How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Last Updated on January 22, 2023 by Ellen Christian

Learning how to clean your makeup brushes properly can save money and improve your skin’s health.  I used to buy the little disposable makeup brushes and sponges and then toss them when they needed to be replaced.  While that’s better than using a dirty brush, it’s not great for your budget. Learn how to wash makeup brushes below.

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How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes Properly

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes 

There were times I’d toss a regular makeup brush rather than washing it because I wasn’t sure exactly how to wash it properly. Eventually, I invested in a nicer quality makeup brush, and I didn’t want to throw it away.

That meant that I needed to learn how to clean your makeup brushes properly. Here’s what you need to do to keep them clean and germ-free.

Why you should do this regularly

Makeup brushes need to be cleaned to remove old makeup, dirt, bacteria, oils from your skin, and dead skin cells.  You don’t want to keep transferring dirt and oil from your face to your makeup brush to your makeup and back again.

That can not only cause acne breakouts, but it can also damage your makeup and make it difficult to apply properly. Taking care of your makeup brush will help your makeup last longer and stop the spread of bacteria.

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

How often should I clean my brush?

Ideally, makeup brushes should be cleaned once a week to keep them soft and supple.  Learning how to clean your makeup brushes properly means you will be able to extend the life of your brushes.

I recommend investing in a quality set of makeup brushes and taking care of them properly to make them last as long as possible. This is the process I use to clean make makeup brushes.

make up brushes in a cup

How to clean makeup brushes with shampoo

There are several different methods you can use if you’re wondering how to wash makeup brushes.

  • Wet the hairs of your makeup brush under lukewarm running water gently.
  • Using a makeup brush cleaning solution, gently work a lather into the brush. If you’d rather not invest in a cleaning solution, you can use a very mild shampoo instead. If you use shampoo, make sure there is NO conditioner because that can coat the hairs on the brush and ruin it.
  • Rinse the suds from the brush with cool water and then repeat until the water runs clear.
  • Pat the brush on a paper towel or soft towel to remove excess water. Never rub or press firmly.
  • Set the brush bristles up in a glass to allow the brush to dry. Don’t lay the brush flat or lean it against something or the bristles may dry in the wrong shape which will interfere with how your makeup is applied.
  • Let the makeup brushes dry completely before you use them again.

cosmetic brushes on a vanity table in a white lace cup

How to clean makeup brushes with Dawn

If you have very oily skin or you use a lot of oil-based cosmetic products, you might be wondering how to clean makeup brushes with Dawn.

Dawn dish liquid is wonderful at cutting grease and oil. You simply follow the same process as above but instead of shampoo, use Dawn.

How to clean makeup brushes with vinegar

If you prefer to use an all-natural inexpensive solution, you can simply mix two tablespoons of white vinegar with a cup of very hot tap water. Swirl your makeup brushes in this solution.

Then, rinse them off with lukewarm water. This should work for all but very soiled brushes. The vinegar scent will disappear when the brushes are completely dry.

rinsing a makeup brush under water in the sink

I find that these methods of cleaning my makeup brushes work best for all different types of makeup brushes whether they are the expensive ones or the ones from the dollar stores.  Use care not to get the handle of your makeup brushes wet as that can have an effect on how long the makeup brush lasts.

 Also, be certain to be gentle when washing your makeup brushes.  Washing them too vigorously can cause the bristles of your makeup brush to fall out.

When was the last time that you cleaned your makeup brushes and what method did you use? When was the last time you cleaned your hairbrush?

Once your brushes are clean, why not make this brush roll to store them in.

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