How to Clean Your Make-Up Brushes

January 22, 2013

When it comes to washing make-up brushes, it’s easy to be lazy or not realize how long its been since the last time. However, if you’re going more than a week you’re not doing yourself any favors. With regular use, brushes become a breeding ground for bacteria and debris, plus have old make-up, natural oils and more hanging around. #gross. Take five minutes once per week at night, and by morning you’ll have perfectly clean brushes.  This also means you’ll see better make-up results since each application has the exact intended colors (not caked on color from past uses. You’ll be surprised what stays around!). This is an unofficial 2013 resolution of mine and I’m seeing such improved make-up application… and this really only takes 3-5 minutes. Put the music on and have fun with it.

Two Ways to Clean Make-Up Brushes

Two ways to clean:
1. Speedy: with a make-up towelette or unscented baby wipe (in between better cleanses). If it’s safe enough for your face or a babe’s bun, it’s safe enough for your brushes.
2. More thorough: soap + water. Select a mild soap, like Aveeno for babies or a Dove white soap, that’s natural and unscented.

Instructions for a more thorough clean:
1. Lay out all of your brushes by your bathroom sink.
2. Fill a small cup with lukewarm water (I used a kid’s bathroom cup).
3. Dip brush in water to get thoroughly wet; then put a small amount of soap in the palm of your hand.
4. Gently swirl the brush in your hand — and see the magic happen! Repeat as necessary until you do not see any residue.
5. Dip brush back in the water to remove soap and then gently brush over a towel to remove any final residue.
How to Clean Make Up Brushes

6. Lay  on a towel to dry, and repeat process for all brushes. Flip brushes after a few hours to encourage even drying.

How to Clean Make-Up Brushes

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  • amanda

    I haven’t cleaned my brushes in longer than I care to admit. This is a great tutorial and certainly a necessary reminder. Must must clean brushes! Thanks!


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  • Christine

    Thanks for the reminder! I am really terrible about doing this and you’re so right about how important it is!

    Christine In Color

  • Deborah Jamison

    This post has ridiculously good timing - I’ve been meaning to look around pinterest and other sites to find recommendations on how to clean my brushes but just haven’t had the time to sit down and actually do it.

  • Abby

    Hey, I wanted to chime in with something that I learned from Martha Stewart and Bobbi Brown. Bobbi says to have the hair part of the brush hanging off of your countertop so as to discourage bacteria growth, and Martha says she puts hers on the windowsill with the hair part hanging off and opens the window (even in the winter). I noticed myself that my brushes would stay wet for too long on a towel and I would end up with new breakouts after using the freshly washed brushes. Their tips have helped me greatly!

  • hithaonthego

    Great post, Alyson! I keep Simple skincare wipes in my vanity to clean my brushes after every use, and I do a monthly cleaning of my brushes with white vinegar and warm water. I also lie the brush ends on top of a chopstick to let them dry faster.

  • respect_the_shoes

    Thanks for this great post - you’ve totally reminded me that I haven’t washed my brushes in forever ….

  • Kiara Johnson

    this post reminded me that i haven’t cleaned my make-up brushed in ages.thanks

    Stiletto High Heels

  • The Fashionable ESQ

    I was just thinking about this the other day! And you just happen to post about it. We are telepathically connected, hehehehe :D

    The Fashionable ESQ

  • Kira Schneider

    This is a great post! It has been in the back of my mind for awhile that I need to clean my makeup brushes, but I always thought I’d have to invest in some fancy magical makeup cleaning chemical. But now I know all it takes is soap and water! So glad I saw this :)

    Kira @ She Wore Embellishments

  • Kristin & Megan

    Baby wipes…Genius!

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