How to Clean Makeup Brushes

How to Clean Makeup Brushes

The beauty industry has come a long way, especially with the advent of numerous makeup brushes to apply your cosmetics.  While earlier women would use just one or two applicators, now there are many designed for different purposes. For example, you have a separate brush to apply foundation, another to apply blush, and yet another to apply eyeshadow.

Similarly, the process of cleaning them has also become more elaborate. Earlier women would simply wash them quickly under running water and call it a day. However, now we know that this does not clean  thoroughly enough and can actually lead to the accumulation of bacteria.

Here, we will walk you through the best ways to clean all types of makeup applicators using commercial and homemade solutions.

So no matter what you are using a brush to apply, we've got you covered!

A Brief History

It all started with women using their fingers to apply makeup, but this soon became tedious and time-consuming. In addition, applying makeup with the fingers gave rise to many a headache due to the amount of precision that was required.

The first accessories were made from animal hair, which was stiff and not very effective. In the 1930s, synthetic products were invented and this changed the game completely. Every bristle was significantly softer and more effective at applying makeup.

This invention has helped us apply our makeup with more precision and ease than ever before. From humble beginnings, they have become an essential tool in every woman's beauty arsenal.

Why Is Cleaning Important?

It's important to clean your makeup brushes because if not cleaned regularly, they can harbor bacteria, dirt, and oils which can cause skin problems. In addition, dirty brushes will make your makeup look less than perfect.

Each time you use them, the bristles become covered in makeup, dead skin cells, and oil. If these aren't cleaned out completely, they will begin to build up over time and will cause the applicator to become less effective. 

A good cleaning routine is a quick and easy way to help keep your skin looking its best.

makeup brushes

How To Clean a Makeup Brush (The Right Way)

There are many types of makeup brushes used to apply:

  • Foundation
  • Eyeshadow 
  • Lipstick 
  • Blush 

So let’s look at  each type individually and discover the best way to clean them.


The process is pretty simple so just follow these steps:

  • Start by wetting the bristles 
  • Swirl on a small amount of gentle shampoo and massage into a lather
  • Rinse thoroughly until all traces of makeup have been removed
  • Squeeze out excess liquid and lay the item flat on  clean toweling to dry

Eyeshadow Applicators

  • Swirl the bristles under lukewarm water
  • Using a pea size amount of cleanser,  massage gently into a lather
  • Rinse thoroughly 
  • Pat dry with a clean towel and allow to air dry overnight

Lipstick Applicators

These are a bit different to work with because they tend to get caked with lipstick and can be difficult to clean. 

  • Start by wiping with a tissue or paper towel to remove any excess product
  • Using a proprietary lip brush cleanser or gentle baby shampoo, gently massage to work the cleanser in
  • Rinse until they are free of any soap or cleaner
  • Remove excess liquid and allow to dry 

Blush Applicators

  • Using lukewarm water, ensure every bristle is wet
  • Apply a small amount of gentle shampoo and work into a lather
  • Rinse thoroughly under running tepid water 
  • Gently squeeze out excess liquid and reshape
  • Lay the item on a clean towel to air dry

makeup broshesh

How Often Should You Clean Your Makeup Brushes?

There is no set timeline for how often you should be cleaning your makeup applicators, but a good rule of thumb is to do it at least once a week.

If you are using makeup daily, you may want to do it more often. It's also important to clean them between use with different products, such as foundation and powder, or ideally have a separate applicator for each product.


Now that you know how to clean your makeup brushes the right way, it's important to establish a good cleaning routine. Doing so will help keep your skin looking its best and free from bacteria and oils which can cause skin problems. 

Follow these simple steps to get started, and your brushes will be looking and smelling fresh in no time. Not only will this help keep your makeup application flawless, but it'll also prolong the life of your brushes.

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