How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes without damaging them. 

Updated 2018

makeup brushes cropped

Why clean your makeup brushes?

Who’s got the time to clean their makeup brushes? There are three big reasons for doing so:

Dirty Makeup Brushes

The first reason is that dirty makeup brushes don’t perform as well. When your blush brush has so much powder on it that you don’t need to put any more on when you apply …well, that’s no good. It can cause your makeup application to turn out looking very different than you expected: darker, more intense, or just plain muddy.

The second reason to wash your brushes is that dirty brushes can transfer bacteria from our skin to our makeup products and back again. Cleaning your brushes regularly will ensure that you not only get rid of excess product but also bacteria and oils that have been transferred to your brush. This can help prevent breakouts and other nasty skin complaints that are caused by germs.

The final reason is to care for your brushes. Cleaning them actually helps them to last longer. Brushes are a big investment, especially these days with many big brands brushes averaging £25 each, so we should be doing our best to protect them. I know that I cant afford to change my brushes every year!


Cleaning our Makeup Brushes

makeup brush

Optimally, we should wash our brushes once a week; I think I speak for most of us when I say that usually doesn’t happen. As a Makeup Artist I wash my brushes at the end of every working day however my personal brushed don’t get the care and attention that they deserve!  A realistic goal is to wash your brushes at least once a month.

Below is how I clean my work and personal makeup brushes.  Today is the first of the month, so let’s try to make a goal together to wash our brushes on the first of every month.

Remember to love your brushes and they will love you back!


How to Clean Your Brushes

I like to use Sigma’s brush cleaning mitt however at £31 they are a bit pricey for personal use. I’ve found a great alternative that I recommend to my clients Silicone Makeup Brush Cleaning Glove  and at only £2.49 its a bargain. As a shampoo, over the years I have tried most of the makeup brand’s brush cleansers/shampoos however I find that I prefer to use Carex Complete Antibacterial Aloe Vera Hand Wash. Not only is this hand wash gentle but it is also effective in helping to prevent the spread of germs. There are many hand washes on sale but my advice is that you ensure that it is antibacterial too.

How to clean your brushes – Step by Step

  1. Use warm water to saturate the brush hairs only. Be sure not to soak your whole brush as this will ruin it.
    Step 2
  2. Place a pea-sized amount of hand wash, or your chosen shampoo, into the palm of your mitt and massage the cleanser into the damp hair using a swirling motion. Do this until the cleanser has been completely dispersed among the brush hairs.
  3. Turn your mitt over onto the rinse side and sweep the brush back and forth against the RINSE texture under running water until the water runs clear.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 for a deeper clean on brushes such as Foundation and concealer which require more cleaning.
  5. Squeeze – Gently squeeze brush bristles to remove excess water. (Create a ring with
    Step 5
    your index finger and thumb and pull the brush through the fingers while applying gentle pressure to remove excess water and maintain the brushes shape.)
  6. Place on a towel and lay flat to dry. Never dry your brush in an upright position as this will loosen the glue that binds the brushes and lead to hair loss.

Cleaning Tip: Clean all of your natural fibre brushes first. These will have been used with powders. Next clean any of your brushes which you use with emollients such as foundation or concealer. If you clean your brushes in this order you don’t run the risk of having any leftover emollient products on your mitt and transferring it to your natural fibre brushes.

I hope this shows how easy and cheap it is to clean your makeup brushes and also shows the necessary reasons for cleaning them regularly.


If you have any other useful tips that I can add to this post, please post a comment or comment on this post on my Facebook page. All additions will be credited.

Follow this blog for more tips on makeup, hair and beauty, info and tutorials. If you have any ideas on what you want me to write about or give step by step tutorials on, please email me at claire@makeup-byclaire.co.uk

Don’t forget to check out my website – http://www.makeup-byclaire.co.uk.

Claire xx

Note: This blog post contains affiliate links from eBay. If you use them, I might be rewarded a small commission of the sale. You will not be charged extra. Please note that I only recommend products and tools that I personally use and love, and I always have my readers’ best interest at heart.

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