How to Clean Makeup Brushes

Cleaning makeup brushes is important - not only for the brush itself, but also for your face! Read on for helpful tips about how to clean a makeup brush.


Nail polish and make up brushes

Key Steps:

  • Make up brushes need to be cleaned on a regular basis otherwise they can harbour dirt and oil which gets transferred onto your skin.
  • You can use household products such as dishwashing liquid or shampoo to clean makeup brushes effectively.
  • A hair conditioner can be used to moisturise the brush bristles.

Have you ever wondered how to wash makeup brushes, or even why you need to wash them? Most of us either forget about cleaning makeup brushes, or simply ignore the fact that it needs to be done. But it’s actually a very important task, and should be undertaken once a week as part of your regular cleaning schedule.

When it comes to cleaning makeup brushes, it’s important to avoid using hot water, as this can soften the glue holding the fibres of your brush in place. Rinse in cold water to maintain the fullness of each brush.

Why Do I Need to Clean Makeup Brushes?

You may be surprised to hear this, but makeup does go bad eventually, and all those particles of foundation and powdered blush that are caught up in your brush will start to rot over time. Makeup brushes also pick up natural oils from your face every time they’re used, and accumulate dust and dirt particles from the air when they’re sitting on the counter or kept in your makeup bag. This means that every time your makeup brush touches your face, you’re transferring old makeup, dust, dirt, and oil onto your skin. That’s not a nice thought! Learning how to clean makeup brushes at home is easy, and can help protect your skin from germs and bacteria.

What Cleaner Do I Need to Clean Makeup Brushes?

When it comes to choosing a product for cleaning makeup brushes, you have plenty of choices. Some women like to make the process as quick and efficient as possible, and choose a store-bought, specialist brush cleaner. These are often produced by major cosmetics brands and are widely available. However, you may prefer to use something a little closer to hand.

Plain old water is good, but you’ll want to use a cleaning product as well to remove greasy residue. Choose something that’s relatively mild, and preferably oil free to prevent more oil from being added to the brush. An oil-free facial cleanser, shampoo, or a regular dishwashing liquid like Vim Liquid Lemon are all good choices. Just don’t use a specialist shampoo, like an anti-dandruff or a colour-enhancing product. It’s best to use something gentle, such as a baby and toddler shampoo. A hair conditioner is also good for moisturising the brush after it’s been cleaned. Remember to test any cleaning solution, whether it be a commercial cleaner or a natural remedy, on a small area first to make sure it doesn’t cause any damage.

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Many women don’t know how to clean makeup brushes, and find the idea a bit daunting, but it’s so simple. It’s important to remember that getting your brushes wet won’t harm them, so don’t be afraid to use a good amount of water! Don’t soak the entire brush in water, however – you want to avoid getting the handle or the metal bit of the brush too wet, as this might harm the glue that holds the bristles together.

  • If you’re using a makeup brush cleaner from a shop, then follow the directions on the label.
  • If you’re using household products, apply a small amount to the palm of your hand.
  • Swirl the brush around in your chosen product, ensuring that it gets well into the fibres.
  • Holding the brush facing downwards, place the fibres of the brush under a stream of clean, cold water, gently pulling downwards on them to smooth them out.
  • Continue applying the product, and rinsing, until the water runs clear.
  • Squeeze out any excess water using a clean towel or absorbent kitchen cloth.
  • Reshape your brush whilst it is still wet, so that it dries into its natural shape.
  • Place the brush flat, with the bristles hanging over the edge of a table so that they aren’t squashed down.
  • Never stand the brush up to dry. This allows excess water to drip into the handle area, which could loosen the glue and cause the bristles to fall out.
  • If you want, when the brush is almost dry, but still a little damp, apply a small amount of conditioner and reshape once more.
  • When your brush is completely dry, fluff the bristles, and you should be left with a clean and hygienic makeup brush that is as good as new.

Originally published