How To Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Makeup brushes need to be cleaned not just to keep them in good condition but also to help you look good!   ‘Dirty’ brushes clogged with powders, sebum and product oils do not apply makeup well.  You can hardly get the makeup colour you want if the brush has got other colours already mixed in it.  Dirty brushes are also the perfect breeding ground for lots of germs!

Photo credit: Teeratas /

There are 2 main ways to clean your brushes. 

  1. Deep cleaning them with mild shampoo (once or twice a month)
  2. Clean them with brush cleaners or alcohol for spot cleaning (after each use if you use them on someone else, or after a few uses if you use them on yourself).

What’s a brush cleaner? 

It’s a specially formulated solution that cleans out makeup colours  and oils from your brushes and disinfects them quickly.  Ideal for makeup artists on the job.

For a limited time, it's buy 1 get 1 free!

I use the one from Stage Cosmetics (RM25 per bottle).  Other brands stock them too.

  • Just spray onto the bristles (brush hairs).
  • Swirl the bristles round and round on some tissue.  This gets the colour out.

Pros:  Can be used almost immediately after cleaning (of course best to wait till brush dries completely).  Disinfects because of its alcohol content.

Cons:  Dries out the bristles.  Only cleans the tips of the brush hairs mostly.


Deep cleaning with a shampoo.

Once in a while, you need to clean your brushes with a mild shampoo and a good rinse of water.  This method removes more makeup from between the brush hairs.  Thus, it’s referred to as ‘deep cleaning’.

  • Wet your brushes with water.
  • Put some shampoo on your palm.
  • Swirl the brush on your palm till the colours are removed.
  • Rinse thoroughly under running water.

Pros: doesn’t dry out the brush hairs.  Cleans the brush hairs more thoroughly.

Cons:  takes time for brushes to dry completely.

Attention:  Do not dry the brushes upside down.  This damages the adhesive that holds the brush hairs together.  Instead, place them flat on a towel on the table and let them dry naturally.  Do not use a hairdryer on them.


For thorough cleaning, I would suggest cleaning the brushes with a brush cleaner first followed by deep cleaning with shampoo.

If you are a makeup artist or if you share brushes with others, practice good hygiene by having a brush cleaner with you when you’re on the job.  This is a good professional practice and your customers’ skin (and yours as well) will thank you for it!


One thought on “How To Clean Your Makeup Brushes

  1. Pingback: How to Choose a Professional Makeup Artist « Image Essentials

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