How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Brushes are essential tools for applying makeup and what’s more important than a flawless face? Skin care is our everyday mission but we often forget to clean up our makeup kit, brushes included. The delicate, brush fibers are soil for bacteria, dust, dead skin cells and all those things can cause acne, redness and irritation.

Truth is, women rarely clean their brushes because they think that’s a long process. The good news is that you don’t need much time to clean your brushes and you don’t need to buy expensive cleaning products.

Here’s how you can clean your makeup brushes:


It’s best to use a baby shampoo but you can also use your ordinary shampoo. In a bowl, mix warm water with some shampoo and dip your brushes in. Gently clean your brushes using your fingers. Most women use this cleaning method because it’s the easiest.

Shampoo + Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In a bowl, mix the same amount of shampoo and extra virgin olive oil. Add some water in the mixture and dip your brushes. Swirl the brushes the mixture and gently massage them to clean them thoroughly. This method is the best for cleaning eyeliner brushes and lipstick brushes.

Dishwashing Detergent

Put a few drops of dishwashing detergent on a clean sponge. Use the sponge, in circular motions, to clean your brushes. After they’re clean, rinse them with lukewarm water. The dishwashing detergent is anti-bacterial and thoroughly removes oils and makeup residues.

White Vinegar + Dishwashing Detergent

In a glass of warm water, add 1 tbsp. dishwashing detergent and 1 tbsp. white vinegar. Dip your brushes into the mixture and leave them for a couple of minutes. Gently go through the brushes with your fingers and rinse them with lukewarm water.

Know how often to wash your brushes

Keeping your brushes clean will save you a lot of time and energy when it comes to washing them. Brushes that encounter a lot of product, such as your foundation and powder brushes, require more frequent washing than brushes that are used less frequently.

Run the bristles of the brushes under lukewarm water

Avoid getting water underneath the metal clasp of the handle as this will ruin the glue that holds the bristles together. Keep running the water through the bristles until you’ve rinsed away most of the old makeup. Make sure the bristles are angled downward into the stream of water. If water gets under the metal clasp of the handle, it may damage the bristles.

Fill a small bowl or cup with some water, if you prefer to dip the brush

You will need ¼ cup (56.25 milliliters) of lukewarm water. Avoid using hot water, as it may damage the bristles.

Pour some baby shampoo to the water, if you’re using a bath

Add 1 teaspoon of baby shampoo into the cup and still gently to combine.If you do not have baby shampoo, use liquid Castile soap instead.

Dip the brush into the mixture and swirl

Only the bottom half of your brushes’ bristles should be swirled in the mixture to avoid water traveling up the handle. If you are not using a bowl, you can work the soap into the bristles using your fingers.

Remove the brush from the mixture, if you used one

Loosen up the makeup and dirt by gently massaging the soapy water into the bristles with your fingers.

Rinse the bristles under lukewarm water

Continue to massage the bristles while running them under the water until it runs completely clear. Avoid getting the handle wet.

Pat the bristles dry

Use a towel to gently remove some of the moisture. Fold it around the wet bristles and gently squeeze it with your fingers.

Reshape the bristles

If the bristles became crooked, you will need to reshape them. Use your fingers to straighten, spread, pull the bristles back into their original shape.

Pour some oil onto a paper towel

Fold up a paper towel, and pour a small drop of oil onto it. You can use light olive oil or almond oil. Dip the bristles of the brush into the oil and give it a swirl. Do not soak the brush in the oil. Gently run the brush back and forth across the towel, loosening the dirt.

Do not use a hairdryer or flatiron on your brush

The intense heat from the hairdryer or flatiron will ruin the fibers even if the fibers are natural, such as sable or camelhair. The brushes are a makeup brush are mush more fragile than the hair on your head.

How often you should clean your brushes?

Everything depends on how often you put makeup on. Concealer, foundation and lipstick brushes should be cleaned once a week. All other brushes should be cleaned twice a week, although some experts claim it’s ok to clean your brushes once a month.

Some Extra Tips

  • Don’t wash your brushes with hot water and don’t use a blow drier to dry them. This way you’ll destroy the fibers.
  • Clean the handles with a wet towel.
  • Once your bush is cleaned, gently squeeze out the excess water. Smooth out the fibers with your fingers, to keep the form of the brush.
  • Place your brushes on a dry towel or paper tissue and let them dry naturally. It takes 10-12 hours for your brushes to dry.

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