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Image / Beauty

Refresh: A thorough brush cleaning step by step guide


By Aisling Keenan
18th Mar 2020
Refresh: A thorough brush cleaning step by step guide

Brush cleaning is always important, but with hygiene practices becoming more and more vital lately, here’s the best way to sort yours…


You should be cleaning your brushes about once a fortnight or once a month if you’re really time-pressed. Unless you’re a make-up artist in which case, well, you guys know – after every client. But for us non-professionals, once a month or fortnight is fine.

brush cleaning

  1. Put some baby shampoo, or specialised brush shampoo if you’re fancy, into a cup or small vase or a bowl, and top it up with hot (but not scalding) water
  2. Dip each brush in turn into the water, pressing it gently on the bottom, and swirling it a bit. Also use your fingers to massage the bristles so they get clean the full way down.
  3. Rinse each one in a bowl with clean lukewarm water and then carefully squeeze the water out
  4. Lay each brush flat to dry (preferably off the edge of a counter or windowsill, so that the bacteria doesn’t gather again)

Be aware that cleaning your brushes with water that is too hot can melt the glue holding the hairs in place. So try not to submerge them in water for too long.

Also it’s good to note that electronic brush cleaners are a very efficient way of cleaning, because you end up with dry brushes that you can reuse straight away.

I like to clean my foundation brush every time I use it (hello, OCD) so for that I bring a brush cleansing spray and a facecloth wherever I’m doing my makeup and I clean on the fly.

What’s on your brush when it’s dirty?

Oil, old make-up, dead skin, dirt, dust… The list goes on. In short, bacteria. And you’re then rubbing that all over your face? It makes you think, doesn’t it? So it’s definitely an activity worth doing intermittently, not only to protect yourself from anything nasty, but to make your brushes last you longer.

Another thing I will say: If you store your brushes in any container – a mug, an old candle jar etc – when you’re cleaning your brushes, clean those too. If they’re dishwasher safe, throw them in. No point cleaning your brushes to leave the place they’re stored totally grubby.

And if all else fails and you need to be talked through it in more detail, Desi Perkins’ YouTube guide is entertaining and thorough.

Stay safe, stay clean and make those brushes last longer!


Read more: The best of the best: 10 brushes makeup lovers need to own

Read more: 5 foundation brushes that give a flawless complexion

Read more: 3 Make-Up Brush Cleaners That Won’t Break The Bank

Photo from Unsplash