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How to Clean Makeup Brushes: A Comprehensive Guide

Collection of make-up brushes and personal care products in bright modern bathroom

Cleaning makeup brushes is an essential part of any beauty routine, yet it’s often overlooked. Neglecting this crucial step can lead to skin issues, including breakouts and irritation, as brushes become breeding grounds for bacteria. Moreover, regular cleaning extends the life of your brushes, ensuring flawless makeup application. This article delves into the five key aspects of brush cleaning, offering insights and practical advice to keep your tools pristine.

Table of Contents:
– Why cleaning your makeup brushes is crucial
– The frequency of cleaning for optimal brush health
– Step-by-step guide to cleaning makeup brushes
– Drying and reshaping brushes post-cleaning
– Maintaining brush cleanliness between deep cleans

Why cleaning your makeup brushes is crucial

Make up artist choosing the products and brush on her make up desk in her modern make up studio

Makeup brushes collect a mix of product residue, oils from your skin, and dust, making them a hotbed for bacteria. Using dirty brushes can lead to clogged pores and skin irritation, undermining the very purpose of using makeup—to enhance your beauty. Regular cleaning ensures your brushes are free from harmful bacteria, providing a safe and hygienic application. Furthermore, clean brushes allow for smoother, more even application, helping you achieve the desired makeup look.

The frequency of cleaning for optimal brush health

Washed makeup brushes

Determining how often to clean your makeup brushes depends on their usage. Brushes used for liquid products, such as foundation and concealer, should be cleaned weekly to prevent product buildup. On the other hand, brushes for powder products can be cleaned less frequently, about every two weeks. However, brushes used around the eyes should be cleaned at least weekly to avoid irritation or infection. Adhering to these guidelines ensures your brushes remain in excellent condition, providing the best makeup application.

Step-by-step guide to cleaning makeup brushes

cleaning makeup brushes on bathroom sink

Cleaning your makeup brushes doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Here’s a simple, effective method:

  1. Wet the bristles: Run your brush bristles under lukewarm water, avoiding the handle, as water can loosen the glue over time.
  2. Apply cleaner: Use a gentle soap or a specialized brush cleaner and apply it to the bristles. Gently massage the bristles in your palm to dislodge makeup and dirt.
  3. Rinse thoroughly: Rinse the brush under running water until the water runs clear, ensuring all soap is removed.
  4. Repeat if necessary: For brushes heavily coated with makeup, you may need to repeat the cleansing process.

This method is effective for both synthetic and natural-bristle brushes, ensuring they are thoroughly cleaned without damage.

Drying and reshaping brushes post-cleaning

washing makeup brush with soap and foam in the sink

After cleaning, removing excess water is crucial. Gently squeeze the bristles with a clean towel, then reshape the brush head to its original form. Lay the brushes flat on a towel to dry, preferably overnight. Avoid drying brushes upright, as water can seep into the handle, causing damage. Proper drying maintains the brush shape and integrity, ensuring they are ready for your next makeup session.

Maintaining brush cleanliness between deep cleans

Makeup brush in clean water with a splash. Summer cosmetics concept

In between deep cleaning sessions, it’s beneficial to use a daily brush cleaner spray to remove surface-level product and bacteria. This practice helps extend the time between washes and maintains brush hygiene. Additionally, storing your brushes properly in a dry, clean area prevents dust accumulation. Implementing these habits ensures your brushes remain clean and functional, enhancing your makeup routine’s overall effectiveness.


Regularly cleaning your makeup brushes is a non-negotiable aspect of a healthy beauty regimen. It not only preserves the life of your brushes but also protects your skin from irritation and breakouts. By incorporating these cleaning practices into your routine, you ensure your brushes are in optimal condition, ready to create flawless makeup looks. Remember, taking care of your tools is taking care of your skin.

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