How to clean your makeup brushes



Putting on makeup is fun.  Playing in different colors, textures, and using different mediums.  And then there’s the clean up.  I can’t be the only person who dreads cleaning my makeup brushes. but I know that clean makeup brushes and tools are essential to any makeup artist or enthusiast for many reasons, which is why I’ve created this pictorial teaching you How to Clean your Makeup Brushes using Clean Brush Shampoo (review) and alcohol.

Why you should learn how to clean your makeup brushes

Not cleaning your makeup brushes are doing your skin, makeup and brushes a huge disservice.  In order for your makeup brushes and tools to perform effectively, and apply your makeup flawlessly, they must be clean.  Dirty brushes can lead to muddy looking, or streaky makeup.  Dirty brushes can also lead to breakouts since they tend to harbor bacteria and dead skin cells.  Additionally, if you’re a makeup artist, not keeping your brushes clean, and doing so in between clients can contaminate all of your makeup. Brushes, like anything else are also an investment, especially if you’re a makeup artist, so think of keeping them clean as protecting your investment. Dirty brushes do tend to lead to a shorter life expectancy for you brushes.

How to clean your makeup brushes

Things you need to clean your makeup brushes

First, you need a few items in order to clean your makeup brushes so make sure you have the following setup before hand.

Brush shampoo

70% Alcohol


Paper Towel

How to clean your makeup brushes pictorial

Now, let’s get to how to clean your makeup brushes

1. Wet the brush with lukewarm water with the brush head facing down.

Remember:  Do not wet past the ferrule since continued saturation of the ferrule, overtime can cause the glue to weaken, thus leading to the brush head  detaching from the handle.

2. Since I used Clean Brush solid brush shampoo,  I also wet that, too.

3. Swirl the dirty brush around in the jar, and then on your hand for extra dirty brushes.

4.  Rinse brush under lukewarm water until the water runs clear.

5.  Gently squeeze out excess water.

6.  Lie flat on towel to dry.

Usually, after my brushes are dry, I wet a paper towel with 70% alcohol, and then wipe down the brush handles.  I think this is a crucial step for makeup artists.

How to clean your makeup brushes


I hope this pictorial has been helpful in helping you to learn how to clean your makeup brushes.

How often are you deep cleaning your brushes? 

51 Comments on How to Clean your Makeup Brushes using Clean Brush Shampoo

  1. I've used clarifying shampoo on my brushes every once in awhile, not on a schedule just to keep them in shape!

    • That's good. How often you clean them depends on how often you're using them. There are instances when you should immediately wash your brushes like after using a creamy or glossy-like product, or even colored products like red lipstick or blush that can stain your brush.

  2. I hate dirty make up brushes and I HATE having to clean them. It's like having to clean your dishes lol its annoying and the more you put it off the more work you have to do later. When I run out of brush cleaner I've been using baby shampoo lol I hope that its okay.

    • Baby shampoo is totally okay because it is gentle. You'll know if the soap you're using is too harsh if you notice your brushes bleed after washing.

  3. Nice!!! I have some brush cleaner, but most of the time I just clean mine with Dawn.
    My recent post Two MAC polishes from the Marilyn Monroe collection!

    • Sam Fine uses Dawn, too! It's great for getting rid of the heavier products off of your brushes like the highly pigmented lip tars or cream based product.

  4. Thank you for this post. I have never heard of the brush shampoo. I have not been wearing makeup lately. However, when I do , I clean them that night before I go to bed. I do not use a specific product. I have used Dove soap, Aveeno and Olive Oil to clean my brushes.

    • This brush shampoo is the bomb. Olive oil is good for removing the product, but it isn't optimal for removing bacteria.

  5. I have a lot of brushes, so they tend to not get a lot of use between washings. I may use an eyeshadow brush once, and a foundation brush a handful of times before it gets cleaned. Usually, on Sundays, I have my cleaning session. I have been using Dr.Bronners castile liquid soap to clean my brushes, but I also just bought Cinema Secrets, which I also like.
    My recent post Feeling Bold and Blue with #EddieFunkhouser and #CoverFX

    • I think brushes used with powders can get cleaned, especially deep cleansed less often than the brushes used with cream and liquid products like foundations, concealer, etc. I'd clean my foundation, concealer, and lip brushes after every use.

  6. I wash my brushes every single time. Not only do I worry about introducing bacteria to my skin, but my makeup application suffers with dirty brushes.
    My recent post Glam Glow #Brightmud Eye Treatment Review

    • Makeup application definitely suffers from dirty brushes. The makeup can look muddy or untrue to color, and the application can look streaky and uneven.

  7. I use Cinema Secrets brush cleaner. Do I need to do an additional different type of cleaning? I clean my brushes with CS after each use by dipping the bristles into the cleaner and then doing a figure 8 on a towel and then they dry quickly. I need to start cleaning the handles the way you recommend (I only use my brushes on me). Thanks for sharing this!
    My recent post Smoky Teal Watercolor Look

    • I use CS brush cleaner too. It's blue, right? I prefer to deep clean at least once per week because I feel spot cleaning doesn't really get the brushes clean. I think cleaning the handles is a good step because you're also removing any bacteria from the handles, which touch your hands, and we sometimes touch our faces during makeup application.

    • LOL One of my friends washes hers every few months, and then I told her to wash her brushes and see how her makeup application improves. She was shocked when she did try it out.

  8. I needed to read this. It is reminding me I need to wash my brushes. I totally never thought about the using alcohol after. Good tip.
    My recent post Beating Lackluster Skin with Indeed Laboratories

  9. I dread it too I've gone out and bought brushes to avoid it lol but hate the breakouts I get if I don't. I've used baby shampoo and Dawn but the alcohol is a good step too.

    • Not necessarily a solid cleaner, but maybe try something different? You can try olive oil first to remove the gunk, and then use dawn or another liquid soap.

    • I completely understand. That's why I have a ton of brushes, and sometimes I just let them pile up, and keep using other brushes until I run out. And then comes wash day when I regret the decision of waiting.

  10. I need to try these Brush Shampoo… I use Perian spirit for spot cleaning and it takes a toll on my brushes.

    • DIY you can use olive oil to remove cream-based products; however, that doesn't get rid of the bacteria. There's a DIY spot brush cleaner you can make, too.

  11. I swear you post stuff just when I need it.I just got some new brushes and I didn't want to use them for fear when when I clean them I would mess them up like my other ones.

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