Tip of the Week: Washing and Preserving Brushes
Do you bristle at the thought of cleaning your make-up brushes?
Wait — when’s the last time you cleaned your brushes?!?
- If you use a brush to apply your clown greasepaint, you should clean your make-up brushes once a week and your powder brushes at least once a year.
- If you do face painting, you should clean your brushes and sponges after every job.
How to clean brushes in 4 easy steps:
- RINSE – Rinse the visible paint off under warm running water. Be careful to keep the bristles pointing down so the water stream doesn’t splay them out.
- LATHER – Read this review for recommendations of solid cake soap brands. For liquid soaps, we have found baby shampoo to be gentle and thorough. Plus, many clowns use it to wash off their makeup (after re-liquifying the grease, that is), so you probably have it around the house. Aussie’s “Opposites Attract” Shampoo has been very popular for cleaning brushes. You can even make your own at home using 1 part olive oil, 1 part hair shampoo, and 5 parts warm water in a bowl. You don’t need a lot of soap to get a nice lather on the bristles. DO NOT crush the bristles against the ferrule (metal part that holds all the hairs in place). Use your fingers to gently work the paint out of the bristles. DO NOT wring or pull the hairs; you simply need to squeeze and tweak them.
- RINSE – As before, keep the brush hairs pointing down. Rinse under warm water until the water runs clear.
- DRY – For flat square brushes, pull the brush straight over a towel to line up the bristles and keep the edge flat and smooth. For round brushes, pull the brush over a towel while twirling in one direction to shape the hairs into a nice point at the end. For large round powder brushes and kabuki brushes, pull over a towel in a circular motion to reshape the bristles. Dry brushes on their side on a towel and let air dry. DO NOT dry them standing on their handle ends or bristles; both will create problems and shorten the life of your brushes. After they are dry, you can store them standing on their handle ends or on their sides.
- If you have natural bristles (such as sable), you might want to protect your brushes by conditioning them. Think about it: you use conditioner in your own hair to keep it silky smooth, so why not your brushes? If you do have natural bristles, use a light conditioner after the second rinse and then rinse again. We’ve seen people oil their brushes as a last step after they are dry. This doesn’t really help at this point. Oil is good for liquifying and breaking up greasepaint prior to washing, but it won’t do much good on your brushes during storage. If you want to preserve the bristles, a conditioner rinse is more helpful than a coat of oil.
- Some people use alcohol-based disinfectant as a means to kill germs. While this is worthy goal, especially after a hot afternoon painting a hundred kids, it is not as necessary as you would think. Firstly, the alcohol will dry out your bristles and shorten the life of your brush. Secondly, most soaps will be enough to handle any bacteria harboring within the bristles. Thirdly, if you do use alcohol-based disinfectant and don’t rinse it all off, even trace amounts can be damaging to sensitive skin. So if you feel the need to use it at all, consider it the second step — right after the first rinse and before the soap.
Be inspired! Read more blog posts for face painters:
- 6 Quick Faces – Videos of face paint designs kids will love, in under 2 minutes
- Washing Off Greasepaint – Here’s the best way to remove clown make-up
- Rainbow Cakes – Try Paradise PrismaBlend Face Paint cakes
- 16 Patriotic Cheek Art Designs – Try some of these for 4th of July or Memorial Day
- Glitter Gel – How to use this cool tool in your face paint kit
- Styling Clown Wigs – Great ideas and photos for giving your ‘do some clowny life!
- Pop of Color – A new method for clown eye makeup
- Learn how to paint faces – Take the face-painting course at Mooseburger Clown Camp
- Make-up Tip – Pat the grease-paint around your eyes.
Mooseburger Clown Arts Education has been running one of the world’s most well-rounded clown schools since 1996. Performers from all over the globe travel to Minnesota each summer for a fun and intensive clown training program. Each aspect of our clown camp is designed to meet your needs and boost your confidence as an entertainer.
Whether you want to join the circus, visit nursing homes, run your own birthday party business, paint faces, or twist balloons, there is something just for you at Mooseburger Clown Arts Camp.
Or call me toll-free to discuss your education and see if Mooseburger is the right fit for you: 800-973-6277