How Often Should You Clean Makeup Brushes?

Through proper care of your makeup brushes, you are not only preserving the life of your brushes, but you also are preserving the life of your makeup. You’re also helping to maintain a clear and attractive complexion!

Old makeup, dirt and debris, oils, bacteria, and dead skin cells can (and will!) build up in your brushes over time. A dirty brush will transfer these to your skin and to every cosmetic you touch with the brush. Not only can this nasty concoction create breakouts and contaminate your makeup, but also it could possibly cause a more serious infection.

Using dirty makeup brushes can also alter the color of your makeup and the way it applies to your skin. Have you ever tried applying your favorite mineral powder, only to find that it goes on with an orange hue or it applies a tad unevenly to your skin? A dirty makeup brush could be the culprit!

Need another reason to keep your brushes clean? Soft, lush, fluffy brushes! Applying your makeup with a soft, plushy brush is a sensual treat. Did you know that all that buildup on of old makeup, oil, and other debris on your brushes makes them feel rough and scratchy against your skin? If you have sensitive skin, cleaning your brushes will keep them feeling soft and not prickly.

General tips for your makeup brushes:

Makeup brushes with synthetic nylon bristles (like ours!) will harbor less bacteria than brushes made with animal hair. And, of course, no animals were harmed in the making synthetic makeup brushes, which is a bonus.

Cleaning your makeup brushes biweekly, and at a minimum monthly, is ideal. If you have acne breakouts or excess oil production, then you may find it helpful to wash your brushes weekly. If you use liquids or creams with any of your brushes, then it’s best to clean these brushes every day immediately after use.

Here is a method that I have found to be the best way to clean your makeup brushes:

  1. Rinse your brushes first with tepid water.
  2. Fill a large cup with tepid water and a few pumps of shampoo or a very gentle soap. (our All Natural Foaming Liquid Hand Soap works great!)
  3. Add a few of your makeup brushes at a time and slosh them around in the soapy water for about 30 seconds.
  4. Remove your brushes from the cup and continue to work the soapy water mixture into the brushes. (You may need to add a touch more soap.)
  5. Rinse your brushes thoroughly with tepid water until the water runs clear.
  6. Gently squeeze the excess water from your brushes.
  7. Lay brushes flat to dry overnight on a clean, dry towel.
  8. Repeat the process until you have cleaned all your makeup brushes. If the soapy water becomes murky (and it probably will) after cleaning your first few brushes, dump out the old water, and make new clean soapy water.

If you live locally, stop by our office to see our hygienic, synthetic-bristle makeup brushes.  Or better yet, schedule an appointment with me for a makeup consultation. I’ll create a customized makeup routine that matches your style and that highlights your facial features.  I’d love to help you.

MaLinda, Medical Aesthetician

My passion is helping people look and feel beautiful. I have more than nine years of experience in the skincare and cosmetics industry; having worked as a makeup artist, as a makeup and skincare product specialist for a high-end department store, and as an aesthetician.

I have a bachelor’s degree in English and history, but I have found my true calling in the world of skincare. I’ve been a licensed aesthetician since 2007. I love helping my clients achieve healthy, beautiful skin and teaching them how to get the results they’re looking for on a daily basis. Everyone is beautiful with unique attributes that make them special. Finding and highlighting these attributes in a person is my passion – and it’s what I love about my career.


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5 Responses to “How Often Should You Clean Makeup Brushes?”

  1. Devra October 17, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    Great blog very helpful-Mahalo. Never fails I always learn and pick up new habits for healthy skincare.

  2. Laura D. October 17, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    I’m the social media/web developer at a derm practice in Pasadena, CA and I’ve been on the lookout for a post just like this one from a reputable source to share with our followers. Many thanks, especially for the part about synthetic bristled brushes being more durable and carrying less bacteria.

  3. Lisa Myers October 18, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    I’m typically a “this brush is old and dirty so I’ll just throw is away” kind of person. But I’m willing to try anything that works!

  4. Lisa October 21, 2012 at 1:52 am #

    I’ve had so much trouble washing mine over the years that I’ve turned into a “buy a new one person.” I will have to try your method and see if helps. The brushes were never the same for me after washing – the shape seems to change.

  5. Cynthia Bailey MD October 22, 2012 at 7:57 am #

    Add a little conditioner to water, swish them and rinse them and see if that helps.