Maintaining clean makeup brushes is essential for flawless makeup application and healthy skin. Dirty brushes can harbour bacteria, lead to breakouts, and affect the performance of your makeup products. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore why cleaning your makeup brushes is important, how often you should do it, and provide a step-by-step tutorial on how to clean makeup brushes effectively.

Why It’s Important to Clean Makeup Brushes

1. Prevents Bacterial Growth

Makeup brushes regularly contact your skin, oil, and makeup products. Over time, they can accumulate bacteria, leading to skin irritations, breakouts, and even infections. Regular cleaning helps prevent these issues by removing harmful bacteria.

2. Ensures Better Makeup Application

Dirty brushes can become stiff, making it difficult to blend makeup smoothly. Cleaning your brushes ensures they remain soft and flexible, allowing for a more even and precise makeup application.

3. Extends the Life of Your Brushes

Makeup brushes are an investment, and proper care can extend their lifespan. Regular cleaning prevents the buildup of product residue that can degrade the bristles and the glue holding them together.

4. Maintains True Color of Makeup Products

Residual makeup on brushes can alter the true colour of the products you apply. Clean brushes ensure the colours remain true to their intended shades, giving you the desired look every time.

How Often Should You Clean Makeup Brushes?

The frequency of cleaning your makeup brushes depends on their use:

  • Foundation and Concealer Brushes: These should be cleaned at least once a week due to their frequent contact with liquid and cream products, which can breed bacteria.
  • Eye Brushes: Clean these brushes bi-weekly, especially if you use multiple colours to prevent colour mixing.
  • Powder Brushes: Powder products like blush or setting powder can be cleaned every two weeks.
  • Sponges and Beauty Blenders: These should be cleaned to prevent bacteria buildup after every use.

What You’ll Need to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Before we dive into the step-by-step guide, gather the following supplies:

  • Gentle liquid soap or baby shampoo
  • Olive oil (optional for deep cleaning)
  • A bowl or cup
  • Clean towel
  • Brush cleaning mat or pad (optional)
  • Warm water

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Clean Makeup Brushes

Step 1: Rinse the Brushes

Begin by rinsing the bristles of your brushes under lukewarm running water. Keep the brush head pointing downwards to avoid water getting into the ferrule (the metal part holding the bristles), which can loosen the glue and cause the bristles to fall out.

Step 2: Prepare the Cleaning Solution

In a small bowl or cup, mix a small amount of gentle liquid soap or baby shampoo with warm water. For an extra deep clean, add a few drops of olive oil. The oil helps break down makeup residue and conditions the bristles.

Step 3: Clean the Brushes

Dip the bristles of each brush into the cleaning solution, swirling gently. If you have a brush cleaning mat or pad, use it to scrub the bristles. These mats usually have textured surfaces that help dislodge stubborn makeup from the bristles.

Step 4: Rinse Thoroughly

Rinse the brushes under lukewarm water until the water runs clear. Make sure all soap and makeup residues are completely washed out. Again, keep the brush head pointing downwards to protect the ferrule.

Step 5: Squeeze Out Excess Water

Gently squeeze out excess water from the bristles with your fingers. Be careful not to tug or pull on the bristles, which can damage the brush.

Step 6: Reshape the Brushes

After squeezing out the excess water, reshape the bristles to their original form. This step is crucial for maintaining the shape and effectiveness of your brushes.

Step 7: Dry the Brushes

Lay the brushes flat on a clean towel with the bristles hanging off the edge of a counter. This ensures air circulates around the bristles, allowing them to dry completely. Avoid drying them upright, as water can seep into the ferrule and cause damage.

Tips for Maintaining Clean Makeup Brushes

1. Use a Brush Cleaner Between Deep Cleans

In addition to regular deep cleaning, use a brush cleaner spray to disinfect and clean your brushes between uses. This helps maintain their cleanliness and reduces the need for frequent deep cleans.

2. Store Brushes Properly

Store your brushes in a clean, dry place. Avoid keeping them in humid environments like the bathroom, as moisture can promote bacterial growth.

3. Be Gentle with Your Brushes

When cleaning and using your brushes, handle them with care. Rough handling can damage the bristles and shorten the lifespan of your brushes.

4. Replace Brushes When Necessary

Even with regular cleaning, makeup brushes don’t last forever. If you notice your brushes shedding, losing shape, or not performing as well, it might be time to replace them.


Learning how to clean makeup brushes is essential for anyone who uses makeup regularly. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure your brushes remain clean, effective, and long-lasting. Regular cleaning protects your skin from harmful bacteria and enhances the performance of your makeup products. So, take the time to clean your brushes regularly and enjoy the benefits of flawless makeup application and healthy skin.

By incorporating these practices into your routine, you’ll maintain the quality of your makeup brushes and ensure your makeup looks its best every time you apply it. Happy cleaning!