#SocialDistancing: How to give your makeup bag and brushes a deep clean during the coronavirus
We should be doing this regardless, in fairness.
Covid-19 has made sure that we are all painfully aware of our cleaning habits.
Every surface is wiped down, every hand is washed twice over, every phone is sanitised after it has been touched.
So, why not afford our makeup bags and brushes the same luxury?
Makeup artist Grace O'Connell is, naturally, an avid makeup brush cleaner. As an MUA, she knows all too well the trials and tribulations of having a dirty makeup bag - and the bacteria that undoubtedly fester within when a good cleaning job is ignored for too long.
So, to make sure that you haven't been neglecting your own brushes, bags, and every product in between, Grace has so kindly given us a few detailed pointers on how best to tackle cleaning our makeup bags.
Sure, what else would you be doing with your evenings anyway?
First things first...
Before you go in deep on your brushes, you might want to pay some attention to your makeup bag itself.
Just as bacteria can grow on brushes it can fester inside our makeup bags too, potentially leading to serious damage like eye infections, cold sores, contact dermatitis, and acne.
Grace says that giving your makeup bag - and the contents within it - a good scrubbing is key to kicking off a good deep clean.
This includes the inside of the bag itself, your palettes, your compacts, and all of your bottles.
"Dettol wipes might be like gold dust in your house currently but grab one or two from the press and use every inch to clean the outer packaging of bronzers, foundations, etc," she says.
"This is so important if you tend to do your makeup on the go and keep your products on potentially dirty surfaces like train tables, bus seats, or canteen tables in work.
"It seems like such an extra thing to do - but what else do we have to be at when we can’t leave our house? They’ll look brand new too!"
Next: scrub your brushes - all of them
Whether you've got 20 or just two, ensuring that your makeup brushes are clean is probably one of the most important things that you can do. Not just during a pandemic, but in regular life too.
Grace says that properly cleaned makeup brushes should last a lifetime - which is handy enough considering most of them do tend to set us back considerable amounts of cash.
"I still have brushes that I bought nearly 10 years ago and they’re in perfect condition," she says.
The secret? Well, it turns out that there may not be much of a secret at all.
Rather, all you need is some baby shampoo. This, says Grace, is the best way to give your brushes a thorough, deep clean.
"It’s affordable, gentle, effective, and you probably have it already in your bathroom," she says.
"I wouldn’t really recommend fairy liquid as it can strip and damage your brushes, and avoid using regular shampoo you would use on your own hair.
"The latter generally contains silicones or softening agents that leave a residue on your brushes and can clog pores or transfer on to your makeup products."
So, how exactly should we go about cleaning our brushes effectively?
1. Wet the brush and massage a small amount of baby shampoo into the bristles.
2. Rinse and repeat as necessary.
3. Gently lay the brushes flat and leave to dry.
And that, surprisingly, is it.
Grace says she leaves her own brushes to dry on her window sill overnight. She also uses NIMA nets to hold the bristles in place.
"My main tip when washing is to keep the bristles facing down and avoid getting any water on the metal part of the brush," she says.
"This will cause the glue to eventually come undone inside and you’ll be left with not a bristle to your name!"
So, how often should we be cleaning our brushes?
Grace cleans her own makeup brushes once a week, and would recommend the same for all foundation brushes.
Although most people will have varying frequencies around how much they use their own products, foundation and concealer brushes - and beauty blenders - do need to be cleaned more often than powder brushes do.
Grace says this is because liquid and cream products tend to harvest more bacteria than dry products.
"One concern I always hear as a makeup artist is how their brush doesn’t apply their foundation nicely," says Grace.
"I get a look at their brush and instantly know why; it’s so congested with product that it’s been reduced to about two bristles.
"Remember those Dettol wipes from earlier? Share the love with your brush handles - if they’re anything like mine they get manky very quickly and they deserve a wipe too."
And when that's all done and dusted, there's only one thing left to do...
Throw out your mascara
While the majority of us can tend to get a little too sentimental about cosmetic products, that old mascara tube that you've had in your makeup bag for almost a year simply needs to go.
"You’ve pumped more air into the tube in six months than you’ve pumped into your tyres in the last two years," says Grace.
"It’s ready to grow legs and walk out of your makeup bag. Get rid of it, it’s an eye infection waiting to happen."
You can follow Grace over on her Instagram here.