brushes blog post image ©BARBARA IDSIAK PHOTOGRAPHY


my 3 step formula to keeping your brushes looking their best.

How to Clean your Makeup Brushes


 As a professional cruelty free makeup artist I get asked all the time to share my favourite tips on how to keep your brushes clean and germ-free. It's important to remember that clean brushes equal beautiful skin & flawless makeup application

Why Are Clean Makeup Brushes Important?

It's a quick and easy way to protect your skin and keep your makeup looking its best. Did you know that dirty makeup brushes can harbour bacteria and germs?  When you use dirty brushes, you're basically rubbing all that bacteria and germs all over your face. Your makeup brushes need to be cleaned regularly to avoid any bacteria lurking within the bristles to be cleaned away.  If left this can lead to breakouts, rashes, and other skin problems. When your brushes are dirty, they don't pick up product as well, and they will spread product unevenly. This can make your makeup look patchy and stop your products performing how they should. In addition to the health risks, dirty makeup brushes can also make your makeup degrade and break down more quickly.

It is also really important to look after them in the right way and clean them regularly . Cleaning your makeup brushes will help to keep your brushes in top condition and prevent the bristles from becoming damaged or discoloured. Some of the brushes in my kit are over 10 years old and still pristine. With my super simple 3 step method your brushes will apply your makeup beautifully, last longer and keep looking their best for many years to come.

Cleaning your makeup brushes is easy. Just follow these 3 simple steps:

Wash your brushes with soap and warm (not too hot) water. I like to us an organic brush soap suitable for the job, which is cruelty free (obvs). Don't allow the metal part (the ferrule) of the brush to get wet, as over time this can weaken and dislodge the glue holding the bristles in place.

Rinse thoroughly till the water runs clear and there are no traces of soap left in the brush.

Squeeze out any excess water gently and shape the bristles back into their original shape. Lay them flat on a towel and allow them to air dry completely.

That's it! It's really easy to effectively deep clean your makeup brushes.



how often should you clean your makeup brushes?


The answer depends on how often you use them.

If you wear makeup every day, you should regularly spot clean your brushes after use. Deep clean them at least once a week using my super simple routine. This will prevent build up of products and maintain the integrity of your brushes. Read my thoughts about brush cleaner below.

If you only wear makeup on special occasions, spot clean them regularly and deep clean them less often.

before and after brush cleaning

Here are some additional points you may want to use when cleaning your makeup brushes:

  • Avoid using harsh detergents or chemicals, as these can damage your brushes. DO NOT wash your brushes in the dishwasher !! yes people have really done this.
  • Rinse your brushes thoroughly to remove all of the soap. Treat them gently and don't over-wash your brushes, as this can damage the bristles.
  • Let your brushes air dry completely. Lay them flat on a towel and away from direct heat sources. Don't dry them on a radiator or with a hairdryer.
  • If you have used a cream based product such as lipstick this can be more easily removed from your brush by using a small drop of olive oil added to the soap suds, rinse then repeat with just the soap giving it a final clean water rinse. Once dry, your brush will be clean, conditioned and ready for use.


By following these tips, you can keep your makeup brushes clean and germ-free, and in premium condition for years to come.



Bonus Tip: Using a Makeup Brush Cleaner

If you want to make cleaning your makeup brushes even easier, you can use a makeup brush cleaner as your first step to clean brushes. They are specially formulated to breakdown and remove makeup and bacteria from brushes. Most cleaners are useful to 'spot' clean brushes that are not very dirty or as part of your cleaning routine.

Whilst they are useful, in my experience as with most things in life, they do have their limitations. They will not deep clean your brushes effectively enough to kill all bacteria everytime. It is more effective to have a number of steps to your cleaning process in order to ensure the best outcome.

Now you know the importantance of a cleaning routine for your makeup brushes and how to do it. Get cleaning and enjoy the benefits of clean brushes, like beautiful skin and flawless makeup application.



I’m a award winning, cruelty free hair stylist and airbrush makeup artist, based in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. I beautify brides and their bridal parties across Yorkshire with the occasional makeup lesson, corporate event and glitter bar added to the mix.

Want to learn some new skills, planning a wedding or event? Let’s chat!