How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Keeping your makeup brushes clean is not only essential for hygienic reasons but also vital for the longevity of your brushes and the quality of your makeup application. Regular cleaning prevents the buildup of bacteria, oil, and old makeup, which can cause skin irritation and breakouts. This guide will walk you through the best practices for cleaning your makeup brushes, ensuring they remain in pristine condition.

Why Clean Your Makeup Brushes?

Makeup brushes are a breeding ground for bacteria, especially when they are used frequently and not cleaned regularly. Oils from your skin, as well as residual makeup, can degrade the quality of the bristles and alter the color and finish of your makeup. By keeping your brushes clean, you ensure that your makeup application remains flawless and your skin stays clear.

Daily Brush Care

To maintain the best condition of your brushes between deep cleans, consider wiping them on a clean tissue or cloth after each use. This removes the excess product and helps keep the brushes ready for the next application. For brushes used with liquid or cream products, a daily quick clean with a spray brush cleaner can prevent product buildup.

Deep Cleaning Process

Step 1: Select the Right Cleaner

You can choose between commercial brush cleaners or gentle, natural alternatives like baby shampoo or mild dish soap. For a DIY approach, mix two parts antibacterial dish soap with one part olive oil; this not only cleans but also conditions the bristles.

Step 2: Wet the Bristles

Rinse the bristles under lukewarm water with the brush head pointing downwards. This prevents water from seeping into the handle, which can loosen the glue over time and lead to bristle loss.

Step 3: Apply Cleaner

Place a dime-sized amount of soap on your palm and gently swirl the brush in it, or dip the brush in a bowl of soapy water. Avoid soaking the entire brush as this can damage the handle and the glue at the base of the bristles.

Step 4: Rinse

Rinse the brush under running water with the bristles pointing downwards until the water runs clear. Ensure all soap is removed as residual cleaner can cause skin irritation.

Step 5: Reshape and Dry

Gently squeeze out excess water with a clean towel and reshape the brush head. Allow the brushes to dry horizontally on the edge of a counter so that air can circulate around them. Never dry brushes vertically as water may seep into the handle.

Tips for Maintaining Brush Longevity

  • Frequency of Cleaning: Clean brushes used for liquid products weekly; brushes used for powders can be cleaned less frequently, about once a month.
  • Storage: Store your brushes in a dry, dust-free environment. Use brush holders or pouches to keep them organized and protected.
  • Avoid Sharing: To prevent the spread of bacteria, avoid sharing your makeup brushes with others.


Cleaning your makeup brushes is a simple yet crucial part of your beauty routine. Regular maintenance not only preserves your brushes and keeps them performing well but also protects your skin from irritation and infections. Incorporating these cleaning techniques will ensure that your brushes have a long life and continue to help you achieve beautiful makeup applications.


  1. How often should I clean my makeup brushes?

    • Clean brushes used with liquid or cream products weekly; clean brushes used with powder products monthly.
  2. Can I use regular soap to clean my makeup brushes?

    • Yes, but choose a gentle soap like baby shampoo or a mild dish soap to prevent damaging the bristles.
  3. Is it necessary to use a special brush cleaner?

    • While not strictly necessary, specialized brush cleaners are formulated to effectively dissolve makeup residue and can condition the bristles.
  4. What should I do if my brush bristles start shedding?

    • If shedding occurs, it may be a sign that it's time to replace your brush, especially if cleaning and reshaping do not help.
  5. Can drying position affect the lifespan of my brushes?

    • Yes, always dry brushes horizontally to prevent water from loosening the glue in the handle.