How to Clean Makeup Brushes

Brushes with different types of products can require slightly different cleaning methods, but generally these tips will keep your brushes clean and lasting. Scroll to the bottom of the post to follow along with our video tutorial!

  1. Soak your brushes generously under warm running water, leaving the base of the brush dry just above the metal part (also know as the ferrule). 
  2. After saturating the brush with water, put some eco-friendly dish washing detergent in the palm of your hand and swirl the brush in the soap in a circular motion.
  3. For gunkier brushes like foundation brushes, leave the soap on the bristles and set them aside to let the soap break down the oils a bit. You can also use a pair of dish washing gloves or a textured brush cleaning glove like Kristen’s to work out the buildup. If you don’t have either of these you can simply use your (clean!) fingers to ruffle and gently squeeze the bristles of the brush. 
  4. Keep rinsing and swirling the bristles with soap against your palm until all the makeup is removed and the water runs clear. 
  5. Rinse out the soap with clean water, then gently squeegee the brush to remove excess water. 
  6. Lay the brushes flat on a towel to dry. 

Tips for Cleaning Makeup Brushes

  • When you set your brushes out to dry, form the bristles together at a point so that the brush dries in its natural shape – don’t let the bristles splay out.
  • Let your brushes dry overnight after cleaning them. Remember that synthetic brushes will always take longer to dry than animal hair brushes. 
  • For brushes that you use daily, wash them about once per week. For brushes you use more infrequently, washing them a couple times per month should do the trick. 
  • If you are washing your brushes regularly, there is no need to wash them individually. Rinse multiple at the same time for quicker cleaning!

What Not to Do

  • IMPORTANT: Do not let your brushes dry with the bristles facing up! In the same sense, don’t tip your brush upright when it is wet and/or when it has soap on it. This can break down the glue that holds the bristles and ferrule together. 
  • Avoid washing your brushes in extremely hot water – it will also break down the glue at the base of the brush.  
  • Be careful not to pull out the bristles of your brush when squeegee-ing the excess water out. Just squeeze them gently and let them air dry completely. 
  • Don’t use a conditioner on your brushes because it can leave the bristles with a filmy texture.
  • If you look up how to clean makeup brushes on Google, you will find a number of tutorials that use baby shampoo or coconut oil. We do not recommend this!! Baby shampoo is very drying and loaded with toxic ingredients that aren’t eco-friendly. Coconut oil can also break down the brushes and leave filminess like a conditioner would. 

Get Inspired! 

If you missed my first collaboration with Kristen, be sure to watch our video tutorial for makeup after 50! Let us know what you think of these tutorials in the comments, or tell us your requests for videos you’d like to see in the future. Head over to our YouTube channel to browse all of our free video tutorials, or visit our membership page to become a part of our growing community of creatives. See you soon! ~ Lia & Team