It may be a bit of a mundane task, but it is important to know how to clean your makeup brushes to keep them in pristine condition. Not only does this make it easier for you to get the results you expect from your favourite brushes, but it also keeps the brush hairs germ free, which will be much appreciated by your clients.
Here is our handy step-by-step guide to cleaning and disinfecting your brushes:
If the brush hairs have been in contact with alcohol pigments, adhesives, gafquat, top guard or other products, use a 99% IPA liquid. Of course, sometimes life happens…you get busy and forget to clean the brushes straightaway, which may mean that adhesives such as Telesis or Pros Aide have dried into the hairs. We suggest dipping the brush hairs into Acetone before using IPA as this will help dissolve the adhesive, saving that trusty brush which otherwise would have been ruined.
After using the IPA, you can then wash them with baby shampoo and rinse with water, making sure no residue is left on the hairs. Take all other remaining dirty brushes (used with products such as crème makeup, pigments, dirt power and blood) which don’t require the IPA treatment and also wash them with the same baby shampoo solution. Keep repeating until the water is clear.
When the brushes are clean, let’s sanitise them so they are germ free and good as new. Fill up 70% of an empty bottle with 99% IPA and the remaining 30% with distilled water. Dip the handles and the brush hairs in the solution and let it air dry. You can also use this to spot clean brushes whilst you are working.
You may think that increasing the ratio of IPA versus distilled water will make the solution more effective, but let us assure you, it doesn’t. For the IPA to react with the bacteria cells and micro-organisms and be effective in sanitising your brushes, the ratio has be to around 65-70% IPA and 30-35% water.
Hang your brushes upside down overnight so that the moisture can evaporate and you wake up to squeaky clean brushes.
Our top 3 brush cleaning products -
1. IPA, 99.9% isopropyl alcohol also known as IPA. Used by make up artists with many SFX products and the activation of speciality palettes from Reels, Skin Illustrator, BluebirdFX & Stacolors, also used for cleaning brushes & equipment.
2. Metsolv, industrial strength de-greaser to quickly & effectively clean brushes. Very quick drying.
3. Parian Spirit, made from citrus spirits and food grade solvents, giving it powerful cleaning properties that cut through oil-based makeup and adhesives but remains gentle to natural and synthetic hair bristles.
Looking for a shortcut? Well, you may quite like the StylPro Brush Cleaner and Dryer, which takes the hard work out of brush cleaning. Just place your brushes in the appropriate StylPro holder, put it in the glass bowl, make it spin and the centrifugal force will first clean and then dry the brush in seconds. Really great for when you want to use a brush straightaway after cleaning. You can use it with any brush cleaner you want, so perfectly fine for IPA based solutions or even baby shampoo.
Emmy Award-winning makeup artist, monster maker, mad scientist and now author, Steve Johnson is renowned for his contribution to the SFX industry throughout the years. His recent book, Rubberhead: Sex, Drugs, and Special FX was published in 2017 and chronicles his legendary career in film and TV. Johnson’s company, XFX, did make-up effects for more than 200 films, countless TV shows, commercials and music videos. His film credits include The Abyss, Ghostbusters, Bicentennial Man, Species and Spider-Man 2. Steve was kind enough to answer a few burning questions we had for him about the upcoming release of the second instalment of the Rubberhead Books.
If you haven’t already seen the robotic beauty that Birmingham based collective, Father Phantom Studios debuted at IMATs London, where have you been?!
Made up of the super talented Ben and Laura, who specialise in creating SFX makeup and collectables from their studio, in the trendy Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham. We were lucky enough to be joined by them and Titanic FX to demo their newest creation. As we are always intrigued to find out more about design and the creation process behind the makeups, we dropped them a few questions. Read all about this stunning creation below!