How to Clean Makeup Brushes

Cleaning your makeup brushes is extremely important because dirty brushes can cause acne on your skin. Furthermore, unclean makeup brushes contain a number of nasty oils, dead skin, product and bacteria buildup. Let’s just learn how to clean makeup brushes, cause it’s super easy and quick to do!

Seeing as how none of us wants oils and dead skin being put back on our face, it’s worth going over some of the different ways to clean your makeup brushes.

So here are the ins and outs of cleaning your cosmetic brushes and making them last for years.

Taking Care of your Cosmetic Brushes

makeup brushesOnce a week (or more) you should give your brushes a good wash so they don’t have bacteria buildup, which, as we discussed at the outset, leads to acne breakouts. There are a few different ways to clean and maintain the health of your brushes, including using olive oil and a paper towel, a sponge, or the palm of your hand. After each use of your makeup brushes, wipe them off with an antibacterial wipe; this is best for brushes that come in contact with liquid cosmetics.

It’s ideal to wash your brushes every time you use them, but most of us don’t have time for this. So just make sure you wash all of your makeup brushes at least once a week like we mentioned before.

Your eyeliner and eyeshadow brush might need more attention because they come in close contact with your eyes. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to have two foundation brushes so that you can put them into a rotation. This way, you can use one when the other is dirty, and clean them both together once a week.

Cleaning Brushes with Olive Oil, Vinegar & Shampoo

Olive Oil

One very effective way to get your makeup brushes clean involves using olive oil.

  1. The first thing you need to do with this method is to pour a small amount of olive oil on a paper towel – or whatever you have – and, while using circular motions, rub your bristles in the oil to help break down the product caught inside of your brush.
  2. After you coat the bristles in oil, rinse your hand, and then apply a small dot of shampoo on your palm before continuing to work the soap into the bristles.
  3. Turn your faucet on and use the water to rinse the soap and oil out of your brush; keep the water from the ferrule by not getting the handle wet.

There are also makeup brush cleansers available for purchase, or you can make your own. You can even skip the olive oil, and just use the shampoo if you’re worried about the oil being left on your bristles.


White vinegar is also an option for cleaning your makeup brushes, and here is how you do it!

  1. Get a clean glass jar or bottle that has a lid, and combine one-fourth cup of distilled white vinegar to a half cup of water. Now you can lessen the amount, but just keep the proportions the same.
  2. When you wash your brushes, pour the mixture into a shallow bowl that won’t allow any liquid into the ferrule. Also, slowly stir the mixture with the bristles of your brush.
  3. When the solution gets dirty, you can empty the shallow bowl, and refill it with more of the water and vinegar. Repeat this cycle until the brush is clean, then rinse the bristles with cool or warm water.

Avoid using hot water on your makeup brushes because it can cause them to frizz. You can also leave your brushes to sit in the mixture bristles-down, handle up for a few minutes before working the product out.


  1. When you’re using shampoo to cleanse your brushes, the first step is to wet the bristles.
  2. Hold your brushes with the bristles down under cool or warm running water, while keeping the water from the handle and the ferrule.
  3. Now put a pea-sized amount or less of shampoo on your palm, and then rub the bristles using circular motions, or whatever feels natural.
  4. Rinse the mild shampoo from your brush frequently while holding the brush facing down, and use more shampoo if necessary until the water runs clear.

Drying Makeup Brushes

After you cleanse your makeup brushes, re-shape them into their natural shapes while squeezing any of the excess water out of them as you do so. Then lay them on their side on a towel to dry. This could take all night or longer, and it’s a good idea to wait to use your brushes until they have completely dried.

You might even be tempted to use a blow dryer to speed up the drying process; however, this is a really bad idea. You don’t want to use a blow dryer because it will cause the bristles to become frizzy and shapeless. Instead, try using Sigma’s Dry n’ Shape since it will help dry your brush while also holding the brush’s shape.

Above all, make sure your brushes are clean because doing so will help keep your skin clear of pimples and other skin problems! And keep in mind that you don’t have to create your own makeup brush cleanser at home. After all, there are plenty of makeup brush cleansers available for purchase online, at your beauty supply or in drugstores.

By the way, is your makeup bag clean? If not, find out how to clean your makeup bag and get rid of those nasty germs!

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