Cleaning your makeup brushes regularly is one of the most essential yet often overlooked aspects of maintaining clear, healthy skin. Not only does it ensure flawless makeup application, but it also prevents bacteria buildup that can lead to breakouts and skin irritation. In this guide, we’ll explore the best practices for cleaning your makeup brushes, share expert insights, and provide practical tips to keep your skin and brushes in top condition.

Why Clean Makeup Brushes?

Prevent Bacteria Buildup

Makeup brushes can harbor a variety of bacteria, including those that cause acne and other skin issues. According to a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science, dirty makeup brushes can contribute to skin problems like breakouts and irritation.

Bobbi Brown, Makeup Artist & Founder of Jones Road Beauty, emphasizes, “Clean brushes are essential for healthy skin and flawless makeup application. Bacteria buildup on dirty brushes can cause breakouts and irritation.” (Source: Bobbi Brown Beauty Evolution)

Prolong the Life of Your Brushes

Regular cleaning helps extend the lifespan of your makeup brushes. High-quality brushes are an investment, and proper care ensures they remain effective and durable for years.

Lisa Eldridge, Makeup Artist and Author, states, “Regularly cleaning your makeup brushes not only helps to keep your skin clear, but it also extends the life of your brushes and helps them perform better.” (Source: Lisa Eldridge Make Up)

Improve Makeup Application

Clean brushes provide a smoother, more even makeup application. They help blend products seamlessly, avoiding streaks and patchiness.

Pat McGrath, Makeup Artist, asserts, “Clean brushes are a must-have for achieving a flawless makeup look. They help to blend your makeup seamlessly and prevent product buildup.” (Source: Pat McGrath Labs)

How Often Should You Clean Your Brushes?

The frequency of cleaning depends on how often you use your brushes. For daily makeup users, washing them weekly is advisable. Brushes used for liquid or cream products should be cleaned more frequently, ideally after each use, to prevent buildup and bacteria growth.

Mario Dedivanovic, Makeup Artist, advises, “Cleaning your makeup brushes should be a part of your weekly skincare routine. It’s just as important as washing your face.” (Source: Makeup by Mario)

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Makeup Brushes

1. Gather Your Supplies

You’ll need:

  • Gentle soap or brush cleanser
  • Lukewarm water
  • A clean towel
  • Brush cleaning mat (optional)

2. Wet the Bristles

Run the bristles of your brush under lukewarm water. Avoid getting water on the handle, as it can loosen the glue holding the bristles in place.

3. Apply Cleanser

Place a small amount of gentle soap or brush cleanser into the palm of your hand or onto a brush cleaning mat. Swirl the brush bristles in the cleanser, creating a lather.

4. Rinse Thoroughly

Rinse the brush under lukewarm water, ensuring all the cleanser is washed out. Repeat the lathering and rinsing process until the water runs clear.

5. Remove Excess Water

Gently squeeze out excess water from the bristles using a clean towel. Avoid pulling on the bristles.

6. Reshape and Dry

Reshape the bristles and lay the brush flat on a towel to dry. Ensure the bristles hang off the edge of a counter to maintain their shape and prevent mildew.

When I first started using makeup, I rarely cleaned my brushes, thinking it was an unnecessary step. Over time, I noticed my skin becoming more prone to breakouts and irritation. After learning about the importance of brush hygiene, I started cleaning my brushes weekly. The improvement in my skin health and makeup application was remarkable. My brushes also lasted longer, saving me money in the long run.

Advanced Cleaning Tips

Deep Cleaning for Brushes Used with Liquid Products

For brushes used with liquid foundations, concealers, or creams, a more thorough cleaning is necessary. Use a deep-cleaning brush cleanser or a gentle baby shampoo to ensure all product buildup is removed.

Use a Brush Cleaning Mat

A brush cleaning mat can make the process more efficient by providing a textured surface to help dislodge makeup residue from the bristles. Simply swirl the brush on the mat with some cleanser and rinse thoroughly.

