Everything You Need to Know about Washing Your Makeup Brushes

Everything You Need to Know about Washing Your Makeup Brushes

Most of us wash our makeup brushes every few months – if at all. For a long time I was like that because the brushes were never quite the same after I washed them. I recently got strep throat, however – a miserable experience that involved a few days of pain so intense I could barely swallow my own spit and a few days of total and utter nausea – and I’m now a convert. Staphylococcus and streptococcus are the two most common bacteria found on makeup brushes and the ones responsible for staph infections and strep throat. On top of that, not washing brushes can also contribute to acne, rashes, and skin infections; so if you’re experiencing any of those, it might not be hormones or products after all! Basically, if you want to be on the safe side, and you’re using a brush regularly, you should wash it every week (especially if you have acne or oily skin or are using brushes for multiple products as this can cause cross-contamination). I’ll do anything to prevent infections and rashes, so I’ve been keeping up with the regular washing; but I will say that a brush never really is 100% the same afterwards. I’ve found the Sephora Collection Brush It Off Cleansing Brush Wipesicon (at Sephora for $7, from $16) to be the best out of all the options I’ve tried. They’re fast, effective, and smell good. If you’re going to opt to wash your brushes with soap, though, it’s really important to let the tools dry naturally while standing up or else their shapes will be totally off. If you have one that can’t stand upright, lay it on a clean towel to dry overnight.


  1. Erin Tracy
    January 27, 2016 / 9:35 am

    If you are looking for a way to clean your brushes without compromising the feel of them or damaging them try using whatever type of gentle soap you wash your face with. If it removes makeup and dirt from your face without damage it should do the same for your brushes. I like cetaphil for cleaning mine. It removes the makeup and doesn’t leave the brushes feeling stiff or brittle.

  2. sam
    January 27, 2016 / 10:46 am

    I, too wash my brushes with some water and my personal facial cleanser. I am also an artist and we have this little things that allow the brush to hang from it (don’t knw what they are called in english, ,sorry!) but basically if you leave it standing up, the water and moisture is going to get trapped inside the little metallic thingy and the bristles that are inside it, ruining sometimes the glue that holds everything together or causing the metal to get rusty. This also happens if you leave them laying on a towel. If you hang them, however, the bristles keep their shape and the moisture just drips off and dries without causing much damage, if at all. I hope I was clear enough, sorry if I wasn’t!

  3. Jenna
    January 28, 2016 / 9:22 am

    My favorite brush cleaner is Daiso Detergent Cleaning for Markup Puff and Sponge and then I have a brush tree to hold my brushes bristles down while they dry. I know Sigma also now sells a drying and shaping thing like that for after you wash your brushes. I think this gives them a much deeper clean. I would use wipes on the go or for occasional cleansing, but I like to deep clean them every now and then. I also make sure to wash my beauty blender too!

  4. Caroline
    February 3, 2016 / 8:13 pm

    I use cetaphil. It’s a face wash that helps rid of oil. It really cleans brushes, especially ones that you use liquid foundations with really well. I disagree with the article on the topic of standing your brushes up to dry. This is because the water drains to the base where the glue is and causes brushes to become dislocated from the handle. I lay them flat to dry. Always.

  5. February 11, 2016 / 1:52 am

    I prefer lukewarm water and a little bit of shampoo, add them together to get nice solution and gently swirl your brush tip in the water. A gentle clarifying or baby shampoo is best for this job.

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