How to: Clean your make-up brushes

How to clean your make-up brushes

Any make-up artist will tell you that brushes are one of the most important and expensive investments in their beauty kit. Without their brush collection, and a clean one at that, they are left feeling bare. By looking after your make-up brushes you may never have to replace a good quality set. We asked celebrity make-up artist for Elizabeth Arden, Gina Myers, to share some of her cleaning tips with us.

Gina cleans her brushes every day as she uses them for professional use, but suggests washing your brushes once a week. “This keeps them clean and helps prevent bacteria build-up,” says Gina. Your tools and brushes accumulate oil and product, and can lead to skin breakouts if not washed regularly. With clean tools you can create a much more even and consistent make-up application too.

Remember not to over-wash, and in-between washes, tap off excess powders and wipe off extra make-up with a tissue. 

How to clean your brushes: 

  • First rinse your brushes in warm (not hot) water in the basin or in a bowl.
  • Try not to get the base / handle wet as this may loosen the glue that’s binding the bristles.
  • Gina suggests applying a small amount of baby shampoo (or a gentle shampoo) onto the bristles and working up a gentle lather, as you would with your actual hair. You can also buy brush cleansers that are designed specially to clean your brushes.
  • Be sure to rinse the shampoo off properly as you don’t want your brushes to be left sticky.
  • Rinse them again under running water. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear.
  • Once a month, try adding a tiny drop of olive oil to your brushes, but yet again be sure to remove it all, as you don’t want oily brushes. “It will improve and maintain the quality of your brushes, “ says Gina.
  • Before you place your brushes down to dry on a towel or on the edge of a counter, return the bristles to their original shape. Never heat dry.


Other articles you may be interested in:
How to apply blusher
Ten make-up brushes to invest in
How to apply bronzer like a pro
Contouring with Elizabeth Arden
Optical illusions


29 Responses

  1. Baby shampoo doesn’t usually make it into my grocery list, but anti-bacterial soap does (little boys at home :) I’ve been using a small amount of anti-bacterial soap (as i figured it would do away with bacteria and germs that may land on my face) and rinse thoroughly. Is the anti-bacterial soap bad for my brushes? Thanks for olive oil tip, will try it out.

    1. Hi Gugu, if your skin doesn’t react to the soap and it isn’t drying out your brushes then it is fine :) Perhaps treat them with olive oil every couple of washes to prevent them from drying out.

  2. I think often we don’t clean our make-up brushes properly because we don’t know how. This article was a great help.

  3. I also use shampoo to clean wash my brushes :) and I even use a little conditioner before I rinse rinse rise! Leaves my brushes super soft and smelling heavenly!

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