Beauty school: how to clean your make-up brushes

Cleaning make-up brushes isn’t the most exciting task, but it should always be a part of your beauty regimen. Dirt and oil accumulate on your brushes and can give you bad skin (no thank you!). So, follow these simple steps to learn how to keep your brushes in their best condition, and even make them last longer.

If you could see the bacteria collecting on your make-up brushes over time, we guarantee you’d never go without cleaning them ever again! Thankfully, microorganisms are invisible. But breakouts and skin blemishes are not – and these skin irritations are easily caused by using dirty brushes.

“Clean brushes are essential,” say London-based makeup artist duo Pamela & Andrea, who suggest disinfecting your brushes after every use with a liquid cleanser (this is non-negotiable if you're a make-up artist).

Of course most of us are a bit too busy to get out our makeup brush cleaner after every makeup application. Thankfully, most dermatologists will tell you to soak your tools, especially foundation and concealer brushes, once a week — minimum — to prevent product buildup. Because these brushes are used on your face, the cleaner they are the better. You can be slightly more lenient with eye shadow and liner brushes, however.

Not only can properly cleaning your makeup brushes prevent breakouts, but build-up on your make-up brushes can cause the fibres to break and the bristles to weaken, making it even harder to apply your make-up properly. So cleaning often not only means your brushes will last longer but your make-up will be easier to apply. Win win!

Here’s your quick how-to guide on how to clean make-up brushes.

There are dozens of cleansers made specifically for cleaning brushes, but any mild soap will do. We recommend baby soap – avoid regular soaps which can dry out the bristles.

Start by running your brushes under lukewarm water to rinse out residual make-up. Hold you brush with the bristles facing downwards to avoid getting water in the part where the handle meets the head. This ensures that you don’t accidentally loosen the glue that holds the bristles together!
Add a small amount of mild soap to your make-up brush bristles.


Sweep and swirl your brush on the textured surface of your make-up brush cleaner.


Rinse the brush tip under running water again. Repeat steps one and two until the water runs clear from the brush.


4. DRY
Finally, squeeze out the excess moisture with a clean towel and reform your brush back to its original shape. Let the brush dry with its bristles hanging off the edge of a counter, which allows it to dry in the correct shape. Avoid laying it flat on a towel - the bristles can turn mildewy! Repeat with all of your brushes.

And there you have it: squeaky clean brushes using only a make-up brush cleaner and some soap and water.