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

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…


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



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. 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.

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



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.

> Japonesque Solid Brush Cleanser, £16, SpaceNK



Sigma Beauty’s Spa Brush Cleaning Glove is a much-discussed invention among make-up artists. Some are obsessed with it, some aren’t fussed, but nobody can deny it’s a very cool idea.

Slip your hand in – there are two thumb holes so you can turn it around – dampen your brush bristles, and then pour a little soap or brush cleanser onto the mitt. Then, following the guide on the mitt, swirl your brushes around on the grooves and ridges to wash them, rinse and reshape.

> Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Glove, £30.95,



By Amy Lewis