TOP TIPS : Makeup Brush Cleaning

If you’re anything like me, you get more excited about your new makeup brush than your actual makeup! Is it weird that I also enjoy cleaning my brushes?

I hope not! In fact us makeup lovers have to make peace with the fact that cleaning our makeup brushes has to be a frequent part of our routine. Over time and use, our makeup brushes can become colourful, dirty and also slightly unhygienic with a build up of bacteria and oil. Cleaning your makeup brushes should be an important part of your routine so that you keep your brushes looking, feeling and smelling clean and new as well as helping them to last longer so that it is not necessary to keep spending money replacing damaged brushes. You also don’t want to rub all that excess ‘bad stuff’ trapped in your unclean brush, back into your skin- blemishes galore! You can keep brushes for years, but in order to do that, you need to take care of them and I’ve noted down some of my top tips for doing so!!



1.  Brush Cleansing : mmmm I love a clean brush! If you use makeup regularly then you need to be cleaning your makeup brushes regularly. Particular brushes may retain more dirt and bacteria than others. For example foundation brushes should be cleaned generally after every heavy use particularly after use with liquid foundation. Liquid foundation traps bacteria much more easily so they need to be cleaned frequently. Most brushes need a deep clean at least once a week, and eye makeup brushes must been cleaned often as any build up of bacteria can cause eye infections. For a deep clean you can use a brush shampoo or cleanser such as the Clinique Makeup Brush Cleanser or if you want a cheap and really effective homemade cleanser, check out my Homemade : Makeup Brush Cleaning post. Some people don’t have the time to deep clean their brushes as often as they use them so a quick and simple idea to freshen up your brushes is to use the Pro Hygiene Makeup Brush Cleaner which you can spray onto your brush and it works in 60 seconds!! I recommend using this as a quick fix though, and actually doing a deep clean on your brushes when you have time. For makeup sponges and beauty blenders the Blender Cleanser is great- you just wet the soap, wet the sponge and massage the sponge into the soap before rinsing and wringing.

2.  Washing : I have already talked about the reasons to wash your brushes regularly but how about some tips on how to wash them to prolong their shelf life! When using a makeup brush shampoo/ cleanser or home-made cleanser, it is a good idea to gently massage the product into the brush to loosen up all the pigment and dirt and also kill any lurking bacteria. The following ‘icky’ stuff building up in your brushes can really ruin your them, your skin condition and your complexion:
– Old makeup (remember makeup does go-off!)
– Skin cells
– Bacteria
– Oil
– Dust and dirt (important even if you are not using that brush very often)

Whilst washing, you also need to take good care of your brush so that the bristles don’t get ruined. Be sure to not hold your brush upright with the bristles facing upwards whilst washing. Don’t let water pass through the bristles and into the base of the handle. Allowing water to pass through to the handle can loosen the glue that holds the bristles together and eventually they will fall out and your brush will be ruined along with your handle too. It is also difficult to dry this area so its best to avoid it altogether. In terms of what to use, make sure you use products suitable for cleaning brushes and simple products that will keep them soft and always use cool to lukewarm clean running water to rinse. Continue the cleaning until only clear water runs from the brush.


3.  Drying, Re-shaping and Protecting : Once you have washed your brushes, the aftercare should not be forgotten. Brushes can be dried in a few ways, each protecting the brush and the handle. Once of the best ways to dry a brush is by gently reshaping them using a paper towel, also getting rid of excess water, and then hanging them bristle side downwards from a hanger using pegs or chip clips. This way the water does not run into the handle. Also to blot off excess water and reshape, use ordinary paper towels as other types of tissue may leave lint on the brush. If you don’t want to hang your brushes, you can also lay them to dry on a normal towel (as shown above) or paper towel. They can either be laid flat or slightly elevated (bristles pointing down) by folding one end of the towel. Be sure to re-sahpe them before laying them and lay them at the edge of a surface so that the shape does not flatten from being laid down flat.

A great way to reshape your brushes and thereafter protect them from dust and dirt is to use brush guards! You can get them on Amazon very cheaply or from The Brush Guard. Take an appropriate brush guard for the size of your brush and slide it on from the end of the handle all the way up to the bristles until they are covered completely. They are great for protecting and storing cleanly, maintaining its shape. Brush guards are also easy it clean. They can be rinsed with warm water and soap and dried.

4.  Other tips : When cleaning your brushes the temperature of the water is important! Hot water can ruin your bristles and also loosen the glue that holds them together. My suggestion is to use cool water or lukewarm water for cleaning. My other tip is to also store your brushes in a practical way so they are easy to access and don’t get thrown together and crushed! I store mine in an acrylic pot from MUJI because I love the clean look and that they are looked after in that pot!! Sometimes when you have a lot of brushes you have a tendency to throw them together in a makeup bag that never gets cleaned- this is just spreading and building up the icky stuff! Don’t fret if you can’t get the colour completely out of your beauty blenders! It is very difficult to get your makeup sponges and beauty blenders completely colour free. Makeup stains the sponge material however not to fear, they will still be fresh and clean!!

IMG_3761first photo

Love Nimisha



  1. June 30, 2014 / 1:35 pm

    Great tips. I try to wash my brushes at least once every 2 weeks but I think after reading this post and what you said about liquid foundations I should wash them at least once as week rather than once every 2 weeks! I’ll get a routine going I think 🙂

    I’m holding a giveaway on my blog and the winner will win Benefit’s new They’re Real Push-up liner. If you want to take part, take a look at the details here –

    Yazmin xx

    • niminotes
      July 3, 2014 / 10:26 am

      Thank you!! I was the same, but once you get into a routine its fine! 🙂 Thank you for reading, I’ll take a look at the giveaway! xx

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