kitchen roll for this purpose.

#5: Put the brush back into your brush holder; it's ready for next day's use since alcohol evaporates quickly!

My trusty bottle of 70% Isopropryl.
You can purchase Sigma's Dry n Shape here or here.

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