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How to Properly Clean Your Professional Makeup Brushes | Step by Step

June 13, 2019

How to Properly Clean Your Professional Makeup Brushes | Step by Step

Let’s set the stage: you invest in a beautiful set of professional makeup brushes. You use them daily to conceal, contour, highlight, blush, and bronze. Mornings are busy and you’re often running out the door. You hardly have enough time to put your brushes away, let alone clean them. Life gets in the way, and as soon as you know it, it’s been a couple of weeks—or even months—since you’ve given your brushes a proper cleaning.

In the meantime, there is bacteria piling up on your makeup brushes that you are swiping on to your clean, exfoliated face on a daily basis. That bacteria can not only clog pores, and cause acne and skin irritation, but it can also potentially lead to more serious infections. On top of being bad for you, that grimy build up is—of course—bad for the brushes as well.

You, like most women, have likely heard this before. So why are a majority of us neglecting to give our high-end cosmetic brushes the attention they deserve? The main reason: we simply just don’t have the time. We know it’s important, but we haven’t figured out a way to clean brushes that is simple and effective.

So, you want to break this habit and make cleaning your makeup brushes a part of your routine? Below is a step-by-step guide on how to properly clean your brushes using items you probably already have around your house.


What you’ll need: 

Simple ingredients for cleaning your makeup brushes

  • 1 glass jar
  • 1 cup of lukewarm water
  • 1 tbsp of dish soap or baby shampoo
  • 1 tbsp of distilled white vinegar
  • (optional) 1 tsp of olive oil


Cleaning Method

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a glass jar. You may choose to add a teaspoon of olive oil to your mixture for brushes that you’ve used on products with a higher concentration of oil—such as lipsticks, gel eyeliner or brow pomade.

Soap solution to clean your professional makeup brushes

2. Put your brushes into the mixture face down. Placing the brushes face up will cause water to seep into the brush handles. This will loosen the glue that is keeping the bristles intact, and your brushes will begin to shed.

How to properly clean your makeup brushes

3. Let your brushes sit in the mixture for 20 minutes.

Dirty makeup brushes can carry harmful bacteria

4. One by one, rub your soapy brushes in a circular motion over your palm and then over your fingers. You may choose to use a brush cleaning mat instead of your hand, if you have one.

Wash your makeup brushes at home

5. Rinse the brush under water with the handle pointing toward you and the bristles pointing down. You’ll know the brush is clean once the water runs clear.

Cleaning your makeup brushes

6. Squeeze the water out of the bristles gently. Use a paper towel or clean washcloth to squeeze out any excess moisture and reshape each brush.

Shape your makeup brush after washing it

  1. Lay the brushes to dry overnight on a flat surface with an edge. It is important to hang the bristles over the edge so that air can circulate around the brushes. This also helps your brushes preserve their shape. Do not dry flat on a towel.

Air dry your professional makeup brushes to prolong their lifespan


Keeping Your Makeup Brushes Clean

To maintain clean brushes for longer, it is a good idea to sanitize your brushes between washes. Invest in a quick-drying, alcohol-free spray on cleanser. Products with alcohol can damage delicate brush hairs on high-end cosmetic brushes and are not recommended.

Using a spray on cleanser is particularly great to remove any excess product left on your brush and avoid mixing colours unintentionally. Keep a small bottle in your makeup bag and give your brushes a quick spritz after each use. Spray the cleanser onto a washcloth, cotton pad or paper towel, move the brush head in a circular motion on the solution and repeat until the brush is clean.

We spend so much time taking care of our skin, but cleaning our brushes is a step in our skincare routine that is often overlooked. You’ve invested your hard-earned dollars into a set of high-end cosmetic brushes, why not invest the time to take care of them? Trust us, your skin (and your brushes) will thank you for it.

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