Beauty How to Beauty Makeup

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

January 21, 2014


Makeup brushes are expensive buggers, and while you need to clean them to keep them bacteria free, cleaning them correctly will ensure that you get to enjoy them for years!

I’ve had some of my brushes for a good few years, and I’ve always looked after them. So, today I thought I’d share my brush cleaning ritual with you guys.

I hardly ever use makeup brush cleaner. Firstly, I think it’s a bit of a waste, and I much prefer to give my brushes a proper clean with shampoo and water! Plus, I find that makeup brush cleaners often leave my brushes feeling stiff, which doesn’t blend my makeup well at all.

Having said that, I do use isopropyl alcohol to clean really dirty brushes (like when I’ve used hectic pigments or gel liners) or when I’m travelling or doing makeup for shows since the whole shampoo method takes way longer.

Ideally you should wash your brushes daily, or at the very least once a week. I usually give mine a big ol wash once a week, but I do have quite a few brushes, so I generally use them once or twice before washing.


Step 1: I clean my brushes at the kitchen sink and use this silicone glove as well as a little shampoo. I apply a little shampoo directly onto the glove (or you can use your hand – works just as well).


Step 2: I dip my dirty brushes into running water and then swirl them around in the shampooed glove to remove all excess product. When it comes to eye brushes, I have a lot, so I generally wash a couple at the same time.


I use the other side of my glove to wash my face brushes since it has slightly longer bristles. This makes it a little easier to loosen product from the brush.


Step 3: After I’ve removed all residue product, I rinse off my brush under the faucet until the water runs clear.

Step 4: After I’ve finished washing all my brushes, I take a tea towel and just dry them, twisting the bristles gently to squeeze out the water, and also shape my brushes.


Step 5: Last step! I place all my brushes flat on another tea towel and just leave them to dry. Usually overnight, but the face brushes often take longer to dry completely.


TIP: If I want my brushes to dry quicker, and I generally do this for my eye brushes, after I’ve finished washing them, I place them on the windowsill with the window cracked open and in the morning they are ready for me to use.

Some other brush cleaning tips

  • Never soak your brushes since this may loosen the glue that holds them together
  • Never pull aggressively on the brush bristles. Remember they are attached to the handle with glue, and pulling too aggressively can force the bristles to fall out

I hope this post helps and inspires you to clean your makeup brushes.

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  • Hi Dim, where did you get that silicone glove?? LOVE this post!!

    • Hey Cam! Glad you enjoyed this post πŸ™‚
      Believe it or not, I got the glove from a pet shop! It’s the “Rubber Glove” by a brand called Mikki. It’s pretty cool – paid R135 and it works wonders.

      Sigma do a Brush Cleaning Glove for $35, but IMO any silicone glove (even ones you find in homeware stores) will do the trick.

      I found a link to the Mikki one on a local online pet shop for even cheaper – R112

      • Mrs Peri

        Hi I bought mine from a pet supply store in Jhb for R190! Ouch, but so worth it as I haven’t been able to find a similar one anywhere.

  • Vicky

    You have so many brushes!! I love the glove idea…pet shop hey? What a great idea.

    • Lol Vicky! I do have a lot of brushes (and that’s not even all of them!). But in my defence, I did a makeup course last year and used them in classes and at shows πŸ™‚