How to Clean Makeup Brushes

How to Clean Makeup Brushes

The Ultimate Guide: How to Clean Makeup Brushes Like a Pro

Are you tired of makeup not applying smoothly or unevenly? It’s time to clean your makeup brushes like a pro! Maintaining clean brushes not only allows for better makeup application but also keeps your skin happy and healthy. In this blog post, we will provide you with an ultimate guide on how to clean makeup brushes like a professional makeup artist.

Key Takeaways

  • Cleaning makeup brushes regularly is essential for flawless makeup and healthy skin.
  • Use dedicated brush cleaners, DIY solutions, or disinfectants to keep your brushes in top condition.
  • Follow expert tips to extend the life of your makeup brushes and enjoy perfect application!

The Importance of Cleaning Makeup Brushes

Cleaning makeup brushes regularly is key for preventing bacteria buildup, enhancing makeup application, and extending the life of the brushes. Clean brushes can help you achieve a flawless makeup look and keep your skin looking and feeling healthy. Maintaining clean makeup brushes promotes better makeup application. How often should you do this? Dermatologists and makeup artists recommend sudsing up our tools regularly to keep bacteria away and maintain healthy skin. Brushes used for liquid and wet products should be cleaned after each use for the best results.

To keep your dirty brushes clean between more thorough cleanings, consider using products that effectively dissolve pigments, oil buildup, and dead skin cells from brush hairs. With proper care, your brushes will not only last longer but also provide a smooth and even application every time.

Best Products for Cleaning Makeup Brushes

A variety of products can be used to clean makeup brushes, including gentle shampoos, dedicated brush cleaners, DIY solutions, cleaning tools, and disinfectants.

Each of these options will be detailed next so you can select the best one for your needs.

Gentle Brush Cleansing Shampoo

Gentle shampoos, such as baby shampoo, can effectively clean makeup brushes without damaging bristles. Baby shampoo is a great choice for cleaning makeup brushes due to its gentleness and effectiveness in removing dirt, oils, and residue from the bristles without the inclusion of harsh chemicals that could harm the brushes.

Some great specific brands of gentle shampoo recommended for cleaning makeup brushes are EcoTools Makeup Brush and Sponge Shampoo, Real Techniques Brush Cleaner, and French Nerds Nerdiest Brush Cleanser. Using these gentle cleansers can help maintain the integrity of your brushes and keep them in tip-top condition.

Dedicated Makeup Brush Cleaners

Dedicated makeup brush cleaners, like Cinema Secrets Makeup Brush Cleaner, are specifically designed for cleaning brushes and removing makeup residue. These specialized cleaners can make the brush cleaning process quick and easy, ensuring that your brushes are thoroughly cleaned and ready for use again. Some popular dedicated brush cleaner products include:

Another fantastic option is the NYX Professional Makeup On the Spot Makeup Brush Cleaner. To use this spray brush cleaner, simply spritz the cleaner onto a cloth or paper towel and gently wipe brush bristles until all residue is cleared. This can be a quick and convenient way to clean your brushes, especially when you’re short on time or on the go.

DIY Makeup Brush Cleansing Solutions

If you’re looking for an affordable alternative for cleaning makeup brushes, consider DIY solutions such as dish soap and olive oil. The olive oil helps to easily loosen the makeup from the brushes, while the dish soap is highly effective in cleaning the brushes and removing any residue or bacteria. The ideal ratio of dish soap to olive oil for cleaning makeup brushes is 2 parts dish soap to 1 part olive oil for a perfect clean.

Other terrific DIY solutions for cleaning makeup brushes include:

No matter which DIY option you choose, you’ll be able to keep your brushes clean and ready for flawless makeup application, just like a professional makeup artist.

Brush Cleaning Tools and Accessories

Tools like the Sigma Spa 2X Brush Cleaning Glove and Vera Mona Color Switch Duo can help you easily and effectively clean makeup brushes. The Sigma Spa 2X Brush Cleaning Glove is a deep-cleaning mitt designed to thoroughly clean your brushes, while the Vera Mona Color Switch Duo effortlessly removes color without any water.

Using dedicated beauty tools like these can guarantee a perfect cleansing experience every time. Incorporating these tools into your regular brush head cleaning routine can help ensure that your brushes are always in great condition and ready for use.

Disinfecting Makeup Brushes

To effectively disinfect makeup brushes with 70% isopropyl alcohol, follow these steps:

  1. Lay your makeup brushes on a towel.
  2. Spray the bristles with alcohol, making sure to thoroughly coat them.
  3. Allow the brushes to air dry completely before using them again.

Disinfecting brushes with 70% isopropyl alcohol can help kill bacteria and prevent breakouts.

Consistent disinfection of your brushes with isopropyl alcohol can assist in keeping your brushes clean and bacteria-free. For optimal hygiene, makeup brushes should be disinfected with 70% isopropyl alcohol at least once a week.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Makeup Brushes

Having covered the best products and tools for cleaning your makeup brushes, a step-by-step guide to cleaning them is next, which includes wetting the bristles, applying cleanser, rinsing, and drying.

Wetting the Bristles

To wet the bristles of your makeup brush correctly, follow these steps:

  1. Use lukewarm water to moisten the bristles, making sure not to submerge the entire brush.
  2. Avoid getting water on the handle and ferrule, as it can loosen the glue that holds the bristles in place inside the ferrule.
  3. Gently swirl the brush in the water to ensure all the bristles are evenly wet.
  4. Once the bristles are wet, gently squeeze out any excess water.
  5. Your brush is now ready to use for applying makeup.

Once the bristles are wet, shake out the excess water and pat them with a clean towel to ensure that they are left with just the right amount of moisture for the best results. Properly wetting the bristles can help prevent damage to the brush and maintain its shape for flawless makeup application.

