How to clean makeup brushes: my best tips and tricks

Clean Makeup Brushes



How often do you clean your makeup brushes?


I feel like there are two types of girls: the ones who clean their makeup brushes regularly and… the rest of us. (We mean well, but it never gets crossed off the endless to-do list.) If it makes you feel any better, I’ve been both. ?

It turns out that cleaning makeup brushes is essential for many reasons! Do we spend so much time searching for the right products and creating a personalized skincare routine for ourselves, only to follow it by pressing dirty brushes into our skin? We clean everything else that touches our skin (sheets, pillowcases, phones) and makeup brushes should be cleaned regularly, too, whether you apply a lot of makeup daily or only occasionally.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, makeup brushes are a breeding ground for bacteria and can cause breakouts and rashes. They can even cause an infection, such as an E. coli or staph infection! Dirty brushes also clog pores and irritate skin. In short, we are simply sabotaging our beauty routine (and even our health) by not washing our makeup brushes regularly! Washing your makeup brushes also helps keep them in good condition and makes your makeup go on smoother!

*gets off the platform*

You get it. Cleaning your makeup brushes is a priority. So now, let’s take a look at my favorite brushes and blenders, and how to clean them (quickly and easily), step by step!

what you need to clean makeup brushes

First, my favorite beauty brushes and blenders!

I always get asked what makeup brushes I use, and you’ll be glad to know: my preferred brand will only set you back a few bucks! I have used EcoTools since I was twenty years old. (**They’re not sponsoring this post, FYI, they were a sponsor a long time ago, but this isn’t sponsored at all! Just wanted to include a highlight because I love their products and often get asked for makeup brush reccos!)

They make brushes, blenders, and more that are 100% cruelty-free and vegan. I love their duo of beauty blenders that have different surfaces to use on all areas of your face, depending on what you need!

All of their products are made from recycled aluminum and plastic and the handles on their products are made from renewable bamboo! Oh, and they’re from THE DRUGSTORE. (Or Amazon.) SO affordable. What more could you ask for in a makeup brush? (They also make hair brushes and bath products!)

You can read more about their brushes and how to use ALL (there are SO MANY!) of the different makeup brushes in my post here.

How often should you clean your makeup brushes?

Makeup artists say that makeup brushes should be thoroughly cleaned every few weeks, and washed at least once a month. Face brushes (for foundation, concealer, or powder) really need to be cleaned once a week!

How often should you replace your makeup brushes?

This depends on the type of brush you have. Synthetic brushes (made from materials like nylon or polyester fibers) don’t hold as much makeup or clump as much as natural hair brushes (made from animal hair). Which is great because, hey, THEY ARE SO MUCH CHEAPER anyway! ?

Loose bristles, discolored bristles, and strange odors are signs that it’s time to buy new brushes.

With proper care, quality brushes can last for years! Beauty blenders should be replaced every two months or so for best application.

How to clean makeup brushes

How to clean makeup brushes

Step 1: Dip, but don’t soak!

I’ve experimented a lot with this, and I find that the easiest and most effective way to clean your makeup brushes is to fill a glass with warm water and a bit of soap. Dip the brushes in it, and shake and twist them a bit, using your fingers to massage the soap into the bristles.

TIP! You should only moisten from the middle to the end of the bristles; you should not wet the part where it joins the handle, because this loosens the glue.

Did you know that there are cleaners specifically designed to clean makeup brushes? I noticed that EcoTools had a makeup brush shampoo, so I bought it to try because I already love their brushes (works great!), but items you already have around the house work great too, like mild dish soap , baby shampoo or even your facial cleanser works in a pinch. You can also use coconut oil!

cleaning makeup brush

STEP 2: Swirl

Your brush should be nice and sudsy. If not, gently massage a little to lather. Then, using a brush cleaning mat (I got mine on Amazon here!) gently move the brushes around so that all of the makeup comes out of the crevices.

Don’t have a brush mat? It’s okay! Simply massage the tip of the brush in the palm of your hand until you have a nice lather and continue the process of soaking in the soapy water and rinsing until the water runs clear. (Again, you only want to wet the brush, not the part where the bristles meet the handle!)

STEP 4: Rinse Clean

Rinse by pointing the bristles down, allowing the warm water to hit the ends and not the brush head. Check that all makeup is removed by gently pulling the brush between your thumb and forefinger.

Step 5: Dab and Shape

Dab excess water onto a paper towel and gently smooth and shape the brush head back to its original shape.

clean makeup brushes

Step 6: Lay out to dry

Lastly, lay your brushes out on a paper towel, washcloth, or better yet, I like to dry the brush mat and let them dry on top. (The mat is great because it has grooves that trap water so the brushes don’t get on a damp cloth.)

Tip! You can also hang the bristles over the counter, so they don’t dry out weird from being on their side. This allows air to fully circulate around them!

**Do no stand them upright in a container – the water will run down the brush, loosening the glue on the handle, undoing all your hard work to prevent that!

If you’re in a pinch and can’t thoroughly clean your brushes, you can spot clean. Use a makeup brush cleaning cloth to remove surface makeup, oils, and impurities. This is great if you are going to change the color of your makeup (such as eyeshadow) or if you are traveling!

How to clean your beauty blender

Because beauty blenders are used for facial makeup, they must forever Be clean to avoid breakouts! I admit I’m not that good at cleaning my other brushes, but I’m very diligent about cleaning my beauty blender. Fortunately, the process is simple and very fast! Since I wet my blender before every application anyway, I usually just give it a quick clean each time, because it only takes a few extra seconds!

How to clean makeup brushes

STEP 1: dip

Just like above, fill a glass with some soap and warm water. (See above!) I also love Ecotools brush shampoo for blenders!

STEP 2: Dunk and Squeeze

Submerge your blender in the jar and squeeze it several times to make sure the soapy water is fully absorbed and has created suds.

STEP 3: Rinse and tighten

Rinse the blender with warm water, squeezing and removing foam and makeup until the water runs clear. You may need to do another round of soaking and rinsing if your brush hasn’t been cleaned in a while!

STEP 4: Lay Flat

After squeezing out excess water with a towel, place the blender on a towel to dry. However, as I said, I always wet my blender before using it to apply foundation (this helps achieve a natural finish and also prevents me from soaking up or creasing all the makeup!) so your blender is ready to use right after the washed!

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How often do you clean your makeup brushes? Did this inspire you to incorporate cleaning your makeup brushes into your weekly or monthly routine?

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