What’s The Best Way To Clean Makeup Brushes?

Taking care of your makeup brushes is essential for maintaining a flawless makeup application. But what’s the most effective way to clean them? In this article, we’ll explore various methods and techniques that ensure your makeup brushes are not only spotlessly clean but also last longer. From using gentle cleansers to clever drying techniques, we’ve got you covered. So get ready to discover the best way to clean your makeup brushes and elevate your beauty routine to a whole new level!

Whats The Best Way To Clean Makeup Brushes?

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The Importance of Cleaning Makeup Brushes

Removing Dirt, Oil, and Bacteria

Cleaning your makeup brushes regularly is essential for maintaining good hygiene and ensuring the longevity of your brushes. Over time, makeup brushes accumulate dirt, oil, and bacteria from the products they come into contact with, as well as the natural oils on your skin. These contaminants can lead to clogged pores, breakouts, and even infections if left unaddressed.

Regularly cleaning your makeup brushes helps to remove these impurities, ensuring that your brushes are free from any residue that could potentially harm your skin. By keeping your brushes clean, you minimize the risk of transferring dirt or bacteria onto your face, which is especially important if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin.

Extending the Lifespan of Brushes

Cleaning your makeup brushes not only benefits your skin but also extends the lifespan of the brushes themselves. When makeup residue, dirt, and oil accumulate on the bristles, they can cause the bristles to become stiff and brittle over time. This can lead to shedding, fraying, and a decline in the overall quality of the brushes.

By regularly cleaning your brushes, you remove these impurities and ensure that the bristles remain soft, flexible, and in optimal condition. This helps to maintain the performance and longevity of your brushes, allowing you to continue creating flawless makeup looks without the need for frequent replacements.

Frequency of Cleaning Makeup Brushes

Daily Spot Cleaning

While deep cleaning your makeup brushes on a weekly basis is important, daily spot cleaning is recommended to maintain cleanliness and prevent the buildup of product residue. Spot cleaning refers to the process of quickly removing excess product from the brush after each use.

To spot clean your brushes, simply spritz an alcohol-based brush cleaner onto a clean tissue or paper towel. Gently swirl the brush bristles on the tissue until the residue is lifted, repeating if necessary. This quick and easy step ensures that your brushes are ready for use the next time you need them, without compromising their performance or accumulating excess product.

Weekly Deep Cleaning

In addition to daily spot cleaning, it is crucial to deep clean your makeup brushes on a weekly basis. Deep cleaning removes any remaining product, oils, and bacteria that may have accumulated on the bristles over time.

To deep clean your brushes, you have a few options for cleaning solutions. We will discuss these options in the next section. Regardless of the cleaning solution you choose, the process generally involves wetting the bristles, applying the cleanser, gently lathering and rinsing the bristles, and drying them properly. We will delve into the step-by-step guide in section 4.

Whats The Best Way To Clean Makeup Brushes?

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Choosing the Right Cleaning Tool

Gentle Brush Cleansers

When it comes to deep cleaning your makeup brushes, using a mild and gentle brush cleanser is highly recommended. These cleansers are specially formulated to effectively remove dirt, oil, and bacteria from the bristles without causing any damage.

Look for brush cleansers that are fragrance-free and gentle on the skin. Avoid harsh ingredients such as alcohol or sulfates, as these can strip the brushes of their natural oils and cause them to become dry and brittle. Instead, opt for cleansers that contain moisturizing ingredients that can help keep the bristles soft and supple.

Mild Soap or Shampoo

If you don’t have a dedicated brush cleanser on hand, using a mild soap or shampoo can be an effective alternative. Look for gentle, preferably pH-balanced options that won’t leave behind any residue or irritate your skin.

To clean your brushes with soap or shampoo, wet the bristles under lukewarm water, apply a small amount of soap or shampoo directly onto the bristles, and gently lather them up with your fingers. Rinse the bristles thoroughly until the water runs clear, ensuring that no soap residue remains. Squeeze out any excess water and reshape the bristles before laying the brushes flat to dry.

Olive Oil or Coconut Oil

For those who prefer a more natural approach to cleaning their brushes, olive oil or coconut oil can be used as a brush cleanser. These oils not only effectively remove makeup residue but also help condition and nourish the bristles, keeping them soft and supple.

