How To: Clean Your Makeup Brushes

If you don't wash your makeup brushes regularly you may want to know what could be happening to your skin, each and every time you use them. Brushes can harbour nasty little bacteria that cause spots and other skin viruses. Keeping your makeup brushes clean is one of the first steps to achieving a flawless face and cutting down on any unnecessary breakouts; your skincare can only do so much if you don't keep those brushes free from nasty bacteria. If you're not sure how to look after your brushes and keep them top notch, here's my quick guide that covers everything you need to know - from a time consuming deep clean to daily spot checking.

Every Week - The Intensive Version
Nothing beats a freshly cleaned makeup brush, especially one that has been lovingly tended to by your own hard work and dedication. I use Baby Shampoo for a solid deep clean as it's so gentle, but you could quite easily use a mixture of three parts washing up liquid and one part olive oil, which is just as effective.

1. Start with your most used, heavily caked makeup brushes and apply a spot of baby shampoo (or another equally gentle and nourishing shampoo.)
2. With a little cold water straight from the tap, start swirling in circular motions in the palm of your hand. This is where you'll start to see all the product leaving the brush and filling up the sink!
3. Keep adding water until there's no product left on the brush. This may require a fair amount of elbow grease, but keep at it. Rinse with some more cold water.
5. Reshape the bristles into their natural shape: they can sometimes get a little manic and you don't want them to dry this way, as it will prevent the brush working effectively.
6. Place brushes on some kitchen roll, tissue or a towel to dry.

There's some controversy over whether to elevate the brushes angling downward or to leave them flat while drying. It is said the glue can start to wear down if the water seeps into the head of the brush, but I've always let my brushes lie flat to dry and they're still going strong! If you feel more comfortable, pop a circular item such as a pen under the kitchen roll, tissue or towel to create a seesaw that you can use to prop your brushes against. The main thing is to bear in mind is simply not to let them dry facing upward and you'll have brushes that will stand the test of time.

Every Week - The Speedy Version
Let's face it, we may not always have the time to spend painstakingly cleaning through 20+ brushes, when there's so much going on in our lives. Don't worry though, as the saviour to our dirty makeup roll nightmares can be found in a pump action bottle! I was lucky enough to pick up a bottle of Beauty So Clean's Conditioning Brush Cleanser for cleaning on the go, but there are plenty of great sprays out there to experiment with. I like this one as not only is it chemical free but it's formulated with natural ingredients that condition natural and synthetic brushes alike, a real bonus for any collection.

1. Apply a few sprays of brush cleanser directly on the brush head, soaking all the bristles equally.
2. Take a sheet of kitchen roll or tissue paper and buff the brush head back and forth, spraying more brush cleanser if necessary, until the brush comes away clean.
3. Leave the brushes for a few minutes to dry completely. There will be no residue, just clean, soft and hygienic bristles!

Every Day
Spot cleaning your makeup brushes is a useful and effective way to cut down on your weekly deep clean and extend the life span of your treasured tools. It's also an essential task for Makeup Artists who need to clean brushes and makeup (yes, that's right, makeup) between clients.

1.  Spritz a little brush cleanser on each brush, but don't saturate it like you would with a deep clean.
2. Brush the bristles across some tissue to remove as much product as you can, which will stop any bacteria dead in it's tracks. Simple!

If you implement this routine your brushes will last longer and you should see a visible difference in your makeup application, as well as helping to prevent excess skin irritations and spots. A simple routine that will make a big difference. Happy cleaning! 

Pick up Beauty So Clean's Conditioning Brush Cleanser from Feel Unique for £11.00

Written by Adrienne Third


  1. This was really interesting and informative!

  2. Great post and it reminds me I must clean my brushes this evening!

  3. I have done mine last night! Hate doing it, but so glad the next morning as my makeup always looks better with clean brushes.

  4. This is really useful information! I clean my brushes really rare. I know it is not right. I am going to do it more often....I promise! Thank you for sharing this post. Greetings!

  5. I always clean my makeup brushes using johnson baby shampoo !



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