How to clean your Japanese makeup brushes

How to clean your Japanese makeup brushes

If you don’t yet know, the Japanese make up brushes are the best in the world. All your high-end makeup brands have their brushes made in Kumano Japan. If you want to understand why they are so good and you need to have at least one in your collection you can check out this post here.

Now we have set the stage for why they are part of your collection, the next step is to make sure that you keep them in great condition because they are not cheap.

So how do you clean your Japanese make up brushes?

One word ‘’carefully’’

Not to scare you or anything but you need to be careful when cleaning your Japanese makeup brushes. This is because they are made from natural hair and are much more fragile than synthetic hairs almost like your own hair.

So let’s get started.


How to clean your Japanese makeup brushes

The first step in your brush maintenance is making sure that they are stored in optimum condition. If you haven’t started using them keep them in their original packaging and store in a cool dry place. If not used daily, keep them in the plastic sleeve given at the time of purchase and lay flat. Always store brushes in a clean and dry environment you can keep them dry by using a desiccant (silica gel) which comes when you buy a new handbag to keep them dry.

For the Japanese brushes, you use on a daily basis, place them in a holding container such as a cup or brush stand with the handle down. This will prevent the bristles from becoming misshapen and keep them away from direct sunlight that way you are able to preserve their integrity and keep them looking like new for years.

Brushes are made to be used so if you do not use the brushes for long periods of time it may lead to the hairs shedding and damage the hairs.


How often should you wash your brushes?

This is why we are here right? It depends on a number of factors that include brush material, the products they are used for and how often you use them.

First, it depends on the brush type.

Brushes with dyed hair

Any Japanese makeup brush with dyed hair needs to be treated with extra care since they have a very thin protective layer on each hair to retain dye.

Squirrel hair brushes

How to clean your Japanese makeup brushes

Squirrel hair Japanese makeup brushes are much more fragile and should be washed as little as possible. A maximum of 3-4 times a year depending on how often you use them. So they are best suited for powders.

Goat hair and other brushes

Goat, weasel and horse hairs are much hardier which means you can wash them more frequently once or twice a month.

*Brush used with cream type product requires a wash after every use.

Daily cleaning

Make sure you tap off or remove any excess product each time you use any of your makeup brushes.  Use a microfiber cloth to clean them and to remove any products and oils on the bristles, especially for the more sensitive squirrel hair bristles. That way they don’t need to be washed as often and thus preserve the integrity of the brush hairs for much longer.

For goat hair brushes or brushes used for liquids and creams, you can also spot clean using a microfiber towel and some cleaning spray. If you are using a cleansing spray with alcohol do not spray it directly on the brush hairs, spray the product on the microfiber cloth then use it to clean the brush. Do this gently so that the alcohol does not distort or destroy the brush bristles.

Deep cleaning (once a month)

How to clean your Japanese makeup brushes

When your brush bristles start to clump, contain beads of makeup or generally stop performing at peak then it is time for a good wash. These are some of the products you need.

  1. A bowl for washing
  2. Microfiber cloth to dry.
  3. Brush cleanser –Bobbi Brown brush cleanser
  4. Baby shampoo/ any neutral shampoo.
  5. Brush soap –beauty blender solid soap
  6. Comb to remove dust or to just give a nice brush


Delicate brushes

Mix a shampoo or liquid soap into lukewarm warm, and then dip the brush inside the water up to the ferrule (metal part). Then swish it around and gently squeeze the bristles from the ferrule edge outwards to the tip to remove makeup from the brush, and then rinse the bristles thoroughly. Once the brushes are clean then gently remove excess water from the brush head with a towel and mould it into its shape. To dry lay it on a flat surface away from direct heat and sunlight. I like to allow the brush to hang over the ledge that way air is able to circulate better around the bristles.

Other brushes

Here I wet the brush by dipping it into lukewarm water then swirl it across the bar to pick up some soap. Then I rub I do it again and rub the brush against the palm of my hand to wash it. Rinse thoroughly until the water is clear, pointing the brush down, so water doesn’t weaken the glue in the base). The process is the same if you use a brush cleanser but I have found that using soap gets my brushes much cleaner.

To Dry

Gently dry with a towel then lay them down flat to dry. Because animal hairs can easily get misshapen you can reshape them and wrap them in a paper towel so that they dry keeping their shape.

There is how I clean my brushes, it’s not very different from cleaning synthetic brushes. However, you need to have the right tools and plan in advance.

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