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  • How to Clean Makeup Brushes

How to Clean Makeup Brushes

By Hannah Liddle - 3 years ago | Updated
How to clean makeup brushes

We certainly don’t leave the same makeup on our face longer than a week, so why would do we do it to our makeup brushes? Let’s be real: when was the last time you cleaned your foundation brush?

A quick roundup around Cosmetify headquarters and we found some shocking answers. But fear not, all can be rectified with a simple weekly wash. Giving your brushes a deep clean is a simple solution to attaining a pimple-free, picture-perfect complexion and we really should be pencilling it in our diary more often.

But what exactly is the best way to clean makeup brushes? Luckily for you we’ve collated all the best products and tips.

Let's get to it!

Why is it important to clean your makeup brushes?

Cleaning your makeup brushes once a week will keep your skin fresh and clear. When makeup builds up on your brushes, it creates a haven for bacteria and germs. With dirt build-up comes blackheads, rashes and infections and that’s not the look we’re going for this year.

If you often come out in an itchy rash or have angry pimples popping up to say hi, it could be because your makeup brushes are dirty. Give them a good ol’ scrub and your skin will love you for it. Bye bye clogged pores and hello fresh, healthy skin

How often should you wash your makeup brushes?

Dermatologists suggest cleaning foundation and concealer brushes at least every 7-10 days, as they are often used the most and have more product build-up. Any brushes that you use around the eye area, such as eyeshadow brushes, should be cleaned at least twice a month to prevent bacteria, dirt and dust build-up. Other brushes that are used less often, such as blusher brushes or bronzer brushes, should be cleaned once a month.

Failing to frequently wash your makeup brushes allows the bristles to become clogged with bacteria, oils, dirt and dust. Not only is this unhygienic and can cause skin to breakout, it also makes blending and applying makeup all the more difficult.

So, how exactly do you clean your precious brushes?

1. Find the perfect cleanser

When it comes to cleaning our makeup brushes at home, most people will just use the nearest shampoo or soap they can find. However, shampoos can often have formulas and chemicals meant for protecting the hair on your head and not the bristles you use on your face. That's why it's crucial you use an appropriate makeup brush cleanser in order to effectively lift away makeup, residue and grime.

Not sure which one to choose? Take a look at some of our favourites and breathe life back into your brushes.

beautyblender Blendercleanser Liquid

beautyblender Blendercleanser Liquid

£15.88 £16.00 (1% off)

Why we love this cleanser: Mild but mighty, this lightweight cleanser gives your brushes the deep clean they’re craving and leaves them feeling fresh and gentle ahead of your next makeup application.

Stylpro Makeup Brush Cleansing Solution

Stylpro Makeup Brush Cleansing Solution

£13.00 £14.99 (14% off)

Why we love this cleanser: This gentle, lightweight brush cleaner formula removes any traces of makeup and disinfects your bristles. This keeps your brushes looking as good as you new and leaves them super fresh and soft.

Sigma Beauty SigMagic Brushampoo Foam

Sigma Beauty SigMagic Brushampoo Foam

£13.99 £15.96 (13% off)

Why we love this cleanser: Killing 99.9% of your makeup brushes’ bacteria within just one minute, this powerful makeup remover is a trusty sidekick for any beauty babe. It works on both natural and synthetic fibres and leaves each bristle feeling incredibly soft.

Jane Iredale Botanical Brush Cleaner

Jane Iredale Botanical Brush Cleaner

£13.95 £21.00 (34% off)

Why we love this cleanser: a botanical blend that blitzes dirt, grime, oils and product build-up from brush bristles - we love to see it. A quick-drying alcohol base is infused with witch hazel, grapefruit oil and seaweed extracts in order to clean natural and synthetic brushes when you don't have time to wash them and wait for them to dry.

2. Wet your brush with warm water

The heat helps to lift thick residue! However, you don't want the water to be piping hot as this can melt the glue that holds the bristles in place resulting in a mess. Always test the heat of the water before you put your brushes under the tap. This ensures your precious brushes last longer and work effectively.

3. Apply your cleanser to the bristles

Work up a lather by massaging the cleanser around your palms. Then gently swirl, twirl and rotate each brush in your hand, making sure you fully cover each bristle. Remember to take your time, a quick rinse under the tap is not going to cut it. Makeup brush cleansing mats are a great tool that feature silicone bumps and grooves that help you get down and dirty.

ZOEVA Brush Cleansing Pad

ZOEVA Brush Cleansing Pad

£12.39 £13.00 (5% off)

If you're wanting a more thorough clean, check out the ZOEVA Brush Cleansing Pad – this handy makeup accessory cuts your cleaning time in half and it does an excellent job at getting in between the bristles.

4. Rinse the bristles

Keep twirling each brush and massaging the cleanser into them until the water runs clear. If makeup is still coming from the brush, repeat the process. This may take a couple of rinses, especially if you can't remember the last time you gave them a good wash.

5. Squeeze out excess water

Gently squeeze the water out and make sure you don't pull too hard or you might loosen the bristles. Then, lay your brushes flat on a towel to dry. This sets each brush into its original shape.

Alternatively, there are accessories such as makeup brush drying racks that allow you to hang brushes upside down to dry. It normally takes around three to four hours for makeup brushes to completely dry once washed.

You should never dry makeup brushes with a hairdryer as it can cause damage to the brush hairs and melt the glue that holds the bristles and handle together.

Stylpro Expert Makeup Brush Cleaner & Dryer

Stylpro Expert Makeup Brush Cleaner & Dryer


Short on time? Speed things up with this handy Stylpro Expert Makeup Brush Cleaner & Dryer. This wonder product is celebrated by makeup pros and is the ultimate time saver when it comes to cleaning makeup brushes at home. It uses innovative technology to clean and dry your brushes so they're ready to use straight away. And don't worry it's suitable for all brush types and sizes.

And voila! Now you know how to clean makeup brushes.

Still having trouble with your skin even after cleansing your makeup brushes? Check out our article on The Perfect Winter Skin Care Routine – you may just need to give your face a little detox and a break from makeup. See why we're opting to spend more days makeup-free with our 7 Reasons to go Makeup-free.

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Hannah Liddle

Written by Hannah Liddle

Hannah has worked as a writer for over four years and knows beauty, skincare and makeup like the back of her hand.

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