Your ultimate guide to cleaning makeup brushes – straight from a professional!
I’ve been around as a makeup artist for quite some time now and by far the most common questions I get asked are to do with cleaning my makeup brushes – namely how to clean them and how often. Given the renewed priority of hygiene in recent months, it’s now more important than ever to approach our daily routines with careful attention to cleanliness. Besides, beyond health reasons, clean makeup brushes actually improve the way makeup sits on your face, so double bonus! With this in mind, read on for the ultimate step-by-step guide to cleaning your makeup brushes.
This is a loaded question as you should really wash your makeup brushes after every use. However, as a lot of us don’t really have the time to wash them every single day, I suggest washing your makeup brushes at least weekly to every two weeks, especially if you put on makeup daily.
It’s worth noting that animal bristle brushes tend to need washing more often. That’s because the cuticle on these types of bristles is open, allowing it to store more product and bacteria. Plus, animal bristles are more likely to malt onto your face the more you wash them. For these reasons, it’s better to switch to synthetic makeup brushes if you can.
There are a ton of brush cleaning options on the market and for the most part, they will all do the trick. But for personal use, I prefer good old shampoo, conditioner or dishwashing liquid. These options are often cheaper and can be found around the house. They’re also much gentler on the bristles compared to a chemical cleaner.
Sassy Tip: Avoid shampoo and conditioners which have a specific colour treatment – these will damage the bristles.
You can typically get away with cleaning makeup brushes that are used for powder products together in groups of two or three. For those makeup brushes that are used for liquid products, I recommend cleaning them individually. That’s because waxy formulations, such as lipstick and concealer, are often more stubborn to wash out.
Once you have your makeup brush in hand, follow the easy steps below:
- Wet your hands
- Add a drop of your chosen cleaner to one palm
- Wet your makeup brush in warm or cold water
- Swirl your makeup brush in the cleaner, mixing in circular motions until you get a good lather
- Run your makeup brush under the tap to wash off the cleaner
- Repeat all steps again until the water runs clean
- Dry off all excess water from your makeup brush using a towel
- Gently mould your makeup brush back to its original shape using your fingers or a clean mascara brush/spoolie
- Lie your makeup brush flat on a dry towel
- Leave to completely dry before next use
Sassy Tip: If you need to use your makeup brushes ASAP, you can blow dry them with a hairdryer. Just make sure to use a gentle heat setting and continuously move the hairdryer to ensure even distribution. If the heat is concentrated in one spot, the bristles may melt!