Ladies, Your Makeup Brushes Are Gross. Here’s How To Clean Them (The Right Way)

Makeup brushes are essential tools for painting the palette that is your face. 

They are SO good to us, but are we good to them?

I know I’m guilty of neglecting the needs of my makeup tools, especially brushes. 

They need care to stay in good shape — and this means cleaning them. 

And not just occasionally, but often. 


I have thrown away expensive makeup brushes because the thought of cleaning them was overwhelming — we’ve established long ago that I’m lazy. 

$30 Sephora kabuki makeup brushes deserve better than being tossed in my bathroom trash can. 

Dermatologists recommend cleaning them at least weekly, if not after every use, says Ava Shamban, a Beverly Hills-based dermatologist. 

“Ideally though, we should be cleansing our tools after every use to avoid bacteria buildup,” she added. “Brushes become filled with skin cells and bacteria can overgrow in that area.

“If there are any potential allergens remaining in the brush after makeup application, then it’s conceivable that repeated contact could lead to an inflammatory rash.”


From now on, I’m going to give my makeup brushes the TLC they need — and it’s easy to do with so many innovative makeup brush cleaning products on the shelves.

The Best Makeup Brush Cleaning Tools

Color Switch by Vera Mona Brush Cleaner is a dry, makeup-removing sponge that allows you to switch colors without having to switch brushes.

SHOP – $18

BeautyBlender BlenderCleanser Solid Pro Soap is a charcoal-infused formula that cleans, conditions, and disinfects makeup brushes.

SHOP – $45

Norate Brush Cleaning Mat is a breeze to use — pour cleanser on the cleaning pad, gently move the brush on the pad, and then rinse!

SHOP – $4.99

RICRIS Makeup Brush Cleaner and Dryer Machine is a quick and effective way to get those brushes squeaky clean. The dryer feature takes 10 seconds – no more waiting for your brushes to air dry! 

SHOP – $19.99

MAKE UP FOR EVER Instant Brush Cleanser is an alcohol-free brush cleanser that instantly purifies and removes all makeup textures. It cleans with no rinsing needed so that brushes can be reused on the spot.

SHOP – $23

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP On the Spot Makeup Brush Cleaner Spray is a fast-working spray formula that removes dirt and excess makeup while keeping your brushes conditioned and protected.

SHOP – $10

Bobbi Brown Conditioning Brush Cleanser safely and effectively removes makeup and residue from your favorite makeup brushes.

SHOP – $22.01

Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Balm is an instant, mess-free cleansing tool that easily removes residue from brushes with a swirl, rinse and go!

SHOP – $6.70

StylPro Makeup Brush Cleaner & Dryer is touted as a “revolutionary device proven to clean AND dry makeup brushes in seconds.”

SHOP – $29.99

Cinema Secrets Makeup Brush Cleaner is a professional-grade liquid makeup brush cleaner that is quick-drying, rinse-free, and 99.99 percent antimicrobial disinfectant.

SHOP – $24

No Product? No Problem!

If you don’t want to spend money on brush cleaning products, you can certainly go old fashioned with these 7 steps: 

  1. Wet the bristles with lukewarm water.

  2. Place a drop of a makeup brush cleanser (you can use Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Dish Soap) into hand.

  3. Gently massage the tips of the bristles in your palm.

  4. Rinse the bristles thoroughly.

  5. Squeeze out the excess moisture with a clean towel.

  6. Re-shape the brush head back into its original form.

  7. Let the brush dry with its bristles hanging over the edge of a counter. 

Note: Do not let your brushes dry on a towel — the bristles can turn mildewy!LINE

Do you regularly clean your makeup brushes? Will you try any of the cleansers we recommend? Let us know in the comments!

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