How To Clean Your Make-Up Brushes: The Easy Guide

How To Clean Your Make-Up Brushes: The Easy Guide

It’s the beauty girls’ version of doing the dishes, but essential if you want flawless skin! Here's how to wash your make-up brushes like a pro...

by Victoria Jowett

Gigi Hadid makeup backstage at fashion week

What’s the best way to clean make-up brushes? That’s a question with a whole load of answers! So before we get to that, let’s discuss why it’s SO important. If you’ve never, ever, washed your foundation brush, prepare to cringe.

Each time you swipe a brush across your skin, it picks up the bacteria which naturally lives there. Leave that to multiply for the rest of the day, and then use it on your face again the next morning, and you won’t only be picking up new bacteria again, you’ll also be wiping the old bacteria - which has been growing and multiplying in your brush – back onto your skin. And so the circle begins.

If you also consider what else your brushes go through – rolling around in your make-up bag or handbag, sitting on a shelf gathering daily dust – it all starts to paint a pretty grim picture.

So, it’s super important that you clean your brushes regularly. Trying to create flawless skin with the very tool that’s making you breakout, is a drama nobody wants a part of!

There are lots of different ways to go about cleaning your brushes, so here’s a breakdown of some of the the best…

See: Best MakeUp Brushes...


The simplest way to give all your brushes a thorough clean, make-up artists including Gucci Westman, Tom Pecheux and Kim Kardashian’s go-to guy Mario Dedivanovic, all swear by this method.

Run your brush under warm water to wet the bristles, then massage them with a gentle soap like Dr. Bronner Organic Lavender Castile Liquid Soap, £5.50 Rinse them again until the water runs clear, and then leave them to air dry on a towel.

Dr. Bronner Organic Lavender Castile Liquid Soap

Dr. Bronner Organic Lavender Castile Liquid Soap


Most pro brush cleansers are alcohol or chemical based, and so are great for quickly stripping your brushes of all dirt, oil and greasy make-up like lipstick and gel liner, we love Mac's Brush Cleanser, £12, so get our brushes looking good as new. Some, like the Real Techniques Deep Cleansing Gel, £7.99, can even help speed up drying time. Lots of make-up artists use these kinds of cleansers to give their brushes a super quick clean in between looks or models.

Mac's Brush Cleanser, £12 Mac's Brush Cleanser, £12

There are a few ways to use these, but the most common is to pour or spray a little of the cleanser onto a paper towel or tissue, and then rub your brush back and forth on to it until all the make-up has come off. You can also mix it with a little water in a pot, and swish your brush around in the solution, before wiping clean.

Real Techniques Deep Cleansing Gel

Real Techniques Deep Cleansing Gel


These are great if you’re on the go a lot, need a quick brush cleanse, or want to take a fuss-free option on holiday with you.

A solid cube of soap or balm, you simply dampen your brush bristles and then swirl the brush around in the pot, until the foam lifts all the make-up and grime away. After you’re done, wipe the surface of your solid cleanser or quickly run it under some water, to keep it clean and ready for next time.

Beauty Blender Pure Solid Brush Cleanser, £14 Beauty Blender Pure Solid Brush Cleanser, £14

Japonesque Solid Brush Cleanser Japonesque Solid Brush Cleanser, £16


Both Real Techniques and Sigma have handy brush cleansing palettes, the clever boards feature straps across the back that you can slip your hand into while you scrub. These are great for getting the makeup and dirt that's set really deep into old brushes. Simply dampen your brush bristles, pour a little soap or brush cleanser onto the palette, and following the guide on the mitt, swirl your brushes around on the grooves and ridges to wash thoroughly them, rinse and reshape.

Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette, £12.99 Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette, £12.99

Sigma Spa Express Brush Cleaning Glove, £25 Sigma Spa Express Brush Cleaning Glove, £25