Makeup Brush Cleaning Tips

Jacks Beauty Line

The inspiration for this post comes from Pinterest. Now, I love me some Pinterest. I’m on that site pretty much daily. But Pinterest, you suck at brush care. Fo’ reals. Keeping reading for my makeup brush cleaning tips, and for the craziest shit I’ve ever read on Pinterest…

First, some actual helpful advice. Then we can get our lulz over the sillies from Pinterest. ;)


Makeup Brush Cleaning Tips – Frequency

1 – Whatever you use to apply your foundation, be it brush or sponge, needs to be cleaned almost constantly. You can probably get away with washing it every 2-3 times you use it, but if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, you really need to clean it after every use. If you know you won’t do this, do your skin a favor and use disposable cosmetic sponges and toss them after every use. You. Are. Welcome.

2 – Brushes you use for cream products and gel products like eyeliner should be cleaned after each use.

3 – Blush/bronzer brushes and eye brushes you can go longer between washings but it’s easiest to just schedule a time to clean them once a week.

Makeup Brush Cleaning Tips – Spot Cleaning

1 – I always use white towels for spot cleaning my brushes because then you can tell if they’re actually clean because no more makeup is coming off of them. You can get a pack of white bar towels at Big Lots for approximately $5. They don’t have to be soft, in fact it’s almost better if they aren’t the softest towels in the world because the texture will help clean the bristles.

2 – To spot clean my brushes, I spritz them with Cinema Secrets brush cleanser and then swirl & wipe them on the towel until nothing comes off onto the towel anymore, repeating as necessary. Cinema Secrets brush cleanser is great because it dries extremely fast.

Makeup Brush Cleaning Tips – Shampooing/Washing

1 – Many people suggest using baby shampoo on brushes because it’s cheap, but it’s actually not very gentle. It’s fine for your synthetic bristle brushes but I wouldn’t recommend it for natural brushes unless you want to commit to conditioning them every so often too. On natural hair baby shampoo can be very drying and in my experience can actually make your bristles scratchy.

2 – Don’t clean your brushes with anything you wouldn’t want on your face. This seems obvious but you’d be surprised. If you wouldn’t wash your face with heavily scented shampoo, don’t clean your brushes with it either.

3 – Many people shampoo their brushes with facial cleanser since they know it won’t irritate their skin, but make sure you’re using a cleanser that actually breaks down the makeup. Just like with your skin, your brushes require something to break down the oils, silicones, and waxes in your makeup to remove it.

4 – YOU DO NOT NEED TO SOAK BRUSHES. Ever. In fact, brushes don’t like to be soaked. Think of washing a makeup brush like washing a cat. When you wash a cat, you get them wet enough to shampoo, do your shampooing, and then rinse. Then it’s time to squeegee your kitty until they are finished hating you. :} Kind of the same thing with brushes. You do not want or need to soak them. Soaking brushes can allow water to get into the ferrule of your brush which can cause a host of issues like mold and other nastiness you do not want on your face or in your makeup.

5 – Makeup brushes don’t need hot (or even warm) water. The hottest water you should ever use on your brushes is lukewarm/room temperature water. Cold water is best. Heat isn’t good for your brushes. It can compromise the glue that holds your brush together and cause you to lose bristles or even have the brush fall apart altogether.

And now…

bullshit brush tips

I get it, we as a species are criminally lazy. But you don’t need an appliance to clean or dry your makeup brushes. Please don’t blow dry your brushes. The heat is bad for the brush. You could use a cold setting on your dryer, but then that isn’t really actually doing much, and is kind of pointless. Further in appliance-related brush cleaning, I recently read a suggestion of cleaning your makeup brushes with a vacuum cleaner. That might help get excess powder off of them, but that’s about it. Your brushes aren’t actually clean if you do this. Not to mention the potential for error here is just staggering. Along the same lines, don’t your brushes in the dishwasher. The swirling HOT water is literally like a little perfect storm of JUST DON’T. You can use dish soap in a pinch to get tough foundation out of a brush, but that’s about as close to your dishes as your brushes really need to be.


  1. ITA! I *CRINGE* every time I see a pin about soaking brushes! The horror!

  2. This is exactly what I’ve been telling my sister who’s been following those useless pinterest pins for some time now. She insists on throwing her brushes in the dishwasher and I threaten her with throwing them out altogether. :P


  1. […]   But washing them in warm/hot water and soaking them, I’ll continue doing.     source To conclude this topic, I don’t have any expensive brushes, but I don’t think that […]

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