How to Clean Makeup Brushes Like a Pro

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The Best Way To Clean Makeup Brushes

Full disclosure: I don’t think there’s one way to clean makeup brushes.  But – if you’re like me, you either have one brush per feature or one super brush that does it all.  No matter how many brushes you have, it’s important to keep them fresh and bacteria free as you would any other hygienic product.  In this blog post we’ll explore how often, why and how I have figured out the best way to clean makeup brushes is for me.  Feel free to post the best way you wash makeup brushes in the comments so readers can learn from your experiences too!

How Often Should I Wash My Makeup Brushes?

You should be washing your makeup brushes after every use.  Yep! That seems like a lot of work and I’m guilty of not following this regimen.  However, if you think about what you’re putting on your face and how many points you use the brush for, this thinking makes sense.

Another reason to wash your brushes more frequently is that they’ll last longer.  The longer product such as foundation sits on your brush, the harder it is to remove and it could affect the way the bristles are shaped.

However, if you can’t wash your brushes every day, I would say every 3 uses or more will do.  I’m guilty of being a weekend warrior at times and set aside either Saturday or Sunday to wash everything in one shot.  I’m going to try and improve on the frequency in which I am washing the brushes and take my own advice from this blog post!

What is the Best Way to Clean Makeup Brushes?

My technique for the best way to clean makeup brushes is a 5 step process.  Certainly, you can wash them quickly and it doesn’t need to be a complicated process but I have learned over the years that this is the best way to clean makeup brushes for myself. 

Here’s what you’ll need to be successful in cleaning your makeup brushes: 

  • Running Tap Water
  • Makeup brush spray cleanser (such as xxx)
  • Towel for drying
  • Silicon/Plastic brush texture pad (optional)

Here is how I clean my makeup brushes:

Wet the actual brush – It is important to wet your brush first so the water and the brush cleaner can mix together on the actual brush.

Spray the brush 2 – 3 times with the spray cleanser and let sit for 1 min.

how to clean makeup brushes

Swirl brush either on your hand or on your makeup pad to allow the texture to remove the built up product .

Rinse and gently squeeze out excess water while maintaining the shape of the brush.

how to wash makeup brushes

Re-shape and lay flat to dry on a hand towel.  You may want to flip over the brushes part way through the drying process (i.e. every 5 hours), so they don’t dry funny.  Alternatively, you can dry them upside down if you have that type of drying rack. 

how to clean makeup brushes

How do I wash a beauty sponge like a Beauty Blender?

The Beauty Blender or your favourite makeup sponge is a bit trickier.  Beauty Blender SephoraThis one I DEFINITELY wash after every use, more specifically because I hate that sticky feeling the Beauty Blender gets when you apply foundation.

Beauty Blender has a TON of their own products for cleaning which I’ll list below.

There are also alternative ways on how to clean a beauty blender:

  1. Microwave technique
  2. Charcoal cleanser stick with textured makeup pad

How to Use the Microwave to Clean and Disinfect Your Beauty Blender

The microwave will heat you beauty blender to a higher heat than your normal faucet would and therefore, kills bacteria.

Full disclaimer: Your Beauty Blender or makeup sponge will be HOT, HOT, HOT!  When you take it out of the microwave and squeeze it you MUST run it under COLD water after waiting at least 10 minutes.  Here are the directions:

  1. Fill a small bowl with water and liquid soap (preferably dish soap).
  2. Place your Beauty Blender in the bowl and set it to 1 minute on high.
  3. Take the bowl out of the microwave using OVEN MITTS – it will be REALLY HOT!
  4. Let stand 10 minutes.
  5. Squeeze excess water out while running cool water so that you don’t burn your hands ONLY after you’ve let it sit for awhile. 
  6. Repeat if necessary.

How do I keep my makeup brushes clean in between switching colours?

If you want to create a smokey eye look and use black eyeshadow for example, you want to be able to eliminate that colour before changing to a lighter one.  Some people only have 1 brush for blending so it can be tricky to ensure you’re not blending colours that are too dark vs. light.

There’s this nifty tool that is used at Sephora called the “Colour Switch”.  It’s basically one side of velcro with a sponge pad underneath. Sephora Colour Switch Review

You swirl your brush for about 3 – 5 seconds and the velcro pad removes the colour from your brush.  This way, you don’t need to wet your brush if you only have one and you’re doing a dramatic eye.

It is also easy to clean with soap and water and I recommend getting the smaller one since you can basically use it for any brush.

The Final Thought on the best way to clean makeup brushes:

There’s really no exact science! Find out what works for you.  The tips I provided above are really MY version of the best way to clean makeup brushes but it may not work for everyone.  Also, there are a lot of new innovative cleaning products out there that may be a better way to clean your beauty tools.

However you do it, make sure you’re being hygienic and follow a regimen so you can avoid any unwanted visitors in the form of bacteria.

Let me know how you wash your makeup brushes and if you think any of these makeup brush washing techniques will work for you.


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