Applying Cleanser and Massaging Bristles

After wetting the bristles, apply your chosen cleanser to the bristles and gently massage to remove makeup residue. You can create a lather and massage the tips of the bristles in the palm of your hand, or you can pour a drop of baby shampoo into lukewarm water and swirl the brushes, massaging the bristles with your fingers.

Whichever technique you choose, be sure to massage the bristles gently to thoroughly clean the brush without causing damage or shedding. This will help to ensure that your brushes remain in top condition and continue to provide a smooth and even application of makeup.

Rinsing and Squeezing Out Excess Water

Rinse the brush thoroughly under running water, ideally at a cold temperature. To remove excess water safely, gently squeeze the bristles to remove the excess water, and repeat the squeezing process until the water runs clear. You can also use a clean towel or paper towel to further remove any remaining water by gently pressing on the bristles.

Avoid rubbing or being rough with the bristles to prevent damage and ensure the brushes stay in great condition. Proper rinsing and squeezing can help maintain the integrity of your brushes and keep them in tip-top shape.

Drying and Reshaping Brushes

After rinsing and squeezing out excess water, it’s time to dry and reshape your brushes. Dry the brushes by laying them flat on a clean towel or hanging them upside down to prevent any potential water damage. Hanging brushes upside down allows the water to drip away from the ferrule, preserving the shape of the bristles and ensuring thorough drying.

Gently reshaping the bristles of your makeup brushes with your fingertips after cleaning will help restore them to their original shape. Proper drying and reshaping techniques can help maintain the shape and quality of your brushes, ensuring their longevity and continued effectiveness.

Caring for Makeup Sponges

Proper cleaning and care of makeup sponges are key to preventing bacteria buildup and maintaining their effectiveness. Beautyblenders and other makeup sponges should be cleaned after each use to ensure the highest level of cleanliness. Some of the best ways to clean makeup sponges include wetting them and lathering them with soap and water, or using a makeup brush cleaner for best results.

After cleaning makeup sponges, the most effective way to dry them is to leave them out to air dry. Make sure to squeeze out all the excess water before laying them flat on a clean surface or in a well-ventilated area. Proper drying can help keep your sponges fresh and free of any unpleasant odors.

Storing Makeup Brushes Properly

Proper storage of makeup brushes can deter bacterial growth and prolong their lifespan. Some of the best types of containers and methods for storing brushes include:

  • Makeup organizers with compartments and slots
  • Brush holders with lids
  • Rotating organizers
  • Magnetic brush holders

Storing makeup brushes upright will help them keep their shape and stay in great condition.

Proper storage encourages healthy hygiene and ensures that your makeup brushes will last for a long time. By storing your brushes properly, you can reduce the risk of cross-contamination from bacteria and prevent infections and breakouts on the skin.

Signs It's Time to Replace Your Makeup Brushes

It’s important to know when it’s time to replace your makeup brushes. Signs that a brush needs to be replaced include frayed, shedding, or misshapen bristles. The type of makeup brush material can have a positive effect on its lifespan, with high-quality brushes tending to last longer and can be used for years.

Stiffer bristles and shedding can be signs that your natural hair makeup brush can benefit from a refresh. If the bristles don’t bounce back to their natural shape after cleaning, it may be time for a new brush.

Expert Tips for Extending the Life of Makeup Brushes

Following expert tips can help extend the life of your makeup brushes. Regular cleaning, proper storage, and using quality products can all help maintain the longevity of your brushes. High-quality brushes from reputable brands like Hourglass, Morphe, and It Cosmetics can ensure a lasting experience.

Proper care and maintenance, such as regular cleaning and storing them properly, can also help enhance the lifespan of makeup brushes. With a little effort and attention, your brushes will continue to provide a smooth and even makeup application for years to come.


In conclusion, maintaining clean makeup brushes is key to achieving flawless makeup application and keeping your skin healthy. By following the steps and tips provided in this ultimate guide, you can clean your brushes like a pro, extend their lifespan, and ensure they remain in top condition. So, why not start giving your brushes the care they deserve today?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best thing to wash makeup brushes in?

To clean makeup brushes, gentle soap like Dawn® or gentle shampoos are recommended for best results. For natural fiber brushes, baby shampoo can also be used to break down heavier formulas. Try swirling the brush in a bowl of lukewarm water with shampoo and rinse until the water runs clear.

What should you not clean makeup brushes with?

You should avoid using soap, cleansers with high alcohol content, and harsh solvents to clean makeup brushes as they can damage the glue that holds the bristles together. Opt for a brush cleaner such as Cinema Secrets Professional Makeup Brush Cleanser and swirl and massage the tips in the mixture.

Can I use Dawn dish soap to clean my makeup brushes?

Yes, you can use blue Dawn® dish soap to clean your makeup brushes - just mix it with warm water and swirl the bristles in the solution. Massage the bristles with a silicon pad or your hand and watch the gunk release!

What is the best homemade way to clean makeup brushes?

For best results, clean your makeup brushes with a mixture of warm water, a gentle shampoo or  clarifying shampoo, and a bit of baby shampoo. Massage the bristles with your fingers, then rinse off until the water runs clear. For an extra deep clean, add witch hazel and grapeseed oil to the mix and repeat until the water runs clean. Let it dry overnight for a soft, sparkling clean brush.

What is the recommended frequency for cleaning makeup brushes?

It is recommended to clean your makeup brushes after each use to keep bacteria away and maintain healthy skin. Dermatologists and makeup artists agree that this is the best way to get the most out of your beauty products.

Nov 15th 2023 Skin Beauty TM

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