How To Clean Makeup Brushes and Sponges

Looking good does not stop at beautifying yourself, but starts at maintaining a proper hygiene. If you are using makeup brushes every day, it is important to clean them once a week because bacteria and leftover makeup can easily accumulate between the bristles and cause skin problems and infections if it is passed on to your face. Aside from keeping your brushes bacteria-free, regular cleaning also prevents mixing of colors and other beauty products especially if you multitask with your brush.

clean makeup brushes

Before we give the step-by-step instructions on how to clean makeup brushes, remember these important tips:

Don’t let the brush handle get wet. Only the bristles should be immersed in water or other cleaning products. Wetting the whole brush can damage the handle especially if you have wooden or bamboo-handled brushes.

Clean the brush depending on its type and function. Angled brushes should be cleaned by rubbing the bristles in a forward and backward motion, while tapered brushes should be cleaned by rubbing it in a circular motion. This maintains the original shape of the brushes.

Store your brushes properly. Aside from keeping it clean, your brushes should be stored properly whether you place it in a cup or in an organizer. This will maintain the quality and shape of the bristles, and it will make your brushes last for a long time whether they are high end or not.

clean makeup brushes


How To Clean Makeup Brushes

You will need: a flat dish, antibacterial liquid soap, olive oil, paper towels, cup, lukewarm water


Put a good amount of antibacterial liquid soap on the dish. The amount should depend on how many makeup brushes you are going to clean.

Mix a small amount of olive oil with the liquid soap. The olive oil will condition the bristles and make the leftover makeup residue come off easily. Don’t put too much olive oil, though, as this will make the bristles oily. Just a small amount is enough.

Put lukewarm water in the cup and wet the bristles. Make sure to keep the handle dry to avoid damaging it.

Dip the brush in the soap and olive oil mixture. Then gently but quickly brush it on the back of your hand back and forth as if you are applying makeup. The makeup residue will then come off.

Rinse the brush with lukewarm water. Brush it back and forth while rinsing as well, just in case there is still leftover makeup in the bristles.


clean makeup brushes

Place it on the paper towels after rinsing. Let the brush dry on the paper towels and move on to the rest of the makeup brushes.

After the brushes are partially dried, pour out the lukewarm water from the cup. Then put new lukewarm water in the cup and dip the brushes again. Squeeze out the bristles after dipping – if the water comes out clean after squeezing it, that means that the brush is already clean. Do this for the rest of the makeup brushes.

Wipe the bristles with paper towels. Squeeze out excess water from the brushes until the bristles are partially dry.

Air dry the brushes in a hanging position. Don’t lay them on a towel to air dry or wrap them up, since this will cause mildew. Instead, place the brushes so that the bristles don’t touch the surface of the table or counter. You can roll a face towel into a log shape, then lean the brushes on the towel with the bristles facing a little bit upward. Alternately, you can just place the brushes on the tabletop with the bristles hanging on the edge of the table, and not touching the surface. This will keep the bristles from becoming deformed or falling out.

Leave the brushes to dry overnight. You can place them near the window where the breeze can slowly dry it. Don’t place it under direct sunlight, and don’t blow-dry your makeup brushes. Applying heat to the brushes will affect the quality of the bristles and might cause it to fall out.


Try Out These Products

You can also use these cleaning products in place of olive oil and liquid soap:

MAC Brush Cleanser. This cleanser is an all-in-one product that cleans and disinfects your brushes. It doesn’t need water too – just dip the bristles in the cleanser and clean it out.

Sephora Collection Dry Clean Instant Dry Brush Cleaner Spray. If you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, you can use this spray to clean your brushes (just like dry shampoo for your hair). But don’t depend on it to disinfect the brushes and remove all makeup residue. Nothing compares to a good old wet cleansing.

BareMinerals Well-Cared For Brush Conditioning Shampoo. Just like a shampoo and conditioner for your hair, this product will soften and condition the bristles while keeping them thoroughly clean.

clean makeup brushes

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