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How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Updated on May 23, 2012
Regularly cleaning your makeup brushes with prolong their useable life and keep you safe from harmful bacteria.
Regularly cleaning your makeup brushes with prolong their useable life and keep you safe from harmful bacteria.

How Do You Clean Makeup Brushes?

Makeup brushes are essential for great makeup application, but they can be a substantial investment. Protect your makeup brushes by taking good care of them. What is the best way to clean makeup brushes? It’s important to know how to clean makeup brushes since it will keep them sanitary. Clean brushes will protect you from skin problems and infections, and caring for you brushes will prolong their useful life.

How Often Should You Clean Makeup Brushes?

You should spot clean your makeup brushes after every use. Once a week you should deep clean your brushes with a brush shampoo.

Spot Clean Makeup Brushes After Every Use

Clean your makeup brushes every time you use them. Dirty brushes collect bacteria that can aggravate acne, cause rashes, skin problems, and eye infections. It’s very important to keep your brushes clean!

Alcohol-based cleaners are sold at most beauty supply stores. Use these daily on your makeup brushes. Simply spray the brush's bristles and wipe the brush on a clean cloth. This is fast and easy and shouldn’t take more than a few seconds.

About once a week you should deep clean your makeup brushes with a brush shampoo. The steps are as follow:

1. Dampen the Brush Bristles

Run the bristles of your makeup brush under lukewarm water. Be sure that the brush is pointing downward under the faucet. If you put the brush upward, water will run into the ferrule (the metal that connects the bristles to the handle). This will damage the brush and your bristles are likely to fall out after repeated abuse.

2. Wash with Brush Shampoo

Put a dime-sized amount of brush shampoo in the palm of one hand. Take the makeup brush in your other hand and swirl it into the shampoo using circular motions. If you don't have makeup brush shampoo, you can use baby shampoo. Regular soaps are too harsh and can damage your brushes. They also can leave residue that can irritate your eyes and skin.

3. Rinse Your Makeup Brush

Run the brush under warm water to remove the shampoo. Again, be mindful of keeping the ferrule dry. If the water does not run clear, repeat the shampoo step and rinse again. It will usually take a few repetitions before the brush is clean and the water runs clear.

4. Lay Makeup Brush Flat to Dry

Gently wipe the brush off on a clean towel to remove excess water. Lay the brush flat on the towel and allow it to dry. It is often a good idea to cantilever the bristles off the counter top so both sides of the brush get air. This will allow them to dry faster. Never put your brushes in a cup to dry. Water will run into the ferrule and damage your brush.

You now have clean makeup brushes that are ready for their next use!

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    • Modern Lady profile image
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      Modern Lady 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Thanks, 2patricias!

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 5 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Voted "useful". I do spot clean my brushes, but this hub is reminder to wash them more often.

      I will add this hub as a link to one of our makeup hubs.

    • Modern Lady profile image
      Author

      Modern Lady 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Thanks, glassvisage! You're right, cleaning makeup brushes is usually overlooked. It's probably something everyone could improve on.

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 5 years ago from Northern California

      Great tips! It's something that users don't think about a lot. It's good to get all the eye mites and things out!

    • Modern Lady profile image
      Author

      Modern Lady 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Redberry Sky, makeup brushes can last for decades if you care for them properly. Yes, tossing them is an option, but it's really not that much trouble to use some baby shampoo on them every week or so. Thanks for commenting.

    • Redberry Sky profile image

      Redberry Sky 5 years ago

      Thanks for these tips, especially using baby shampoo to clean them - I usually end up having to buy more brushes but they might survive a bit longer now :)