Clean your makeup brushes like a Pro

Clean your makeup brushes like a Pro

Makeup brushes are an investment.  Treat them well and you can use them for years.  I have makeup brushes that are at least 10 years old, and they still look (and more importantly work) great.

As anyone who has ever had any kind of makeup related interaction with me can tell you, one of the first things I will ask about is the state of your brushes.  And if you tell me you’ve never washed them, you better get ready for a demonstration.

I find that some brush soaps or shampoos (a lot of people just use baby shampoo) can be drying to the bristles after a few washes.

I prefer to wash my brushes with Dr Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap in Baby Unscented, because it is gentle enough to keep my brushes soft, and the oil base helps to break down residual makeup on my brushes. A little bit goes a long way – a small bottle lasts me months, and I wash a lot of brushes.

If you are someone that washes their brushes regularly, comment below so that we can be friends.  For everyone else keep reading, and watch my video to see how I clean my brushes (and leave a comment to let me know what you think).


Do’s and Don’ts of cleaning makeup brushes


Wash (deep cleanse) your brushes regularly (every two to three weeks) to stop bacteria building up.  If you are acne prone I recommend cleaning your brushes after every use with a good spot/spray cleaner between washes (Parian Spirits is my personal pick, but can be hard to find. Priceline carries Artiste and Model’s Prefer cleaners which also work well).


Soak your brushes in water.  This can cause the glue to deteriorate, the handle to swell and the bristles to fall out


Only run the bristles under water, not the handle.  Water on the handle and under the ferrule (metal bit near the handle) can cause the handle to swell, the ferrule to rust and the glue to deteriorate.


Hold a wet brush with the bristles pointing upwards, this can cause water to travel down the to the glue and the handle and can ruin your brushes


Make sure that your brushes are properly dry before putting them away.  Wet brushes can grow mould at the ferrule which is (obviously) not good for the brush or for your skin


Use a hairdryer to try to dry your brush more quickly.  The heat can melt the glue causing the bristles to fall out.


Gently shape the bristles back into their original shape after washing so that you maintain the original shape of the brush

Do you have any cleaning tips for me?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

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Sally is a makeup artist, a beauty junkie and a coffee addict, who loves finding new products and techniques and using them to give her clients an amazing experience – every time.

To book in for makeup, hair or beauty services contact me and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. And there you have it, an easy and inexpensive way to make sure your makeup brushes are clean and ready to use. Thanks so much for reading Makeup Geeks!

  2. Hi great article. I was wondering if you could answer a question for me. What type of makeup brush do you typically use? is there are certain brand or style that you prefer? I’m preparing for a wedding and I don’t have a lot of experience with makeup. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for stopping by. Makeup brushes are an investment and if you look after them well they can last you for years. I love Cozette brushes – they are vegan (synthetic bristles) and are so well made. If you are looking for more budget friendly brushes Crown Brushes have some great options. Rather than buying a set of brushes that will have a bunch that you’ll never use I recommend getting 2-3 eye blending brushes, 1 brush for packing on colour, 1 angle brush for brows/liner, a foundation buffing brush, a blush brush and a large powder brush.

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