Frances Fraser | Sydney Makeup Artist | The Makeup Light Australia | Chronicles of a Makeup Artist

chronicles of a Makeup Artist...


Chronicles of a Makeup Artist...

Brushes are one of my favourite parts of my kit. Outside of my light, they give me pleasure when I use them, every single time. I know that sounds really weird but I love what they do, how they can give structure or shape to an application or soften it out, blending the edges away so the makeup becomes seamless. When I'm doing a clients makeup, my favourite part of the application is blending. I'm obsessed with blending out the cheeks, enhancing people's bone structure but in a really subtle way so it all looks as one but certain features stand out without seeing where it starts or finishes. It just is.

I have slowly been collecting some amazing brushes for my kit (I've made a list at the end so you can check them out) and I'm very careful about how I take care of them because what's the point in spending so much money on a beautiful brush, if its life span is limited because of how you treat it? Treat them well and they'll be good to you. Like soft work horses they will give you the results you want, time and time again.

I deep clean my brushes after every client, so they're ready to work for me. For personal makeup brushes, I recommend washing them once a week or more if needed (For foundation brushes, if once a week seems too long, get yourself a second brush - my favourite brush for foundation isn't expensive so it's easy to grab two). You want to wash your brushes regularly so you aren't causing breakouts for yourself by applying makeup with dirty brushes. Our makeup brushes pick up the bacteria that we naturally have on our skin and as it sits on your brushes with the oils from your skin, makeup etc, its multiplying because bacteria loves moist environments and then we apply that back onto our skin's surface where bacteria and pimples will have a love affair. If your breaking out more than normal, could the cause be, dirty makeup brushes?

Dirty brushes can affect your makeup and skin in more than one way too. It can hinder your makeup application itself, using dirty brushes means you can't get the best function from your brushes because they are clogged with product or colour. Viral illnesses, bugs and irritation can be passed back and forth, time and time again. Our skin is our largest organ and it cops a lot from the outside world. I like to nourish my skin as much as I can because it does such a big job to protect me, why would I want to spend money on skin care and makeup, only to thwart my own efforts any time I put makeup on? 

Good makeup starts with a good skincare routine which preps your skin for the best makeup application. Washing your brushes should be a part of that too. Once a week for ten minutes, (depending on how many brushes you use, it could take less) its worth spending the time to look after your brushes, therefore looking after your skin and yourself.



  • good quality makeup brush soap
  • gentle shampoo or brush shampoo
  • small bowl
  • soft white towel (or white face washer)
  • tray with a cloth on it, to dry clean brushes on
  • dirty brushes...


  • start by making up a shampoo rinse with a small (for real, tiny) amount of your shampoo and warm to hot water in your small bowl. Now we're ready to wash these brushes..
  • wet your brush (do one at a time) by holding the brush down as not to get any water up into the ferrule (the gold part on my brush above). YOU DON'T EVER WANT TO GET WATER IN THE FERRULE! This is where the brush is held together with glue so by getting water up there, you will over time, weaken the glue and your bristles will start to fall out. You also don't want to get water onto the wooden handle, if this accidentally happens just quickly wipe it off.
  • gently swirl brush on brush soap, moving the brush in the direction of the hair.
  • I gently wipe the brush along my hand to move the brush soap through the brush, where the makeup is, whilst still moving in the direction of the hair. This step is super gentle and not designed to get soap and water up into the ferrule but to gently wipe the brush back and forth to get the makeup off the bristles.
  •  You can also gently, press the soap into the tips of the brush to get the makeup out of the middle of the brush.
  • If there is a lot of makeup on the brush, you want to repeat this step till the brush looks clean by giving the brush a rinse after each soap massage on your hand. You also don't want to keep putting the brush back onto a dirty soap to just pick the makeup back up into the brush so I use a different (clean) part of the soap or rinse the soap off so it is also clean.
  • Rinse gently under running water to remove all soap whilst keeping your brush facing downwards.
  • I gently press the brush to make sure I can feel all the soap has been rinsed out. Keep rinsing till you can no longer feel any soap residue.
  • Swirl your clean brush gently around the bowl of warm water with shampoo to help cut through any left over soap residue. Rinse throughly again.
  • With your white towel, you want to very lightly squeeze out any water thats left in the bristles. This is also why you want to use a white towel (or face washer) because if there's any makeup left in the bristles, you can see it on the towel and rewash your brush.
  • Clean towel, clean brush. By lightly squeezing the water out of your brushes into the towel, also helps cut the drying time on the brush bristles. Reshape any bristles, as needed though this washing process should be done very carefully so that this will be very minimal.
  • Lay your brushes down flat to dry on your tray and cloth, or you can lay them flat on the edge of a bench so the air circulates around the bristles to help dry them.
  • I leave my brushes to dry overnight and they're ready to go to work for me in the morning.

I hope you found this helpful and it inspires you to keep your brush babies clean! It may seem like a huge process, but it's really quick (especially the less brushes you use) and once you get used to it, your brushes and your skin will thank you.


If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to send me an email and I'll do my best to help.

Peace, love & light,