How to Wash Makeup Brushes: Best Guide (2024)

Wondering how to wash makeup brushes? Let’s talk about a crucial beauty mistake that’s likely been slipping through the cracks: neglecting to clean your makeup brushes. Trust me when I say this, learning how to clean those brushes is not just a trivial task. It’s an essential practice for the wellbeing of your brushes, your skin, and your overall health.

The accumulation of bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells on your brushes can spell trouble for your precious pores, leading to unwanted breakouts and clogged skin. And let’s not forget the impact on brush performance. Jillian Dempsey, a seasoned makeup artist who’s worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, emphasizes the importance of keeping your brushes in top-notch condition. With neglect, they become unable to perform their best, hindering your makeup game.

But the consequences don’t stop there, my fellow truth-seekers. Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, an esteemed expert in dermatology, warns us of the lurking dangers. Neglected brushes can harbor bacteria, including unwelcome guests like staph and E. coli, along with viruses like the notorious cold sore virus. The last thing we want is to invite gnarly infections into our lives, right? So, let’s dive into the best ways to ensure your makeup brushes stay clean, pristine, and free from any unwanted microbial hitchhikers.

First Up How Often to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

How to Wash Makeup Brushes Best Guide - Miller Reviews

I bring you the wisdom of Dr. Tanzi, a knowledgeable source in the field. According to her, it’s time to break this cycle of negligence and embrace a regular cleaning routine. Ideally, we should strive to clean our makeup brushes at least once a month, if not once a week.

 And pay attention, dear friends, if you’re using brushes for liquid foundation, blush, concealer, or any other wet products, it’s essential to give them a thorough cleaning after every single use. Let’s make cleanliness a priority and bid farewell to the days of forgotten brushes.

Stuff You’ll Need for the:

Brush Cleaner Method

  • Spray brush cleaner and brush cleaning mat
  • Soap
  • Microfiber cloth (optional)

And Shampoo Method

  • Baby shampoo or gentle shampoo, such as Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo
  • Makeup brush shampoo, such as EcoTools Makeup Brush Shampoo
  • Warm water

How to Clean Makeup Brushes With a Brush Cleaner Method

How to Wash Makeup Brushes Best Guide - Miller Reviews

Step 1: Begin by spritzing your brushes with a specialized spray brush cleaner. This is a stellar choice, especially for those with sensitive skin, as it is formulated specifically for this purpose, free from unnecessary additives or artificial fragrances. Alternatively, you can concoct a gentle cleaning mixture by combining warm water with a touch of non-drying bar soap or a few drops of liquid hand soap.

Step 2: Allow your fingertips to take charge as you massage the cleanser through the bristles. Drift into the soothing rhythm of gently massaging the tips of the bristles in the palm of your hand or on a silicone brush cleansing mat. Rinse the bristles thoroughly, ensuring that every trace of soap and product is banished, for we seek perfection in cleanliness.

Step 3: As you rinse your brushes, be sure to point them downward, my friends. This prevents the water from infiltrating the ferrule—the mighty metal band that binds the brushes to their handles—and loosens the sacred glue that holds them together.

Step 4: The final act of this cleansing odyssey involves the drying process. Lay your beloved makeup brushes flat on a pristine towel or, if you seek an alternative path, hang them upside down using a product such as the JackCube Design Bamboo Brush Makeup Cosmetic Air-Drying Rack.

How to Wash Makeup Brushes with Shampoo Method

How to Wash Makeup Brushes Best Guide - Miller Reviews

Step 1: Begin this cleansing ritual by rinsing the bristles under warm water at the sink. Ensure that the handle remains untouched by the water’s flow, for we must protect the delicate bond between bristle and base.

Step 2: It is time to introduce the shampoo into this sacred equation. Add a drop or two of baby shampoo or a gentle shampoo, for they shall treat your brushes with the care they deserve. Beware of rich shampoos that may leave a burdensome residue upon the bristles, weighing them down. Alternatively, you may opt for a specialized makeup brush shampoo designed exclusively for this purpose.

Step 3: Embrace the power of your own hands as you massage the bristles within the palm of one hand. Allow the shampoo to weave its magic, creating a gentle lather that cleanses and nourishes.

Step 4: As the water flows, witness the transformation. Rinse the bristles under running water until all traces of pigment and shampoo dissipate, and the water runs clear. Squeeze out any remaining moisture, and behold the secret ingredient of hair conditioner. Apply a touch of this gentle conditioner to moisturize the bristles, then rinse once more, bidding farewell to any lingering residue.

Step 5: The grand finale approaches. Squeeze out the remaining moisture from the bristles, carefully reshaping them into their original majestic form. Lay them gently upon a clean towel, allowing them to dry flat, basking in the glory of renewal.

Care for Brushes When Not in Use

How to Wash Makeup Brushes Best Guide - Miller Reviews

To ensure the longevity of your makeup brushes, it is essential to store them with care when they are not in use. Listen closely to the wise words of Tanzi, who advises us to shield our brushes from the perils of dust and dirt that may settle upon the bristles and find their way onto our precious skin.

The solution, my friends, lies in storing our brushes in a closed container, a fortress against the invading pollutants of the world.

Now, let us explore the various options for housing our treasured brushes:

  • Seek refuge within a clean makeup bag or a trusty pencil case, alongside fellow pristine brushes. Embrace the camaraderie of cleanliness as they reside together, ready for your artistic endeavors.
  • Another worthy choice is an acrylic makeup organizer, a sanctuary of organization and elegance that will cradle your brushes with care. Allow the transparent beauty of acrylic to showcase your collection while safeguarding its integrity.

Remember, my dear knowledge seekers, that proper storage is the key to preserving the longevity of your cherished brushes. Shield them from harm, keep them pristine, and let their magic guide you on your journey to flawless beauty.

The End of a Brushes Life, When to Replace

How to Wash Makeup Brushes Best Guide - Miller Reviews

for when crafted with precision and nurtured with care, these magnificent tools can endure the test of time. Let us delve into the signs that may signal it is time to bid farewell to our faithful companions:

  • Foul odors
  • Bristles that keep falling out
  • Gunk that won’t come out with cleaning
  • Frayed bristles
  • Bristles that can’t be reshaped

Listen closely to the wise words of Michiko Boorberg, a makeup artist hailing from the bustling streets of New York City. She imparts upon us the knowledge that a well-crafted set of makeup brushes is not merely an acquisition but an investment—an investment in the pursuit of artistry. Treat these remarkable tools with the utmost respect, my friends, by bestowing upon them the gift of consistent cleaning and proper care.

And yet, there may come a time when our brushes whisper their final farewell. Pay heed to the signs, my dear enthusiasts of beauty, for they shall guide us on this path. When the bristles become frayed, the handles weary, or the performance wanes despite our loving care, it is a gentle nudge from the universe, urging us to bid adieu.


As we reach the conclusion of this guide, it is vital to remember the importance of regular brush washing for the sake of both your brushes and your skin. By following the proper techniques and incorporating them into your routine, you can ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your beloved tools.

Let us embrace the wisdom shared by experts, such as dermatologists and makeup artists, who emphasize the significance of brush hygiene. Their guidance reminds us that diligent cleaning not only removes dirt, oil, and bacteria but also prevents potential breakouts and infections. By incorporating these practices into our beauty rituals, we become guardians of both our brushes’ integrity and our own skin’s well-being.

So, my fellow enthusiasts, let us embark on this journey of brush cleansing with determination and a commitment to excellence. May your brushes always be pristine, your techniques flawless, and your creativity boundless.

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