Friday, April 25, 2014

Spring Clean Your Beauty Kit

How to spring clean your essential beauty tools, along with a tutorial on cleaning makeup brushes.

I really love Marc Jacobs' Daisy perfume (more on signature scents later), but recently my supply has been running low. So, I was especially surprised and delighted when my husband got me the new, limited-edition Daisy for an Easter gift!

The new fragrance is light and breezy, like the classic Daisy that I love, but a little lighter, a little more spring! This got me to thinking how refreshing it is to live seasonally. Just as we give our home or wardrobe a spring cleaning, or perhaps try to eat cleaner as warm weather approaches, one's beauty regimen can also use a spring cleaning and seasonal update.

Updating my signature fragrance is just the first step in refreshing my beauty routine for the season. Along with the perfume came a typical free gift from fragrance companies: a bright little toiletries case that would be ideal for carrying a few beauty essentials while travelling. (Perhaps for a spring getaway?) As I looked at the clean, bright pouch, I suddenly noticed just how dirty and grimy my makeup tools had become. The thought of putting dirty tools into this pristine little bag made me pause. Clearly, a much-needed spring cleaning was in order for my makeup.

My first step was to clean my brushes. A year or two ago I bought a small brush kit from EcoTools containing four makeup brushes that I use regularly: brushes for powder, blush, eye shadow, and a small, fine brush that I use for smudging and softening eyeliner. Over time, makeup became embedded in the bristles of these brushes, which had become stiff and lost some of their shape. The handles, too, had gotten a little grimy. My eyelash crimper was also covered in a layer of old mascara.

Before: Time for a spring cleaning!
Just as I wash my face and hands everyday before applying makeup, why shouldn't I clean the tools themselves after repeated use? Makeup does expire, and it makes me cringe to think of the years of caked-on, expired makeup that were clinging to my brushes. Realizing how long I had been putting old, dirty makeup and tools against my skin and eyes made me shudder. So, not only do dirty tools become a beauty issue, but also a health concern!

Rather than throwing my brushes away and buying a new set, I decided to be resourceful and give the brushes a good cleaning because, aside from being a bit dirty, they were still in good shape.

    Preparing my work area.
  1. To begin, I gathered my tools together, along with a mild facial cleanser. I like the "Cleaner Clean" face wash by Basis. This is a gentle facial cleanser that I use everyday, so I figured that if it's good enough for my skin, it's good enough for the brushes that I use on my skin! What I like about this cleanser is that it rinses away completely, without leaving a residue like some other products might. Also, it's very gentle, so I knew I wouldn't have to worry about any harsh chemicals damaging the fibers of my makeup brushes.
  2. I spread out a clean towel near the sink, along with a large bowl. I moved downstairs to the kitchen sink, where I had a little more space and was able to grab a large mixing bowl.
  3. I filled up the bowl with hot water and added a dime-sized amount of cleanser into the water. I used a  mixing bowl for this because it kept the sink accessible, and it didn't require me to fill up the entire sink with cleanser. Also, it saved me the time of having to clean the sink before I put my beauty tools in it.
  4. Then, I put all my brushes and eyelash crimper into the water and swished them around. Immediately, the water became cloudy and makeup-colored! It was surprising to see just how much makeup was being washed out.
  5. Thus, I needed to remove my tools, empty the dirty water, and repeat steps 3 and 4.
  6. The second time around, the water still became cloudy, but was much clearer than the first time. I took out my tools again, and saw that my three smaller brushes seemed clean. However, my large powder brush was still a little dirty, so I moved to the sink and washed it by hand with a drop of cleanser and hot water.
  7. Then, I rinsed all of my tools under the faucet in the sink and laid them out on a clean towel.
  8. I took a paper towel and gently blotted the water from the bristles, which helped me to make sure that everything was clean and that no makeup remained in the bristles. I also gently reshaped the bristles with the paper towel, as some of them had become flattened during the washing process.
  9. Then, I used a damp paper towel to clean off the handles of the brushes.
  10. Finally, I propped up my newly cleaned brushes, handle first, in a glass to allow the bristles to air dry and regain their shape.
The entire process took less than half an hour. The last stage of my plan to refresh my beauty routine involved discarding old makeup that was either nearly empty, expired, or both. In particular, I had two old compacts and a blush that just had traces of powder left clinging to the case. So, those were gone! Fortunately, I had already bought their replacements and was just waiting to start using them. Now, with the old makeup gone and used up, I felt no guilt about opening the new ones.

After: A definite improvement!
Viola! With an updated signature scent, clean tools, and a few fresh products, I feel ready to revive my beauty routine for spring. Not only will this much-needed update give me a clean palate on which to start my spring beauty routine, but it will also give me a healthier start to the season.


  1. Lovely, Andrea!! I've used baby shampoo for my brushes... seems to work well :) Great post! -Katherine

  2. Thank you, Katherine! Great tip about the baby shampoo! Another gentle cleanser option!

  3. The dirt that build up in those makeup kits is one of the great cause of breakouts. No wonder some people opt for permanent makeup, so they don’t have to go through the hassle of cleaning those kits every day, and risk having an acne breakout if they failed to.

    Emily Ross @ Age Less Laser Centres

    1. You're absolutely right, Emily! Yes, keeping makeup tools clean can be a bit of a chore, but it's over in 20 minutes... while dealing with a bad breakout can take weeks!

      Thanks for the comment about permanent makeup. I've always been curious about this, and you've just given me an idea to research for a future post!