Disinfect Brushes

To disinfect your brushes, consider using a brush sanitizing spray after cleaning. This step is especially important if you have acne-prone skin or are recovering from an infection.

Expert Insights

Rae Morris, Makeup Artist and Author, reminds us, “Don’t underestimate the importance of cleaning your makeup brushes. It’s a simple step that can make a huge difference in the health and appearance of your skin.” (Source: Rae Morris Makeup Masterclass)

Sir John, Celebrity Makeup Artist, adds, “Your makeup brushes are an investment. Take good care of them by cleaning them regularly, and they will last you for years.” (Source: Vogue)

Addressing Common Concerns

Will Cleaning My Brushes Too Often Damage Them?

Proper cleaning techniques won’t damage your brushes. Be gentle and avoid using hot water or harsh cleansers. Focus on maintaining the integrity of the bristles and the glue that holds them together.

What If I Have Sensitive Skin?

For sensitive skin, choose a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic cleanser. Rinse your brushes thoroughly to ensure no residue is left that could irritate your skin.

How Do I Know When It’s Time to Replace My Brushes?

Even with regular cleaning, brushes will eventually need to be replaced. Signs that it’s time for new brushes include:

  • Bristles that are falling out or shedding excessively
  • Bristles that have lost their shape or become frayed
  • Handles that are loose or damaged

Studies on Brush Cleaning and Skin Health

  1. Microbial Contamination of Makeup Brushes and Its Importance in Acne: This study found that makeup brushes can harbor a variety of bacteria, including those that can cause acne. (Source: Journal of Cosmetic Science)
  2. Cleaning and Disinfection of Makeup Brushes: This study evaluated the effectiveness of different cleaning methods for makeup brushes, including soap and water, brush cleansers, and sanitizing sprays. (Source: International Journal of Cosmetic Science)
  3. The Impact of Makeup Brush Hygiene on Skin Health: This study investigated the relationship between makeup brush hygiene and skin health, finding that dirty brushes can contribute to breakouts and other skin problems. (Source: Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology)
  4. Consumer Perceptions of Makeup Brush Cleaning Practices: This study examined consumer knowledge and behavior regarding makeup brush cleaning, highlighting the need for education on proper hygiene practices. (Source: International Journal of Cosmetic Science)


Regularly cleaning your makeup brushes is a simple yet crucial step in maintaining clear, healthy skin and ensuring flawless makeup application. By following these tips and incorporating expert advice, you can keep your brushes in top condition and enjoy the benefits of clean, well-maintained tools.

Dr. Michele Green, Board-Certified Dermatologist, emphasizes, “Using a dandruff shampoo even without dandruff can be beneficial for some. It can help maintain a healthy scalp and prevent future flare-ups.” (Source: Dr. Michele Green)

Dr. Francesca Fusco, Dermatologist, adds, “It’s important to listen to your scalp and hair. If you experience any dryness, irritation, or changes in your hair texture after using a dandruff shampoo, discontinue use and consult a dermatologist.” (Source: Prevention Magazine)

By taking good care of your makeup brushes, you’re not only investing in your tools but also in the health of your skin. Happy brushing!

With these insights and practical tips, you’re well-equipped to maintain clean, effective makeup brushes and enjoy healthier, clearer skin. Happy cleaning!

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Hello there! I'm Rebecca Silver, a beauty aficionado with a diploma from the International Beauty Institute. I've devoted my time to crafting articles that break down the world of beauty into easy, actionable tips. Whether it’s about nurturing your hair, caring for your skin, mastering makeup, or pampering your nails, I make sure each piece of advice is simple to follow and effective. My mission? To guide you through enhancing your natural beauty with routines that are tailored just for you. Beauty is a journey, and I'm here to navigate it with you—one fun, confident step at a time. Let's embrace and celebrate the beauty in all of us.Linkedin

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