How I Wash My Makeup Brushes

Washing your makeup brushes is HUGE.  I posted a photo a few weeks ago of my brushes after they had just been washed and I received a lot of questions asking how I wash them and what products I use.  I like to keep it pretty simple.  

Makeup brushes pick up dirt, oil, dead skin cells, bacteria, and in some cases, even viruses.  These are all things you want to keep off your face!  Unclean brushes spread these nasties around your face, attributing to clogged pores, breakouts, infection, etc.  

How you wash them really isn't as important as how often you wash them.  Getting the gunk off the bristles is your main goal.  Use your face wash, a very gentle cleanser, an actual brush cleansing solution, olive oil, baby shampoo... whatever mild way you have of cleaning them is fine.  Just do it.  Deep cleaning my brushes once a week is my goal, but really, I clean mine about once every two to three weeks.  But, I always spot clean my most used (& dirty!) brushes, like my foundation and eyeliner brushes, after EVERY use.  

Products used:

- Rite Aid Brand Baby Shampoo (Get the one that has a pump! This makes life much easier, trust me.) 
- MAC Brush Cleanser (poured into small spray bottle for daily spot cleansing)

Step 1:
I run lukewarm water and rinse off the brush.

Using one pump of baby shampoo and lukewarm water, rub the brush bristles around in your palm until you work it into a nice, rich lather.  

After rinsing and doing a "squeegee" motion to remove excess water, look and see if the water that is removed is clear.  If it is not crystal clear, repeat step #2. 

I then slip a product called the Brush Guard onto my favorite brushes.  This allows the bristles to dry in the perfect shape. 

The best way to let these dry is to place them in a tall cup, bristle side down, so that the water drains out of the brushes.  It's bad to let water run into the brush shaft.

By the way, I'm not endorsed by The Brush Guard in any way whatsoever, but I just really stand by their product.  A pack costs $5.50 and they make the biggest difference.  Makeup brushes are expensive.  Really expensive.  These keep those expensive brushes looking brand new.

Plus, The Brush Guard utilizes the services of Community Gatepath to package their products.  Community Gatepath has provided vocational services for developmentally disabled adults for over 90 years.  Even more reason to support TBG! 

I let my other brushes dry on a paper towel or a hand towel overnight.  This photo was taken right after I laid each one down after washing.  I later went back and shaped each one with my hands and spaced them apart. 

The MAC Brush Cleanser is mostly just used for daily spot cleansing.  Sometimes I'll spray the cleanser on a stubborn makeup stained brush if the baby shampoo needs backup.  That's usually not the case. ;)

Does anyone else appreciate freshly washed makeup brushes as much as I do?  Honestly, it's like the best feeling for me.  Make me feel so accomplished.  I try to have a "spa night" once every week or two, where I do a clarifying mask, whitening strips, and a facial peel.  I usually clean my brushes while these products are on my face.  That's a great time to wash them because there's no point in doing the masks if I'm just going to put dirty brushes on my face the following morning, right?


  1. Confession- I never wash my brushes, I am so bad! Now you have inspired me to use Sterling's baby shampoo and go to town! Btw you hvae quite a collestion of brushes! Oh and I am def getting the brush guards! Great post!

  2. I just cleaned my brushes recently and it really is amazing how different your makeup goes on when applying with a clean brush vs a dirty one. Thanks for the tips!



  3. I usually get around to washing my makeup brushes about once a month..although I really should more! I love clean brushes. I too use baby shampoo. The pump is a great idea!

  4. I use baby shampoo to wash my brushes too. It's gentle, cheap and gets the job done.

    One thing I do when drying my brushes on a hand towel is to roll one end on the hand towel a few times. This creates a little bump and then I put the ends of the brushes on the bump so they then are on a slight incline and the water will run out of the brushes. Just a little tip.

    I'm gonna have to try the MAC cleanser for regular spot cleaning!

  5. i like the idea of using the mac cleaner in a spray bottle. that stuff is expensive but i love how good it works. good thinking!

  6. Great info on brush washing! Which whitening strips and facial peel do you use?


  7. Which brand of brushes is the best in your opinion and which type of brushes do you find yourself using most often?

  8. Great post! Love your blog. I usually end up just buying new brushes, but this is definitely the way to go when brushes are so expensive! Would love to hear what brushes you use :)



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