Keeping It Clean
Today I thought I'd share my face painting cleaning routine with you. It may not be the most exciting part of my job, but it's absolutely necessary to make sure that brushes, sponges and other supplies stay as clean as possible. There are a couple of products that make my post-gig cleaning ritual a little more fun and I'll share that with you, too.
First things first, I only use professional face paint. They contain preservatives that prevent mold, yeast and bacteria from growing. Different brands use different types of preservatives. I choose to use face paints that are paraben-free and you can read more about that here.
Another thing to keep in mind when using face paints is that they have an expiration date! To keep track of when I need to toss out any old containers, I mark the use by date on the bottom of the containers with a Sharpie. I also set a reminder on my calendar. Using face paints after they expire is a really bad idea because those preservatives only last so long. You don't want to be face painting with moldy or bacteria-covered face paints. Eew.
I always wash my hands before face painting and use a hand sanitizer several times throughout a job.
FUN ALLERT! One of my favorite face painting products is Brush Bath, a water sanitizer and brush cleaner. I use the gel form in my water (about 1 drop per 8 ounces of water) and I frequently spritz my brushes with the spray throughout a job. The ingredients are mild, organic and keeps my water smelling like lavender. Brush Bath is one of those things that I can't live without!
The most time-consuming cleaning steps come after a gig. I start off by washing my brushes with Dr. Bronner's Baby Unscented Pure-Castile Soap. I like that it's made with organic oils and doesn't contain any fragrance.
FUN ALLERT! I use a brush cleaning mat that has a textured surface and suction cups underneath to keep it in place while I really work those brush bristles into the nubby surface. At first, I thought this was one of those unnecessary products that wouldn't make any difference. But this mat cleans brushes so much more thoroughly than just using your hands. And it's really satisfying seeing all that paint come out of the brushes! You can find these at Ulta, Sephora and face painting shops online. I got mine at TJ Maxx.
I start by placing the mat in the sink and pouring about a pea-sized amount of soap on it. Then I get my brush bristles wet and start working it into the textured surface.
I rinse that first muddy pool of water away and then let the water drizzle while working the brushes until the water runs clear.
Next, I gently sculpt the bristles back into shape by dragging and rolling it along a clean towel.
Then, I let the brushes dry completely.
FUN ALLERT! So once the brushes are completely dry, I then sanitize them using Parian Spirit. The brush bristles have to be completely immersed in the liquid for at least 2 minutes to become sanitized. Then, I let them dry out completely before storing them in my brush case (which also gets washed, sanitized in the microwave and dried).
The reason I love using Parian Spirit is because it has this wonderful orange scent not unlike Grand Marnier or some other orange liqueur. You can use this on your own cosmetics brushes, too. You'll be amazed at how quickly your powder brushes come clean by dipping them in a small amount of the liquid (your fluffy brush will slurp the liquid up like a sponge!) and then wiping them on a clean towel. All the makeup and gunk just comes right out and leaves your brushes super soft and smelling heavenly.
My brush bath containers and brush cleaning mat get put in the dishwasher for cleaning and sanitizing.
We can't forget about the face painting sponges! I use a clean, sanitized sponge for each child. As you might imagine, I come home with a ton of dirty sponges at the end of a busy gig. While I'm face painting, I keep 2 plastic doggy waste bags (They look a little less like doggy bags when they're in fun colors!) out, one for used sponges and the other for garbage (dirty wipes, q-tips, etc.).
I use the good ol' Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap again and squirt a small amount onto a handful of brushes. Then I rinse out the face paint under running water.
To sanitize them, I put them on a clean tray and microwave for 2 minutes.
It's really important to dry them completely before storing them in a clean freezer storage bag. You have to flip the sponges over to make sure they are totally dry.
Last, I wipe things down with 70% Isopropyl Alcohol. I clean stencils (I wash with Castile soap first), mirrors, my face painting cases, the outside of the containers and anything else that gets touched by me or kids.
I think that covers it! While it can be tedious, it always feels great knowing that my tools are clean and sanitized. It's an essential part of being a face painter.
I hope you enjoyed finding out how I keep my stuff clean! See you next time.