How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Taking care of your brushes will not only prove cost-effective in the long run, but will also give you a more flawless complexion and overall makeup application.

Cleaning brushes is one of the most crucial parts of your beauty regimen. Not washing your brushes is like not washing your face! When you’re using brushes, bits of makeup, oil, dirt, and bacteria adhere to the bristles. If your brushes aren’t cleaned properly, you will be reapplying all these germs with your next makeup application, which will result in clogged pores, unwelcome breakouts, and damaged brushes. Keep in mind that by cleaning your brushes, you will also be protecting your investment. Good quality brushes can be quite costly, and cleaning them properly will prolong their lifespan.

Here’s how. It’s easy!

There are two main techniques used to clean brushes: spot cleaning and deep cleaning.

Spot cleaning This method should be used every time you use your brushes.

Deep cleaning – This is a more intense cleaning and should be done weekly.  Keep in mind that brushes take a while to dry, so clean them after you’ve completed your makeup application or the night before you’ll need your brushes next.


You will need:

  • Daily Brush Cleaner- I recommend using the Sephora Daily Brush Cleaner (Sephora, $8.50). It thoroughly cleans the brushes without drying them out.
  • Paper Towel


All you need to do is spray the brush cleaner onto the paper towel and swirl the brush in circular motions on the paper towel until it’s clean. Remember, you can always add more brush cleaner if you need to.


You will need:

  • Dish washing soap
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • A plate
  • A sink
  • Brush guards (more on that, in a bit)


  1. Mix 2:1 parts of antibacterial dish washing soap and extra virgin olive oil in a plate. The dishwashing soap will remove all the makeup, dirt, and dust, sanitizing the brushes at the same time. However, it will also strip the bristles of any oils and dry them out. That’s where olive oil comes in! By adding olive oil, you will recondition the hair on the brush, making it soft and fluffy once again.
  2. Next, dip the brush into the mixture you just made.  
  3. Then, swirl the brush in circular motions in the palm of your hand, working up a lather. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, you can also use the Spa Brush Cleaning Glove from Sigma Beauty (, $39) instead of your palm.
  4. Rinse the brush under lukewarm water. Make sure the water isn’t hot, as it can damage your brushes. Also, be sure that the water reaches only the brush hairs and not the metal part of the brush between the bristles and handle (also known as the ferrule), as this can cause the glue to break apart and bristles to fall out. Once the water runs clear, squeeze out the excess water.
  5. Now it’s time to dry the brushes. Take a paper towel and blot out the excess water and wipe the brush. Don’t use a regular towel, since it will leave lint on the brushes.  Always dry your brushes with bristles down. Drying your brushes with the bristles standing up will force the water to seep down, and this will loosen the glue that’s holding the bristles together.
  6. Shaping the brushes is a very important step. The best way to get the perfect shape is by using a Brush Guard (Amazon, $9.20/pack of 8). A brush guard is a stretchy mesh you slip onto the brush that keeps the fragile bristles in place while they dry. Added bonus- the brush guard also protects the brushes against dust, dirt, and bacteria. Brush guards come in a variety of sizes to fit a multitude of different brushes. When you put the brush guard onto the brush, it should fit snugly; if it’s a loose fit, then it’s too big for the brush and you need a smaller-sized brush guard and vice versa.
  7. Once the brush guard is on, place all the brushes into a glass upside-down. Any excess moisture will drip out and the water will collect in the glass. You want to dry your brushes indoors, away from heat and direct sunlight.
  8. When the brushes are dry, remove the brush guard and you are done!

Cleaning your brushes properly has many benefits. Following these simple steps will sanitize your brushes and make them look brand new. This is how I clean my brushes – both personal and professional. Enjoy your “brand new” clean bacteria-free brushes. 😉


Rivky Kalman is a professional certified makeup artist based out of NY. She is a true artist using skill and passion to make you look like the best version of yourself. Follow her on instagram @glitterandgloss365. For inquiries email


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