To use oil as a cleanser, simply pour a small amount onto a clean tissue or paper towel and swirl the bristles of the brush in the oil. This process should lift away the product residue, dirt, and bacteria. Rinse the brush under lukewarm water, gently massaging the bristles until the water runs clear. Squeeze out any excess water and reshape the bristles before leaving the brushes to dry flat.

Step-by-Step Guide to Clean Makeup Brushes

Cleaning your makeup brushes may seem like a daunting task, but by following a simple step-by-step guide, you can ensure thorough cleansing without damaging your brushes.

Preparing the Brushes

Start by gathering all the brushes you want to clean and laying them out on a clean surface. If you have a brush cleaner, this is the perfect time to apply it. Spritz the cleaner onto the bristles of each brush, making sure to coat them thoroughly. If you’re using a soap or shampoo, wet the brushes under lukewarm water instead.

Wetting the Bristles

Once the brushes are prepared, wet the bristles under lukewarm water. Be careful not to wet the handle or fully submerge the brush, as this can loosen the glue that holds the bristles in place. Instead, hold the brush at a downward angle and allow the water to flow over the bristles.

Applying Cleanser

If you’re using a brush cleaner, the cleanser you sprayed earlier should already be on the bristles. If you’re using a soap or shampoo, apply a small amount directly onto the bristles. Use your fingers to gently work the cleanser into a lather, making sure to cover all the bristles.

Gently Lathering and Rinsing

Once the cleanser is applied, gently lather the bristles in a circular motion, focusing on the product buildup near the base of the bristles. Be careful not to apply too much pressure or roughness, as this can damage the bristles. If you spot any stubborn residue, repeat the lathering process until the bristles are clean.

After lathering, rinse the bristles under lukewarm water, again ensuring that only the bristles come into contact with the water. Gently massage the bristles with your fingers to remove any remaining cleanser or residue. Continue rinsing until the water runs clear.

Drying the Brushes

After rinsing, gently squeeze out any excess water from the bristles. Use a clean towel or paper towel to blot the bristles, removing as much moisture as possible. Reshape the bristles by running your fingers along them or using a brush guard if you have one.

To facilitate proper drying, lay the brushes flat on a clean towel or hang them upside down with the bristles facing downward. This allows any remaining moisture to drip away from the bristles, preventing water from seeping into the ferrule or handle. Give the brushes ample time to dry completely before using them again. Depending on the bristle density and size, drying can take anywhere from a few hours to overnight.

Whats The Best Way To Clean Makeup Brushes?

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Additional Tips for Cleaning Makeup Brushes

Avoid Soaking the Brush Handle

While it’s important to thoroughly clean the bristles of your makeup brushes, it’s best to avoid soaking the brush handle. The prolonged exposure to water can cause damage to the wood or weaken the glue that holds the bristles in place. To ensure the longevity of your brushes, be mindful of how you handle and clean them, focusing primarily on the bristles.

Brush-Specific Techniques

Different types of brushes may require slightly different cleaning techniques. For example, synthetic brushes often have denser bristles, making it crucial to thoroughly rinse out any cleanser or residue. Natural hair brushes, on the other hand, are more delicate and may require extra gentle handling during the cleaning process.

When cleaning beauty sponges or blenders, lightly saturate the sponge with water and apply a small amount of soap or cleanser. Gently squeeze and massage the sponge to work up a lather, ensuring that the cleanser reaches all areas of the sponge. Rinse thoroughly until the water runs clear, squeezing out any excess moisture. Allow the sponge to air dry completely before using it again.

Storing Brushes Properly

Proper storage is essential to maintain the cleanliness and shape of your makeup brushes. After cleaning, store your brushes in an upright position to allow them to dry thoroughly and prevent any moisture from accumulating in the ferrule or handle.

Avoid storing brushes in airtight containers or bags, as this can create a breeding ground for bacteria. Instead, opt for a brush holder or stand that allows for proper air circulation. Additionally, keep your brushes away from direct sunlight or excessive heat to avoid any damage to the bristles or handles.

Dangers of Not Cleaning Makeup Brushes Regularly

Skin Irritation and Breakouts

Failing to clean your makeup brushes regularly can have serious consequences for your skin. The accumulation of dirt, oil, and bacteria on the bristles can lead to clogged pores, which in turn may result in skin irritation, breakouts, and even infections. By cleaning your brushes regularly, you minimize the risk of these skin issues and maintain a healthy complexion.

