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ILLAMASQUA PRO’S: Q&A with Pablo on kit hygiene

We did a question and answers with our Director of Artistry, Pablo Rodriguez about a topic that we get asked about a lot; The best hygiene practices when it comes to your makeup tools, how to care for your brushes and as professionals how to make sure your tools are safe to use for everyone in between jobs. So we thought we would hand this topic over to the man who knows best, Pablo. 

How often do you clean your brushes?  

‘Once a brush has been used, I never use it on a different model or client until it is clean again. I put them in a separate bag and wash them all at the end of the job. For individual makeup wearers, they don’t need to do this every day, but they should do it regularly, at least once a week, especially for liquid or cream products. Or every time they are using different shades.’ 

How do you clean your makeup brushes? 

The best way to get your brushes as clean as possible is to just wash them. Any bar soap will do, if it is an antiseptic one even better. I only use brush cleansers during shoots or shows when I start running out of clean brushes. For oil-based products like lipstick, I clean them with anything oil based before washing them, this could be anything from a waterproof dual makeup remover to regular olive oil. Oil removes oil. 

Do you find clean brushes make makeup application better? 

100%!!! Once they are clean and dry, they go back to their original shape and texture. They will perform the way they were supposed to when they were designed. 

How often do you replenish your brushes? 

It is not necessary to replenish them very often if you take care of them. I have some brushes that are 10 years old and they look brand new.

What signs should you look for so you know when to replenish brushes. 

There are many signs. If they lost too many bristles or they start splitting at the sides, they many need to go; but it depends on the type of brush. For a liquid liner or lip brush, that will affect the application, a big bronzer brush should be fine if it still feels soft on the skin. If the handle starts chipping off, it is very personal if you do mind that or not. For makeup artists it could be seen as not very professional, for personal use, I wouldn’t care that much about that. Chipped black handles can be easily disguised by painting the holes with black nail varnish.  

Any top tips on preventing brush heads not losing shape after washing them? 

After washing them, I squeeze the bristles into a kitchen roll to absorb the excess of water, this way they will dry quicker and the glue that keeps the bristles together will not go soft. After that, I give them a gentle shake to they go back to its original shape before they dry completely. Leave them to dry overnight if possible. 

If your model wants you to use disposable, what are your go to tools? 

I use cotton balls to apply powder and then discard them every time after they touch someone’s face. For mascara and lips, I try to avoid using plastic disposables as they are not great for the environment. For mascara, I decant the product with a spatula on a sanitized metal palette and then pick it up from there with a fresh clean fan-shaped mascara brush. I do the same with lipstick, lip glosses, cream blushers, foundations and concealers using the correct clean brushes. This is the only safe way to double-dip in the same product without worrying about cross-contamination. If the client really insists on using disposables, I would have to, but I always suggest that if they have their own brushes with them, I can use those. Many models already come prepared with that, and I don’t mind that at all, it is a good compromise. 

We hope that answers all the questions you may have regarding hygiene and keeping your brushes clean when being a busy makeup artist. If you have anymore don’t be afraid to get in touch with us and we will be happy to help you out. 


Katie Shaw

Katie Shaw

Writer and expert

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