A shade of the dramatic, where different is all there is.

How to Clean your Makeup Brushes (and why it is important)

Everyone has bad habits, for some it is not flossing or snacking just before bed.  But one that people seldom think of is neglecting their makeup brushes.

I am SUPER guilty of this.  I used to clean my brushes once every couple of months, but I’m trying to turn over a new leaf and do my skin a favour by increasing that to once every two-three weeks.

Why do you need to clean your makeup brushes?


You constantly transfer bacteria, dead skin cells and oils from your skin to your brushes and then into your makeup product.  You might go wash your face, but the next time you use that same dirty brush, you are transferring more bacteria to your face.  The cleaner your brushes are, the better for your skin.  You will experience less clogged pores, fewer acne breakouts and it will help stop the spread of harmful bacteria.

How do you clean your makeup brushes?

  1. Gather all of your brushes that you don’t plan on using right away.  (They will all be wet, so I actually like to do it before bed, so they have a chance to dry)
  2. Go one at a time and run them under warm water, angling the brushes down so you don’t get unwanted water in the ferrule.
  3. For cleaner, you can purchase an actual makeup brush cleaner (from a place like Wal-Mart or Shoppers Drug Mart for about $5) or you can use some mild shampoo if you’d rather.  I am currently using Quo Brush Cleaner that I purchased at Shopper’s Drug Mart. Quo Makeup Brush Cleaner
  4.  Hold the wet bristles of the brush against the palm of your hand and apply your cleaner.  I use 2-3 sprays of this cleaner depending on the size of the brush I am using. spray your brush with a brush cleaner
  5. Work it into a lather against your palm working the cleaner thoroughly between the fibers of your brush.  You will see the suds turn dark and the majority of the pigment will come out right there against your skin.  cleaning your makeup brushes
  6. Run under warm water until the stream runs clear.  (Do not use hot water!  The bristles of your brushes might be held in with glue and you don’t want the water to be too hot that it starts to challenge the integrity of the adhesive) run under water until the stream is clear
  7. Squeeze the excess water out, gently in a towel.
  8. Lay flat to dry over the edge of the sink so that the air can reach the brush from all sides helping it dry faster.  You can also lay them flat on a paper towel if you’d rather not leave them in the bathroom.  Just don’t put them in a glass or vase to dry upright.  The water will run down inside the ferrule and compromise the lifetime of your brushes.how to clean your makeup brushes

Your brushes will retake their original shape, be softer and a much better friend to your skin.  So get busy – your skin will thank you!



21 responses

  1. Yay Shannon nice to see a new post! I clean my brushes with different frequency. Some brushes I clean after each use (eyeliner brush, foundation brush, and concealer brush), others I clean after a couple of use (eyeshadow brushes), and still others I clean once every week-10 days (my big brush for loose powder). I also dry them with the Brush Guard so they retain their shape better 😉

    August 11, 2012 at 1:25 pm

  2. Hey Sunny! My little hiatus was too long. It is good to be back to blogging. Thanks for commenting! As always, your tips are very helpful and always welcome!

    August 11, 2012 at 1:36 pm

  3. Your back!!!

    August 11, 2012 at 1:40 pm

  4. I miss you! I’m happy you are back!! 🙂

    August 11, 2012 at 2:46 pm

  5. Shannon, I was actually stalking your blog to make sure I wasn’t missing any posts. I was thinking something might have gone wrong with my subscription since I hadn’t seen anything new from you in nearly 2 months. I’m glad you’re back. I did miss you!

    You’ll be glad to know I’ve been to a MAC store, and am going to make an appointment at my closest MAC counter (1 hour away) to discover why it is that I don’t have more MAC products.

    August 11, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    • Rebecca, hi! I am glad to be back to blogging, I can’t believe I stayed away as long as I did. It’s so nice to come back and get in touch with everyone again. Thank you for the warm welcome!

      Your news about your MAC visit sounds very exciting!! I look forward to hearing all about it! Hopefully you can find something to fall in love with. 🙂

      August 11, 2012 at 8:28 pm

  6. I am also guilty of doing this. Your post made me feel even guiltier so after this comment, I shall go give them a good cleaning.

    August 12, 2012 at 4:06 am

    • Haha, that is amazing Miss J! I’ve always tried to ignore it too…but I’m attempting to be better. I’m glad I’m not the only one!! Thanks for commenting. 🙂

      August 12, 2012 at 9:51 am

  7. gchicnotes

    Great post! I use mild shampoo for my brushes and I admit, I get lazy at cleaning them from time to time. Then I remember the germs. Btw-I use Eco tools and love those brushes! Great info.

    August 13, 2012 at 11:28 am

    • Hey, thanks for commenting! I have a couple of Eco Tools brushes myself too and I really like them. I don’t know why, but I always feel like I can use more brushes….probably because I procrastinate cleaning the ones I have already!

      August 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm

      • Lol. I feel you! Plus I think they just look pretty. Its like the more the merry.

        August 14, 2012 at 7:16 pm

        • I agree. I love all the different colours and styles. Too addictive!

          August 14, 2012 at 8:56 pm

  8. I clean my brushes (at least the ones that get used the most) at least once a month. Not only does it purge bacteria from them but it also removes excess product, especially eye shadow. I have found the only way to remove any highly pigmented shadow residue from my brushes is to clean them so I’m not mixing royal blue with white (especially when I don’t mean to!). One trick I use to dry them is first wring them out, then daub them on a paper towel. Then I sit them over a heating/air conditioner vent. Naturally, they dry quicker in the winter than the summer. Great post and great reminder. 🙂

    August 13, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    • Hey Nicole, thanks for posting! I read somewhere that using a hair dryer to dry them is bad for them, so I would think the same for a heating vent. But I’m not sure why, other than perhaps adhesive being compromised? Not sure, what do you think? Have you ever had any problems?

      August 13, 2012 at 8:02 pm

      • I would imagine a hair dryer wouldn’t be very good since it’s constant, direct, hot heat. A heat vent at least cycles on and off and doesn’t get as hot. I would say your guess about the adhesive would be correct and that makes perfect sense. But I’ve never had any problems in terms of brushes falling apart while drying. In fact, the only time I had one come unglued (and this was a very cheap brush anyway) was after washing it! Go figure! 😀 I would say as long as you avoid really hot heat, it should be okay.

        August 14, 2012 at 8:51 am

        • Great food for thought. Thanks Nicole for sharing your experiences!! I don’t clean mine often enough to have bountiful experience. haha

          August 14, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    • And yes, I couldn’t agree more when it comes to getting intense pigments out. My hot pink MUFE pigment is a beast to get out, even with a cleaner. But it’s so much fun! LOL

      August 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm

  9. I was about to buy the Quo brush cleaner but hesitated, i’m glad I came across this post, thanks for sharing!

    August 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    • Hey, thanks for commenting! I’m glad my post swung you in one way or another. 🙂

      August 14, 2012 at 3:24 pm

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