There was a time when I went through a little bit of a make up brush phase when first starting to wear make up. In particular the Real Techniques range from Sam and Nic Chapman, E.L.F. Cosmetics and The Body Shop brushes. And so after gathering a good variety of brushes, I would use them everyday and they would sit there gathering muck from my make up. It was only after a few weeks that I read a blog post all about keeping your brushes clean, and for some reason this had never seemed to strike me before, but I soon realised that my brushes could do with a good scrub. It's because of this I thought I would write a similar post for those who are just starting out with make up and don't really know about brush hygiene. I'll be honest, it is easy to forget as it's one of those tasks that will just slip my mind. But I usually make the time now and either clean my brushes on a Sunday or in an evening, so they'll be dry for using again the next day. Now most people will say that you must clean your brushes at least once a week, and when I have the time I do pretty much that, although there are some times when it might be once every two weeks instead.
As for any special products for this, you can buy cleansers that are made for cleaning brushes, in fact I know that Real Techniques have brought one out in Boots for around £6-7. As for me, I tend to just use whatever I have in the house, and right now I'm trying to use up some of my Lush mini shower gels, and so here I'll be using The Olive Branch Shower Gel. To be honest it's not my favourite at all, but it gets the job done and gets rid of any make up. The reason we wash our brushes is so that no horrid bacteria can form in the bristles, and so this isn't transferred onto your skin when applying make up, which can most likely brake you out in spots - So it's a good idea to regularly clean them as much as you can. Plus, for me it doesn't take long at all, probably 10 mins at the most!
I begin using some warm water and using a circle motion on the palm and back of my hand, just to wet the bristles. I'll then directly add some of the cleanser (or shower gel in my case) to the brush, and use circle motions again to really work it in. On these face brushes by Real Techniques, not only do you want to make sure that the make up is removed from the light bristles you can see, but also deep into the brush were make up can hide away. All you have to do then is rinse it off, and really make sure that all of the cleaning product is removed, which I usually work out when it doesn't lather anymore. Once your brush is completely rinsed off, grab a clean towel and use circle motions again to dry the brush as best as you can. You'll also want to make sure you shape the brush to it's original form so then it can dry like that.
I then repeat these steps for all of my brushes, including eye brushes, which sometimes I like to go in with my fingertips and really work in the cleanser to remove any eye shadow. As for make up sponges, the first time I tried this I ended up taking a chunk out of it because I scrubbed a little too hard. However I worked out that you do have to be a bit more gentle here, and so I tend to rub and squeeze the sponge to remove any make up. After you've cleaned all of your brushes, you'll then want to find somewhere where you can lay your brushes horizontally so they can dry properly. I tend to use my bathroom windowsill and lay them just over the edge, as then the water left in the brushes doesn't run straight down the brushes and ruin the actual handle.