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October 09, 2020 3 min read

How To Clean Your Makeup Brushes The Right Way

Do you absolutely hate washing your makeup brushes? Well you are not alone!It may be a tedious and boring chore, but you can *really* benefit from ~clean~ tools! I’m sure you don’t want your brushes to be a prime breeding ground for bacteria, do you? 

But submerging all your brushes into a cup full of hot water and calling it a day, unfortunately, will just ruin them. 

Read on to find out how to clean up your makeup brushes the right way.

How often should you wash your makeup brushes?

It depends on the type of brushes and how often you use them. This guide assumes you apply makeup fairly often:

  • Once a week: Brushes used to apply foundations, concealers, and other liquid and cream products. This includes makeup sponges, too!
  • Twice a month: Eyeshadow and eyeliner brushes (or anything used around the eyes)
  • Once a month: Brushes used to apply blush, bronzer, and other powder products

Of course, this is just a guide & you should clean your brushes whenever you feel they are dirty.

Why that often?

  1. It will prevent bacteria from breeding.
    Your brushes go through A LOT, especially if you wear makeup on a daily basis. They're also exposed to different environments, like your makeup bag or when it's strewn around your vanity table. This makes them a prime breeding ground for bacteria, so it's important that you wash them weekly to keep them squeaky clean.
  2. Regular maintenance will help preserve their quality.
    Going for weeks or months without cleaning your tools makes them more prone to staining. Not only that, the bristles will be wonky and fall out much quicker. Give them a deep-clean at least once a week so they can last for years! 
  3. Your makeup will apply smoother.
    A clean brush will result in a flawless application every time, but if you notice that your products are going on streakier and not as even, it's a sign that you *finally* have to clean them. As a caked-up brush won’t be able to pick up as much product, making it impossible to get a smooth finish and flawless blending.
  4. Clean brushes = fewer breakouts!
    Your makeup brushes come in contact with your face, so if they're dirty, your skin is more prone to irritation, redness, and pimples.
  5. It keeps germs away from your pristine makeup products.
    Brushes aren't the only ones that are prone to being a bacteria breeding ground, because your makeup products can be at risk, too! By keeping your tools clean, you also prevent any germs from contaminating your makeup stash.

What should you use to clean your brushes?

Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap

Photo Credit: Dr. Bronner’s

I personally use Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile soap. But you can easily DIY with ingredients you probably already have in your house.

  • For natural-hair brushes, use a baby shampoo that’s gentle on the bristles.
  • For synthetic brushes, especially ones that you use with foundations, you can use dishwashing liquid. Mix with olive oil (2 parts dishwashing liquid to 1 part olive oil) to keep the bristles soft and supple.

What’s the right way to clean your makeup brushes?

  1. Rinse out the bristles of your brush with lukewarm water. Try to avoid wetting the ferrule, the metal part connecting the bristles to the rest of the brush, as this can weaken the glue.
  2. In a bowl, pour in a bit of your brush cleanser (DIY or otherwise).
  3. Swirl each brush in the cleanser, then massage the bristles in the palm of your hand.
  4. Rinse the bristles again.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the water runs clear.
  6. Gently squeeze out any remaining water with a towel, reshaping the brush head as you go.
  7. Dry your brushes with the bristles pointing downward, or hanging over the edge of the counter — Never let your brushes dry on a towel to prevent mildew and ensure that no water seeps into the ferrules.

Most importantly: NEVER soak your brushes!!! Submerging your brushes in water will loosen the adhesive that holds the bristles in place.Make sure to protect them from heat sources like hair dryers, which may damage the synthetic bristles.


Kailah Shannon
Kailah Shannon

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