The Importance Of Cleaning Your Brushes & How To Clean Them Properly

Hey guys!


So today I’m here to talk about the job most make-up lovers find really tedious.

Most of us avoid it in the hope that the issue will go away.


I see you blushing in shame!


But actually it is super important to wash your makeup brushes really often and groan all you want but you’ll thank me later! It gets less tedious the more that you do it because your brushes won’t be so dirty when you come to clean them but even when they don’t appear too dirty or even dirty at all, you should still give them that all important clean!


Why is it so important to clean your brushes?

Hygiene, hygiene, hygiene!

Working in a clinical environment means I’m already in the habit of practicing super good hygiene- I have to for my own health and the health of others around me. And while this nugget of information seems unimportant (Because what has a hospital got to do with make-up brushes?), it’s actually key to understanding why your brushes need a basic or deep clean about once a week.


As you all know, hospitals have to follow strict cleaning regulations for infection control purposes and health care or clinical workers have to follow a rigorous hand washing policy no matter where they work. Hospital cleaning involves cleaning items daily, even if they haven’t been used or if they’ve barely been used. Working in the labs, hands have to be washed constantly even when touching clean, sealed specimen bottles.


This is where the hospital and brush link becomes apparent.


Bacteria, viruses, infections, dead skin and other micro-organisms can all be airborne and settle on surfaces such as chairs, beds, the floor and even your makeup brushes.

But woah, my brushes don’t live in an area where they’re exposed to that stuff?!

Correct, but when you sneeze or cough or even flush the toilet, you send thousands of tiny micro-organisms, including viruses if you are unwell, through the air as an aerosol. So sneezing in your bedroom could be putting these germs onto your brushes and if you keep your brushes in the bathroom… well work that out for yourself!


But why is it important to clean them so often? Well, you need to get rid of those germs and dust and the makeup you use from your brushes. Unclean makeup brushes can lead to breakouts, bad application of makeup and in some more extreme cases, diseases and infections such as E-Coli, Conjunctivitis and Staphylococcal infections (The same bacteria that causes Superbug MRSA that can lead to flesh eating infections).

Grossed out enough to clean your brushes now?


How often should I clean my brushes?

At the very least, once every fortnight but ideally weekly. For visibly dirty brushes, a deep clean is more preferable and for less used or seemingly clean brushes, a less intense clean will suffice.

A basic clean could just be a quick wash in warm soapy water to clean the bristles and get off any dust or bacteria they may have picked up. If you’ve used a powder based product and the brush isn’t too dirty, this will do the trick too.

But for creamy products and super dirty brushes, a deeper clean is in order.


So how do I deep clean my brushes?

It’s actually really easy and can be really cheap to buy the necessary supplies in the first case. For a full step by step, just keep reading!


Time Needed: 30-60 minutes depending on how dirty your brushes are or how many you have

Items Needed: Water, Brushes, Anti-Bacterial Brush Shampoo, Cleaning Mat/Mitt/ETC, Towel


Most makeup brands have some form of brush shampoo. Some are cheaper than others so here are some that  I have found, ranging from super affordable to a little more luxurious.


Makeup Revolution Pro Hygiene Anti-Bacterial Brush Shampoo (£5 for 200ml)

NYX Makeup Brush Cleaner (£12 for 250ml)

Sigma Beauty SigMagic Brushampoo ($15 for 150ml)

Real Techniques Brush Cleanser (£7.49 for 150ml)


Whether you have a handheld brush cleaner or a mat is down to personal preference and again, most brands have something for cleaning brushes.


Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette (£12.99)

Makeup Revolution Pro Cleanse Brush Tool (£4.99)

Sigma Spa Brush Cleansing Gloves ($39)

Sigma Spa Express Brush Cleaning Mat ($25)


In this tutorial, I’ll be using the Makeup Revolution Pro Hygiene Anti-Bacterial Brush Shampoo and a handheld brush cleaner from PoundLand that is identical to the Pro Cleanse Brush Tool by Makeup Revolution.


Step 1: Prep

So first, set aside about an hour to clean your brushes. Decide where to do it and make sure you won’t be in the way or have people in your way. It can be good to do this outside so the brushes dry quicker but a bathroom/kitchen sink will suffice.

My brushes have been neglected for too long…

Gather up all your brushes (as you can see mine are filthy) and lay a towel somewhere flat so you can lay your brushes to dry. Fill up a small jug or pot with clean warm water for rinsing and get your shampoo and tools ready!

My tool and shampoo


Step 2: Deciding an order

This may seem trivial but it will make your job slightly easier. Start with your cleanest brushes so if any residue comes off in the clean water bath, it’s very minimal rather than potentially lots of product.


Step 3: Shampooing your brushes

There’s two ways you can do this. Either by putting a small blob onto the tool or onto the brush itself. Either works but I prefer putting it onto the tool.

Blobbed and ready to go!

Wet your brush slightly first before starting to lather or putting the shampoo on. It doesn’t have to be soaking but it helps build up a good lather.

Begin to swirl your brush around on the tool or mat, at first without any water. Don’t be too harsh or too gentle but use force enough to know the entire head of your brush will be clean.

The more bubbles the better!


Step 4: Rinsing your brushes

Once you’re happy that your brushes are thoroughly shampooed, run some warm water and keep swirling your brush along the pattern until all the shampoo is gone and the water runs completely clear.

Then, quickly swirl the brush around in the jug of clean warm water and press or squeeze out the excess water.


Step 5: Drying your brushes

Lay the shampooed, rinsed and squeezed brush onto the towel to dry and carry on cleaning the rest of your brushes.

Laid out to dry


Once all your brushes are cleaned, you can towel dry the bristles to speed up the drying process and leave them to dry the rest of the way naturally, or you can use a hair dryer.

Using a hair dryer is better for fluffy brushes because I find that you can really fluff them up by running your thumb through the bristles as you dry them. I’ve found that this can actually make them softer and not feel too harsh on the skin afterwards.

Dry those bristles! (Excuse the PJs)

When using the hair dryer, leave them afterwards for about and hour to properly make sure they are dry before storing them.


Step 6: Storing your brushes

If you have sleeves for your brushes, put those on but if not don’t worry. I store my brushes upright in a mesh container and put them on the top shelf of my makeup storage. If you can, store them in a cupboard or somewhere less likely to be exposed to dust etc but definitely not in the bathroom! Even if you do your makeup in there, take your brushes in separately!


So that’s how I clean my brushes and make sure they’re super hygienic. Suffering with dry skin and other skin problems, I am much more susceptible to getting infections due to having open wounds, even though really small. If you have eczema or another skin condition, you should be extra careful with brush hygiene and I know this is annoying but your skin will thank you for your consideration!



Lots of Love,

Melanie-Jessica x



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5 thoughts on “The Importance Of Cleaning Your Brushes & How To Clean Them Properly

  1. Love it! I heard youre not suppoed to used a hair dryer because the heat can melt the glue?
    What are the Makeup Revolution Flex Brushes like, i noticed you have one and have been debating whether to get one or not?xox

    1. I use the hair dryer briefly and mainly on a low heat just because it fluffs them up but I’ve not suffered glue issues yet… as for the flex brush, I don’t own one yet but that was probably my Primark Foundation brush 🙂 x

      1. Ahh okay, i will try this then because some of my brushes take almost 2 days to dry!
        God damn, sorry! I thought it was the flex brush. I really want to try them though! What are the Primark brushes like?Xo

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