Every flawless makeup look requires the perfect brush. But did you know your favorite makeup tool is harboring tons of breakout-causing dirt, bacteria, and oil?
Most experts recommend you should clean your brushes at least once a week, especially if you are using them every day. Not only does this regular cleaning prevent bacteria buildup on your brushes, but it also results in better makeup application. A clean brush means you won’t be getting remnants of yesterday’s bronzer in your highlight compact or accidentally ruining your natural eye look with leftover dark eyeshadows from last weekend’s bold eyeshadow palette.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Makeup Brushes
- Wet your brushes with warm water.
- Place a drop of cleanser into the palm of your hand (or if you have a spray cleaner, spray directly onto the brush).
- Gently massage the bristles into your palm.
- Rinse the brush thoroughly until all of the excess makeup is removed. Be sure to keep the area where the brush head connects to the handle away from the water. Because the bristles are glued to the base, and the water and the cleanser can weaken the glue, the bristles can come loose.
- Squeeze out the remaining moisture with a clean towel.
- Using your palm or the towel, gently massage the brush so that the brush head reforms back into its original shape.
- Let the brush dry with its bristles hanging off the edge of a counter. This will allow it to dry thoroughly and in the correct shape. Avoid drying your brushes on a towel, as it can cause them to deform or mildew. Additionally, don’t put them back into your brush holder immediately after washing them; drying them with the bristles facing up can cause the glue to disintegrate and the bristles to fall out.
Best Makeup Brush Cleaner
NYX Makeup Brush Cleaner ($15)
This cleanser option from NYX offers a non-abrasive formula while providing thorough brush cleaning.
Consider yourself a bit of a makeup guru? This professional-grade cleaner allows for quick drying and is rinse-free. A favorite of makeup industry professionals, it can be used on both natural and synthetic fibers, and it doesn’t leave an oily residue.
Dermatologist tested, this hypoallergenic makeup brush cleaner from EcoTools is made with plant-based ingredients and is free of parabens and petroleum-based products. Plus, it’s packaged in a 40% post-consumer recycled plastic bottle.
This gentle and nourishing brush cleaner not only washes away dirt, oils, makeup, and other debris from your brushes but it also helps keep your brushes in excellent condition. Its unique ingredients condition your brushes’ hair or fibers to help them keep their shape and have a soft finish.
Glo Spray Brush Cleaner ($20)
If you prefer a spray-on cleanser when washing makeup brushes, this cleaner may be for you. The popular formula helps diminish bacteria and oils while conditioning both natural and synthetic bristles. Avoid the extra rinsing with this product, which allows you to spray the cleanser directly onto the brush and then wipe clean.
This brush cleaner and bowl set simplifies the makeup brush cleaning process even more. Complete with a spindle, spin device, and Magic Bowl, it gets your bushes cleaned, dry, and ready for use faster than traditional cleaners. The battery-powered device cleans, rinses, and dries your brushes in just 30 seconds.
While more expensive than your typical cleanser-and-water brush cleaning process, if you are someone who uses a lot of makeup brushes in your routine, this high-tech device may be for you. It cleans up to 12 brushes simultaneously and works on both natural and synthetic bristles. The tool completes a wash cycle and three rinse cycles, saving you time and work while automatically restoring your brushes to like-new condition.
DIY Makeup Brush Cleaner
To save some money or for a more natural brush cleanser, try making your own at home. This recipe from Live Simply uses minimal ingredients and is an easy way to get clean brushes without buying a brush cleanser.
- 1/8 cup of witch hazel
- 1/2 teaspoon of baby mild castile soap
- 1/4 cup of distilled water
- Optional: 1/4 teaspoon of a carrier oil, like grapeseed or olive oil
- Combine all the ingredients, adding in the order listed above, in a bottle or mason jar.
- Shake the bottle.
- Store the mixture in the fridge. It can be used multiple times to clean brushes.
Dirty makeup brushes can lead to clogged pores and breakouts. Luckily, it’s easy to clean makeup brushes with a cleanser, and there are plenty on the market to choose from for your unique needs and budget.
Now that your brushes are clean, it’s time to execute the perfect makeup look.