There has never been a better time than now, to clean your makeup brushes. A clean makeup brush is key for both good application and skin, yet it’s often something we delay and is far down on our list of things to do. Here, we’ll look at why you need to clean your makeup brushes, how often to do it and the easiest ways to get them done.

Why should you clean your brushes? Imagine never washing your hair and just continuing to add styling products. You wouldn’t do that to your hair, so you shouldn’t do it to your face! Brushes and sponges are porous so will hold onto any nasty bacteria and oils found on your skin. This combined with product build up can not only lead to break outs, but application might be not as precise and end up a little patchy.

How often should you clean them?

  • Once a week: Foundation and concealer brushes/blenders.
  • Twice a month: Eyeshadow brushes.
  • Once a month: All other brushes; contour, blush, powder etc.

What should you use to clean your brushes? We find that a gentle baby shampoo or anti-bacterial wash is best mixed with lukewarm (not hot) water.

How do you clean your brushes?
  • Wet the end of the brush (bristles) with lukewarm water.
  • Place a drop of your chosen brush cleanser into the palm of your hand.
  • Massage the bristles in your palm in a circular motion.
  • Rinse under a lukewarm tap until all soap has gone.
  • Gently press excess moisture out using your fingers followed by a clean towel.
  • Reshape the bristles into their normal position.
  • Place your brushes onto a surface, leaving the bristles hanging off the edge – this allows them to dry evenly and maintain their shape.
  • Never dry your brushes on a towel — if they are left like this, the damp can encourage bacteria to re-harvest in the bristle, undoing all your hard work.
  • Don’t dry them upright, any left-over water can travel into the wand, loosening glue and cause the bristles to fall out.
  • Keep the base/handle of the brush away from the soap and water. The bristles are glued into the base and getting this part wet can cause them to fall out.

If you want a little help cleaning your brushes, you could try the Pink Cactus Silicone Makeup Brush Cleaner (below) from Namshi which you use instead of your palm to put your soap on and clean the brush.

Pink Cactus Brush Cleaner

And if you are feeling fancy, an electronic one like this from StylPro makes cleaning them super easy and quick – this machine does the job in 10 seconds per brush!

StylPro Brush Cleaner

Available from

What about your beauty blender or wedge? Makeup artists and dermatologists often advise against using these as they can hold onto more old product and bacteria which travels to live in the center of the sponge. If you are a fan of them, we recommend replacing them every month and making sure you clean them as frequently as you would your foundation and concealer brushes (once a week) between replacements. This hack from makeup artist Ami Desai is the best way to clean them (we’ve tried it and it works!):

Pictured at the top of this article is the Zoeva Makeup Artist Zoe Bag Professional Brush Set, which is available to buy online here from Cult Beauty.

Once your tools are nice and clean, you may want to give this Makeup tutorial a try: Emilia Clarke at the Oscars