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Dirty makeup brushes? Here’s how you clean them

When it comes to cleaning your makeup brushes, we always put it off ‘oh, I’ll do it tomorrow,’ and 3 weeks pass, and you’re asking yourself why you do it to yourself? 

Trust me, girly; you’re not the only one.

Even though washing your brushes can be a chore, it is so important. Are you wondering why you’re breaking out? The chances are that your brushes need a good ol’ clean. 

But it goes much further than general hygiene for your brushes; not washing them can actually be quite damaging to the bristles and shorten the life of your brushes- we don’t want that now, do we? 

Experts say we should be washing our brushes every few months, but it doesn’t happen 90% of the time.  Life gets in the way, and that’s fine.

But putting aside washing your brushes every 2-3 months will not only keep the bacteria bugs away but transform your makeup look as a whole. 

But I’m here to help; together, we will go through the best way to wash your makeup brushes so they look like new. (I’ve even included some hassle-free methods, so stay tuned).

Let’s jump in! 

makeup brushes

How often should you clean your makeup brushes? 

Let’s be honest here, girls– how often do you brush your makeup brushes? Trust me, I have some in my brush pot that hasn’t been washed for about a year, so you’re not the only one. 

In an ideal world, we should be cleaning our brushes after every use,  but not only is this time-consuming, it is a very tedious task. Experts say you should clean powdered brushes 1-2 times a week, with foundations brushes and sponges, they say daily, but this never happens. 

To make things easier for you, I would suggest setting aside one day a month or every few weeks to deep clean your brushes. It will prolong the life of your brushes, and your skin will love you for it. 

Step by step guide as to how to clean your makeup brushes to perfection: 

Here’s everything you need to know and do to clean your makeup brushes to get the most out of your makeup brushes. 

Step one: wash 

Firstly hand washes your brushes using either antibacterial, makeup brush shampoo, or baby shampoo in lukewarm water. Dip don’t submerge your brushes in water; this can actually loosen the glue on the brush tip and can actually ruin your brushes.

Rub your brushes gently in your hands, lathering up the soap for a few minutes– you’ll see the makeup coming out right onto your hands. 

I would recommend getting a brush mat, it usually has ridges and teeth on them, and you can rub your brushes on this instead of your hands. It will reach in between the bristles of your brush. 

Check out my full guide of the best makeup cleaner here. 

Step two: rinse with running water.

Run your brushes under water until there’s no lather on them. Usually, I run them under running water for around 30 seconds until the brushes are crystal clean. 

Step three: repeat 

Repeat this step until there’s no more product coming off your brushes. It may take 2-3 times for them to be fully clean. If it’s clean after the first clean, then you can skip this step. 

Step four: dry 

Once your brushes are clean, gently pat them dry with a towel, reshape them and leave them to dry (I would recommend letting them dry while standing up, so they keep their shape). 

cleaning makeup brushes

Other ways you can clean your brushes: 

There are other ways you can clean your brushes than the one I’ve listed above; let’s break them down:

Using an electric brush cleaner: Using an electric brush cleaner is a brilliant way to clean your brushes (plus it’s much quicker and less hassle).

I would recommend getting a brush cleaner like StylePro electric brush cleaner and dryer; it will clean your brushes and dry them in the process. 

It is a hassle-free and easy alternative, plus it comes with everything you need, even for the most stubborn of makeup. (brilliant for if you are short for time too) 

Using anti-bacterial spray:  Antibacterial spray is a great quick-fix between thorough washes- best used on smaller brushes.

All you need to do is spray the solution onto the bristles, wiping it back and forth until there’s no residue of makeup left. 

Use a solid cleanser: This is a super quick and handy method; all you need is to wet your brush and sweep your brush in circular motions on the solid cleanser until the product lathers up

Once you’ve got rid of all of the makeup residues, then you can rinse, reshape it with your fingers and leave it to dry upright.

Makeup wipes: This is another quick and easy fix, brilliant for on the go. Just rub your brush in a circular motion until no more product comes off on the wipes.

But what do dirty brushes do to your skin? 

We all know that dirty brushes can cause breakouts, but what does it actually do to your skin? Daily grime from our makeup brushes can cause a build-up of bacteria on both our face and our brushes. 

Plus, you should never share makeup brushes; if your own makeup brushes are causing you to break out, you definitely shouldn’t be sharing them; the cross-contamination can cause bacteria to multiply and cause infections (gross, I know). 

While dirty brushes change the performance of the finish it has also been said to accelerate aging; it causes stress on your skin which is never good. 

makeup brushes clean

So when is it time to throw away your makeup brush? 

Although frequent cleansing can help extend the life of your brushes, no makeup brush lasts forever. If your makeup brush starts to shed, fray, or lose its shape, it may be time to part. 

I know parting with one of your favorite makeup brushes can be tough at times, but it’s always for the best if it doesn’t do the job anymore.

But it’s also quite exciting as you can purchase some new one! Check out my guide for my top recommendations here. 


Looking after our brushes not only prolongs the life of our bristles but also helps tackle skin conditions like acne and breakouts caused by dirt and grime. 

I know it’s not the easiest of tasks to set a day to clean your brushes and trust me, you’re not alone. But once you get into a routine, it’s much easier. 

I try to set every other Sunday as brush cleaning day! It’s on repeat in my calendar, and it helps me on track and keeps me from forgetting. 

Let’s upgrade our brush game, ladies!

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