5 Tips for How To Clean Your Makeup Brushes

different kinds of makeup brushes

Cleaning your makeup brushes may often take a backseat to other things you need to get done. The process of removing all of the makeup from the bristles just to turn around and use them the next day may even feel unnecessary. 

However, there are many risks and adverse side effects that dirty brushes can cause. Your makeup tools could be collecting and harboring some pretty scary stuff. Cleaning them on a regular basis is the only way to protect your skin. 

We are going to give you simple tips to clean your makeup brushes. You will also find out exactly what can happen from using dirty brushes and how often you need to clean them. 

Why You Need To Clean Your Makeup Brushes 

Your makeup brushes go through a lot. They apply your makeup onto your face, travel in a makeup bag, sit on your bathroom counter or vanity, and more. 

These small activities can expose them to a world of dirt, germs, and bacteria. As you can imagine, these different contaminants aren't what you want to be putting on your face every day. 

Here are a few things that can happen from using dirty makeup brushes. 

It Can Cause Acne 

Acne occurs when the hair follicles on your face become clogged. Dirt, excess oil, and bacteria can block up your pores and cause a breakout. Bacteria specifically can lead to inflamed and painful acne.

When you use your makeup brushes repeatedly without cleaning them, large amounts of bacteria and other contaminants can be found. Every time you use a dirty brush, you're spreading these harmful things onto your skin. You also add even more germs to the brush with each use. 

So if you want clearer skin, cleaning your makeup brushes is the way to go. 

You Can Get an Infection

In severe cases, dirty makeup brushes can lead to infections. When your brushes are harboring harmful bacteria, it opens the door to problems. 

If you have any open skin, whether it be a blemish that you've picked at or a scratch on your face, it makes it easier to develop an infection. Staph infections are caused by bacteria commonly found on the skin. However, left untreated, these types of infections can seriously impact your health. 

Another way people often end up with an infection is from sharing their makeup brushes. You can end up with cross-contamination, and other people's bacteria can be harmful. The main risk of sharing your makeup brushes is contracting a viral infection like conjunctivitis or pink eye.

If you ever see signs of discharge, swelling of the eyelids, or inflammation of the whites of your eyes, consult a doctor immediately. When it comes to Staph infections, they most often look like a pocket of pus in a hair follicle or an oil gland. Your skin in the area will appear red and swollen. Don't dismiss a spot as cystic acne if it's out of the ordinary. It could be a boil from a Staph infection. 

Premature Aging 

You can stress your skin out when you regularly subject your skin to dirt, oil, and bacteria. This stress and germs can result in your collagen and elastin breaking down a lot faster. 

Both of these proteins are key building blocks in your skin that keep it looking young and healthy. When you start to lose collagen and elastin, you begin to develop fine lines and wrinkles. Keeping your makeup brushes clean can help your skin look youthful for longer!

Tips To Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Now that you know why it's so important to keep your makeup brushes clean, let's go over how to wash them. 

Here are simple tips and steps to follow when cleaning your brushes. 

1. Choose a Good Cleanser 

You need more than just water to clean your makeup brushes. You need some sort of cleanser to really get the job done.

There are products specifically designed to remove makeup from your tools. However, you can also use dish soap since it's a great grease fighter, and it can break down makeup, like foundation. You can also use antibacterial hand soap.

For a natural cleanser, you can use vinegar. Mix two tablespoons of white vinegar into a cup of hot water and swirl your brushes around in it until clean. Beware, this can give your brushes a slight vinegar smell, but most of it will dissipate when you rinse your brushes. 

2. Scrub, Rinse, Repeat 

Once you choose a cleanser, it's time to clean. Grab your makeup brushes, paper towels, and go to the sink. 

You will want to wet your brushes, apply the cleanser, and swirl them either in the palm of your hand or the bottom of a hard surface. However, don't use the sink as your cleaning surface since it can add more contaminants to your brushes. 

After you feel like the makeup is off, rinse the brush under the faucet. Use a paper towel to see if any makeup is transferring off of the brush. If you still see makeup, you need to repeat the process until it's clean. 

3. Hold Your Brush Down When Rinsing 

When rinsing your brushes, make sure you are holding them at a downward angle. If you hold the brush bristle side up under the faucet, water can get deep into the brush. It can break apart the glue keeping the bristles together. It can also lead to mold growth since it can't dry out completely. 

4. Allow the Brushes To Air Dry 

After you're done cleaning your brushes, wipe off excess water with a paper towel. Don't put them back in their case or your makeup bag right away. Allow the brushes to air dry completely before putting them in a sealed container. 

A convenient place to let them dry is the edge of the counter. Line them up, so the bristles hang over the side, and both sides can dry simultaneously. 

5. Clean Brushes Between Uses

You don't have to do a deep clean every day, but you can still keep your brushes fresh. Grab a cup and cover the bottom with your brush cleanser. After you finish your makeup, dip the tip of your brushes in the cleanser and rub them on a paper towel until clean. 

How Often Should You Clean Your Makeup Brushes? 

Technically, after every use, your makeup brushes are dirty and should be cleaned. However, we know cleaning them every day just isn't realistic for most people. Instead, try to clean them at least once a week if you're using them multiple times. 

You should also clean them if you know they've come in contact with possible contaminants. For example, if your friend has used them or if you've dropped them on the floor. 

If you notice a funky smell or there's too much makeup on them to get a smooth application, it's also time for a cleaning. If your brushes still smell after you've cleaned them or if the bristles look worn out, it may be time to toss them and purchase new ones.  

In Summary 

Cleaning your brushes is important if you want to take care of your skin and health. Since bacteria, dirt, and oil can build up quickly on your brushes, you need to clean them on a regular basis. 

You only need a cleanser, clean water, and a little time to rid your brushes of harmful contaminants. 

HIDE products look best when applied with bristles that aren't full of old makeup. Your makeup will look better, and your skin will thank you when you use clean brushes. 



The skin microbiome | NCBI

Old Makeup Can Cause Serious Eye Infections - Health Encyclopedia | University of Rochester Medical Center

Staph infections - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic