Cleaning Make-Up Brushes

September 19, 2013

Cleaning Make-Up Brushes

Dirty brushes are totally gross. When you're putting something on your face every day it needs to be clean. Even if you're using the same products all week long, it's important to wash them. Your brushes are a party ground for bacteria and those little guys like to party hard. You wouldn't go all week without bathing (I hope) so why do you expect your brushes to?

Not only do brushes put things on your skin, they also pick things up.. y'know, like natural oils, which bacteria love. Dirty brushes mean bacteria is spread around the face, causing skin problems and possible infections. You know those breakouts you keep getting? Look no further than your unwashed beauty tools.

Cleaning Make-Up Brushes

Deep cleaning your brushes at least once a week means any festering bacteria gets removed. I also recommend storing used brushes separate from unused ones, this helps avoid contaminating otherwise clean brushes. It also makes for less work come the end of the week. If you can't remember which brushes are clean and which ones are dirty, you have to wash them all.

I take each brush individually, apply a little baby shampoo to the palm of my hand, swill the dry brush into the soap, and gradually add a little water at a time to build a lather and thoroughly cleanse. I repeat this process until the water runs clear and I can see the bristles are clean. I do this over a sink using free flowing water - don't bathe your brushes in a bowl of water.

Once the brushes are clean I gently squeeze any remaining water out and swill the brush against my palm once more to reshape the bristles. I lay a towel out in a place it won't get disturbed and lay the brushes on top to dry naturally.

Cleaning Make-Up Brushes

Washing your brushes once a week is the bare minimum but if you want to totally avoid bacteria being brushed all over your face you're better off being a little more regular with the beauty tool hygiene. It's a little much to expect cleaning every single day (seriously, who's got time for that?) but spot cleaning is super easy to do.

Spot cleaning is a great way to keep the bacteria at bay. I use either Bioderma Sébium H20 (for a more heavy duty, bacteria busting clean) or a simple diy tea tree toner (for a lighter clean). I also spritz tea tree toner over freshly washed brushes to add a little extra bacteria killing power.

Take a little of your chosen cleaner, dampen the brush using a spray, and swish the bristles against a cloth. Use something with a little texture such as a microfibre cloth or flannel as this will help pull the product from the bristles. Spot cleaning removes most of the product and should kill off at least some of the bacteria (it's better than nothing, right?)

You totally do not need "special" brush cleaning products to do this job. I use baby shampoo because it's cheap, it cleans brushes super well, and anything that is gentle enough to use near a babies eyes is good enough to clean my brushes.

Cleaning Make-Up Brushes

So.. how good are you at keeping your brushes clean?

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Join the conversation!

  1. Leannemariexo9/19/2013

    You've reminded me I need to clean my brushes this weekend! Thanks! I just use any shampoo I have in my shower. I should really invest in something specific to clean my brushes with!

    Leanne @ Leanne-Marie | Beauty, fashion & lifestyle. x x

  2. I can get pretty lazy when it comes to deep cleaning, I tend to wait until all my brushes are dirty and then wash them all at once. I do spot clean them often though and also have just started using a separate holder for dirty ones so I don't use one by accident. Never thought to use something like Bioderma, do you think the pink version would work just as well? :) xx

  3. Anya Cross9/19/2013

    I'm absolutely useless at brush cleaning, this is such a helpful post though! i need to get some baby shampoo x

  4. roshkud9/19/2013

    I don't use makeup enough to wash my brushes once a week, I do want to invest in a spot cleaner for my brushes though. I also don't keep my brushes out in containers as they can collect dust, I keep them in a makeup bag in a drawer :)

    Roshni’s Journey

  5. wOAH you still need to wash them. Bacteria breeds over time, even if you use them once and then don't pick them up again all week there's going to be a whole heap of bacteria on them.

    I'd prefer to have a bit of dust on my brushes than bacteria, so I keep them out in the open BUT both methods have their downsides.

  6. YES. None of this "special brush cleaning fluid" nonsense.
    Save your pennies and buy baby shampoo.

  7. Clean them more! Think of your skin!

  8. Absolutely. Either works really well. I like using the miceller waters for spot cleansing, diluted tea tree oil works just as well.

  9. Kurohana9/19/2013

    i dont really like powder products and i dont wear eye makeup except mascara so my brushes are still clean from not being used, but i do always take a wipe to my products after use

  10. I used to get serious breakouts on my chin but ever since I started cleaning my brushes once a week, changing the covers of the pillows twice a week and carrying a hand sanitizer at all times (my hands always seem to find their way to my face!) my chin hans been completely free of blemishes. Heaven!

    However, I am wondering where you buy your Bioderma products since I've been told that they're not available in Boots/Superdrug. I'm not from the UK but I will be in Scotland in a few weeks so I really wanted to get my hands on these products.

    Thank you in advanced!

  11. Cleansing make-up brushes regularly TOTALLY makes a difference to the condition of your skin.

    I bought my Bioderma in bulk from France when I last visited. There are a couple of shops in London that stock in, however, you can buy it online from I believe.

  12. YES, cleaning the actual product themselves too is something I always do. A little wipe over and they're kept in fantastic condition. I don't know why people don't do this.

  13. Helena Sinclair9/23/2013

    Oh god, you've guilted me into going to clean my brushes RIGHT NOW. What is definitely a wild germ party is getting shut down. Thanks for the motivation!


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