top of page
  • Writer's pictureBy Kimberly Caines

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

What happens if you don't wash your makeup brushes? The answer is not pretty!

  • The bacteria, oils and dirt buildup on makeup brushes can wreak havoc on your skin and trigger breakouts, rashes and even cold sores and eye infections. Next time what you get a pimple, ask yourself when the last time was that you cleaned your brushes.

  • A dirty brush with makeup residues and oils from your

skin can change the color of any fresh makeup you're applying and will never give the same results as a clean brush.

  • You'll spend a small fortune on new brushes, because the lifespan of a dirty brush is significantly shorter than that of brush that's frequently cleaned.

Luckily, washing makeup brushes doesn't have to take long or take a toll on your wallet. I set aside about 10-15 minutes every week to clean my brushes. Although beauty supply stores sell products like makeup brush cleansing cloths, shampoos or sprays, I find that these are often very fragrant and contain alcohol, which can dry the bristles of the brushes. That said, let me share my easy, effective and affordable brush cleaning method with you.

What you need:

Dirty brushes

Baby shampoo

A plate or small bowl

Clean, old towels or paper towels

A sink with running water


1. Squirt about two tablespoons of baby shampoo onto the plate. If you have a lot of brushes to clean, add more shampoo as needed.

2. Moisten the makeup brush bristles under lukewarm running water. Hold the brush with the bristles facing down so water cannot get into the barrel of the brush where the bristles are attached.

3. Dip the dirty brush into the baby shampoo.

4. Swirl the bristles in the palm of your hand. Hold the brush in your dominant hand and circle the bristles against the palm of your opposite hand. Lather.

5. Rinse the brush thoroughly with lukewarm water until all soap and dirt is removed. Again, make sure not to get any water in the barrel of the brush. If necessary, repeat steps 2 through 4. When the water runs clear, the brush is clean.

6. Squeeze any excess moisture out of the brush using an old, clean towel or paper towels. Alternatively, swipe the brush a clean cloth to help it dry. Reshape any misshapen bristles with your fingers.

7. Lay the brush horizontally on a towel so the bristles are sticking out over the edge of the counter. Avoid lying the bristles directly on the towel, since this can trigger mold build up. Don't stand the brush upright to dry, because moisture can get into the barrel, and weaken the adhesive that holds the bristles together.

8. Wait about 6 to 8 hours so your brushes can dry. Use brushes only when they are fully dry.


  • Pre-treat extra dirty and sticky brushes, such as lip brushes and eyeliner brushes, with olive oil. Massage the oil onto the bristles to loosen residues and dirt. Then proceed with the cleansing method above.

  • If you don't have baby shampoo, use dish detergent as an alternative.

  • Never share brushes with friends, because bacterial can be transmitted from one person to another.

  • Purchase an antibacterial brush cleanser to minimize daily buildup. Spray it on used brushes daily and wipe them clean with a towel.

  • Steer clear from using a blow dryer to dry your brushes, because this can loosen the hairs.

#makeup #makeupbrushes #cleaningbrushes

bottom of page