The Right Way to Clean Your Makeup Brushes, According to an Expert

If you’re wearing makeup on a regular basis, more likely than not, you’re probably using brushes with a bit of buildup on them. And as a result? Your brushes may not be able to give you the kind of finish that you're looking for. Worry not, though. In this case, knowing how to clean your makeup brushes properly will make all the difference. Not only will they feel as good as new, but you can also rest assured that by cleaning them regularly, they’ll last you for years.

How to Clean Makeup Brushes:


(Image credit: @NIKKIDEROEST)

To make sure you’re cleaning your brushes as efficiently as possible, we spoke to celebrity makeup artist Brooke Simons, for her expertise. "As a make up artist, I am vigilant with my brush cleaning routine and I clean my brushes after every use without fail. However, in my personal makeup kit I aim for every one to two weeks," she says on the subject of how often you should be cleaning your brushes. "Your skin is constantly changing, and if you get blemishes, you don't want that kind of bacteria hanging around on your brushes and being swept across your face."



As for cleaning her brushes, Simons swears by an unexpected cleanser—washing up liquid. "I have tried various brush cleansers, but I always go back to the same thing time and time again, which is dish soap. And my preference is the Platinum Fairy Liquid," says Simons. "For me, if I use something that isn’t as strong, it takes a hell of a lot longer to clean properly.


(Image credit: @NINAPARK)

Simons begins with a small ramekin and fills it with some warm water and the washing up liquid, then washes her brushes in order of use—starting with the hardest to clean brushes. "Foundation brushes are usually pretty tough, followed by blending brushes and anything that I use with cream products and powders. I’ll usually take a separate ramekin and leave some of the lip brushes in the product to sit so that it helps to break down any stubborn make up."

Once they've been soaked, she'll then rub the brushes in a gentle circular motion on her hand before rinsing them and repeating the process until the water runs clear. "I will do one more final, very careful rinse and then hold the brushes downwards with the brushe hairs at the bottom. If you turn your brushes upwards, the water can run downwards and cause damage and affect any glued parts on the brush handles," explains Simons.


(Image credit: @_HOLLYT)

The final step? Simons then makes sure that her brushes are re-shaped and ready to go: "I mould the shape of the bristles back into their original shape for drying, as this can change within the cleaning process. I then give them a wipe on a clean towel and place them horizontally to dry."

And while Simons is adamant that all you need are your hands, dish soap, a clean towel and a ramekin or two to clean your brushes (there's no need for any special cleaning tools or formulations) there is something extra that she suggests might be useful if you're in a rush. "If I'm on the go I will use 99% rubbing alcohol to clean my brushes," Simons suggests. "This isn’t my preference and I’m not a fan of the smell, however it does work and dries fairly quickly, so is a must in any emergency on-the-go situations!"


(Image credit: @JILLIANDEMPSEY)

Scroll down to see some makeup brushes to shop and keep in top shape.

Shop Makeup Brushes:

This post was originally published at an earlier time and has since been updated. 

Up Next: A Makeup Artist Just Showed Me How to Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes.

Mica Ricketts