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How To Clean Your Makeup Brushes

by Ané Auret 4 min read

How to clean your makeup brushes at home best ways to clean your makeup brushes what to use to clean makeup brushes How often should you clean makeup brushes Ané Flawless Finish Makeup Brushes

There are several ways of cleaning your makeup brushes. The most important thing is to find the best way for your personally so that it fits easily into your routine.

Cleaning your makeup sponges, the inside of your makeup bag, lash curlers and tweezers are also important and shouldn't be left behind.

Personally I clean my makeup brushes with a silicone/rubber cleansing mat (or the palm of my hand) and a little baby shampoo, but you could also invest in an electronic brush cleaner as an alternative option.  This certainly cuts down on the drying time, but I prefer the old school way of washing by hand. 

*Never share your makeup brushes or applicators.  


1. Cleaning Makeup Brushes with Soap or Shampoo 

  • Create a mixture of a little bit of anti-bacterial soap, shampoo, or baby shampoo and warm water. Some people prefer to use washing up liquid. Adding a little bit of olive oil to the shampoo / soap may help dissolve the grime and dirt a little it easier - but make sure to only use the smallest amount so it doesn't leave a residue on your brush hair. 
  • Lightly swirl the wet brush into the soap/shampoo and water, rinsing and re-dipping until the bristles are totally clear.
  • Rinse with clean water and carefully squeeze out the water. Don't pull on the bristles, only squeeze lightly to make sure all soap and water is removed. 
  • Reshape your brushes before setting out to dry. Use your palm and fingers to shape the wet brush hairs to its original form. Once they are dry they may need an extra little bit of fluffing too. 
  • Spread out your brushes on a cloth on the edge of a worktop or sink so they can dry out properly. It will be ideal to have them in a warmer room rather than a cold, dark and damp bathroom so they can dry easier. 
  • Remember to wipe the handles clean too.  I just use one my Ané Double Sided Face Cloths for this little job. 

*To save time I often wash 2-3 brushes together but bundling together in my hand, especially the eye brushes - it's just a little quicker and is just as effective. 


2.  Using a Cleansing Mat  

I love using a rubber / silicone cleansing mat to clean my brushes - you can easily get these on Amazon.  It just means a bit more friction to swirl your brushes around on instead of using the palm of your hand. 

Using a little baby shampoo and a cleansing mat is my preferred way of cleansing my makeup brushes.  You could also use a dedicated makeup brush gel or cream cleanser - it really depends on your personal preference. 


3.  Using an electronic brush cleaner and dryer

There are several versions of these electronic brush cleaners on the market. They work with a centrifugal spin technology that cleans and dries your makeup brushes and can be a super quick way to speed up the process.  I'll admit that I've never tried one - I prefer my baby shampoo and cleansing mat for now. 


4.  Quick Clean in between uses / remove product while using your brushes 

You can use an antibacterial spray to sterilise your brushes in between uses or to get rid of excess product, ie. while you're creating an eye look and you have too much pigment on your brush.  Just spritz a few short burst then swirl it on a tissue or paper towel to rub off the excess product.


5. How to clean your makeup sponge / beauty blender 

  • Gently squeeze your sponge under running water until it’s fully wet.
  • If you’re using a bar of soap, simply rub it in your hands until it produces a soapy lather. If you’re using a liquid soap/shampoo, apply a small amount onto the sponge.
  • Rub or massage the soap into the blender. Make sure the sponge absorbs the soap.
  • Squeeze and rinse until the sponge is clean.
  • Set your sponge aside and let it air dry.


6. Mistakes To Avoid When Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes

1. Submerging and / or soaking in water. Soaking the handles will damage and dissolve the glue used between the bristles and the brush handle and lead to brush shedding.

2. Using very hot or boiling water. This could also affect the bonding between bristles and the handle and cause shedding. Lukewarm water is best.

 3. Drying incorrectly. Lay your brushes flat over the sink, or at a downward angle - or if you can hand them up with the brush heads pointing downwards. Avoid hot hair dryers and give yourself enough time for your brushes to be dry the next day. The bigger brushes especially don’t always dry overnight when the temperatures are cooler. 

4. Not having a regular routine to clean your makeup brushes.  Cleaning your brushes should happen at least weekly, with your main face brushes ideally every 2-4 days.  When you're cleaning regularly your brushes will be much easier and quicker to clean - and your skin will be happier too! 


If cleaning your makeup brushes seem just a little too much of a chore, please do check out '3 Reasons Why Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes Is So Important' .

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