Product Buildup

Using dirty brushes can also affect the performance of your makeup products. When makeup residue builds up on the bristles, it can mix with fresh product and alter its texture, color, and application. This can result in streaky foundation, patchy eyeshadow, or uneven blush application. By keeping your brushes clean, you ensure that your makeup products perform their best, allowing you to achieve flawless and even results.

Shortened Lifespan of Brushes

Makeup brushes aren’t cheap, and neglecting their cleaning can significantly shorten their lifespan. Accumulated dirt, oil, and bacteria can cause the bristles to become stiff and brittle over time, leading to shedding, fraying, and a decline in performance. By regularly cleaning your brushes, you maintain their softness, flexibility, and longevity, ultimately saving you money in the long run.

How to Clean Special Brushes

Synthetic Brushes

Cleaning synthetic brushes follows the same general steps as mentioned earlier. However, due to their denser bristles, it is important to ensure that all cleanser and residue is rinsed out thoroughly. Gently massage and squeeze the bristles under running water until the water runs clear. Proper drying is also crucial for synthetic brushes, as any trapped moisture can lead to the growth of mold or mildew.

Natural Hair Brushes

Natural hair brushes require extra care and delicacy when it comes to cleaning. The soft and delicate nature of the bristles can make them more prone to damage if not handled with care. When washing natural hair brushes, be mindful of the water temperature, as hot water can damage the bristles. Additionally, use a gentle cleanser and be cautious not to apply too much pressure during the lathering process. Avoid wringing or twisting the bristles, as this can cause them to become misshapen or break.

Beauty Sponge or Blender

Cleaning beauty sponges or blenders is slightly different from cleaning makeup brushes. Begin by lightly saturating the sponge with water, ensuring that it is thoroughly dampened. Apply a small amount of soap or brush cleanser directly onto the sponge and gently squeeze and massage it to work up a lather. Rinse the sponge under running water, squeezing out any excess cleanser or residue. Repeat this process until the water runs clear. Allow the sponge to air dry completely before using it again.

Quick Cleaning Options

Brush Cleaning Sprays

If you’re short on time or need to quickly clean your brushes between uses, brush cleaning sprays can be a convenient option. These sprays are designed to quickly remove excess product from the bristles, allowing you to use the brushes again without a full deep clean.

To use a brush cleaning spray, simply spray a small amount onto the bristles and gently swirl the brush on a clean tissue or paper towel until the residue is lifted. This quick and easy method refreshes your brushes, removing any visible product buildup and ensuring that they are ready for use.

Disposable Wipes or Pads

Disposable wipes or pads are another quick cleaning option for your makeup brushes. These pre-moistened wipes are typically formulated to remove makeup residue from the bristles, allowing for a convenient and mess-free cleaning experience.

To use disposable wipes or pads, simply remove one from the packet and gently swirl your brush on the wipe or pad, ensuring that all the bristles come into contact with the wipe. Continue swirling until the residue is lifted, and repeat if necessary. Dispose of the used wipe or pad and your brush will be ready for use.

Professional Cleaning Services

Benefits of Professional Cleaning

While cleaning your makeup brushes at home is an effective way to maintain their cleanliness, seeking professional cleaning services can offer additional benefits. Professional cleaners have specialized techniques and equipment that can ensure a more thorough and meticulous cleaning process.

Professional cleaning services can provide a deep clean that removes even the most stubborn residue and bacteria, extending the lifespan of your brushes. They may also have access to professional-grade cleansers or cleaning solutions that are formulated specifically for makeup brushes, ensuring gentle yet effective cleansing.

Cost Considerations

It’s important to note that professional cleaning services for makeup brushes can come at an additional cost. The price may vary depending on the number of brushes, the location of the service, and the expertise of the professionals.

Before deciding to invest in professional cleaning, consider the number of brushes you have and the frequency at which you use them. If you have an extensive collection of brushes and use them regularly, professional cleaning services may be worth the cost to ensure thorough cleansing and maintenance.


Cleaning your makeup brushes is a vital part of your beauty routine. Not only does it promote good hygiene and prevent skin issues, but it also helps to maintain the performance and longevity of your brushes. By following the tips and step-by-step guide provided in this article, you can ensure that your makeup brushes are always clean, fresh, and ready to help you achieve flawless makeup looks. Regular cleaning, proper storage, and paying attention to brush-specific techniques will contribute to the overall lifespan and effectiveness of your brushes, saving you money in the long run. So, don’t neglect this important task and start incorporating regular brush cleaning into your beauty routine today!