Skin & Body

So Fresh and So Clean Clean Makeup Brushes

My, oh my. I clean my makeup brushes regularly but doing a little research on this topic I’m already becoming obsessive compulsive about it. I could easily turn this post into a traumatic, fear inducing experience but I shall refrain. Why? Because I know most of you are going to be curious enough to google what can be found on your brushes if they aren’t cleaned regularly and for those who won’t I’ll let you continue to be married to your blissful denial.

What I will say is that makeup brushes can be a playground for bacteria, and yes, that means if you’re using them on your face daily that you’re putting this bacteria back onto your face. If that’s not enough to make your skin crawl then you’re cray cray. Every time one uses their brushes, natural oils and bacteria transfer onto them and if you’re using them on clients that means you’re transmitting germs to other people. Sharing germs! I just got a sudden urge to bathe immediately.

What can regular brush cleaning do for you?

  • Remove old makeup
  • Remove dirt and debris
  • Remove dead skin cells
  • Remove bacteria
  • Remove oils
  • Helps to make brushes soft and supple again

The burning question— How often should we be cleaning our makeup brushes? Drum roll please. Ladies and some gentlemen, once a week at minimum! This will help to keep the nasty germs away and also help maintain your brushes lifespan. What to clean them with? The good news is you don’t have to go spend a fortune on fancy cleaning products, that is unless you want to. MAC cosmetics has a great brush cleaner if you’re wanting to use something designed specifically for brush cleaning.

How do I clean my brushes? This is what you’ll need:

Step 1: We can have lots of fun. Oh wait, that’s the first step for NKOTB. My bad. Let’s try this again.

Step 1: Wash those brushes! How? Wet sponge with lukewarm water and wet your first brush, saturating the brush completely. Squeeze a small amount of baby shampoo onto the sponge and in a circular motion swirl the makeup brush on the sponge working up a lather. Rinse the brush with lukewarm water. Feel the bristles on the brush while rinsing to make sure the shampoo is thoroughly rinsed out. Your brush should feel clean when finished, not slippery or slimy. Squeeze out excess water and lie brush on paper towel to dry. *Tip: Wash your brushes at night or right after use. It’ll give them tons of time to dry before you need them again.

Step 2 (Optional): This step is only needed for brushes that are heavily embedded with makeup. Distribute a small amount of olive oil onto a piece of paper towel and in a circular motion swirl the brush into it (do not wet the brush beforehand- oil and water don’t mix!). Make sure to not use too much oil because you don’t need much, just enough to break down the makeup on the brush. When finished clean as you normally would. (Step 1)

Think you’re done? Wrong! It’s not just about the bristles folks.

Step 3: Time to clean the handle. It’s also in the throws of bacteria since your hands transfer the same germs. To clean, simply pour a little rubbing alcohol onto a paper towel and polish the handle of your brush. Not only have you cleaned the handle, you’ve also disinfected it.

Step 4 (Optional): I’ve never had to do this myself but if after washing your brushes feel stiff, take a small amount of conditioner and gently rub into the bristles. Rinse in lukewarm water and lay flat to dry. Brushes should feel luxurious against your skin and this will help the bristles to feel soft again.

That’s it! It’s not hard and it doesn’t take long. Is it annoying and tedious? Heck yes. Do we wish there was a miracle brush that never dirtied and always stayed soft like a babies bottom? Heck yes. Until that miracle happens wash your brushes friends. Your face will thank you.



  • Alexandra November 13, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    I wish I had seen this earlier this week…I just bought some makeup brush cleaner from Sephora! It worked really well, but I have a feeling it has a billion more chemicals than I probably need. I am definitely going to try this 🙂

    xo Alex


  • beautyjunket November 13, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Oh no! I only posted it today, wish I had sooner for your sake. Give it a try and let me know what you think 🙂


  • Debi November 13, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Confession time. Until reading this article I had never cleaned my brushes. OK. I can hear your gasp of horror. Now to try to justify this I don’t use them a lot, but obviously even a little old makeup must not be good. So thanks to this article I have just finished cleaning ALL my make-up bushes. Thanks so much beautyjunket for showing me my errors and the ways to rectify them ♥


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