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How Often Should You Clean Makeup Brushes?

We bet makeup brush maintenance is something a lot of us either forget or underestimate the importance of. So how often should we be doing this cleaning ritual? The answer is much more often than you would think!

It’s a neglected habit because these brushes just dirty themselves again the next day. What you don’t see is all the microscopic bacteria on a dirty brush. Before we scare you off, we’re going to dive into the science of things.

How Often Should You Clean Your Makeup Brushes?

beautiful woman holding a powder brush near her face, studio white

Your makeup brushes should be cleaned every week if you can. We wouldn’t go past ten days without giving these tools a good scrub. The worst of them are your foundation and concealer brushes. Since these are the brushes you use every day, liquids tend to get trapped in the bristles and become a breeding ground for bacteria.

The brushes that work with powders, such as eyeshadow brushes, highlighter brushes, and ones for blush, can probably hold out for ten days. If you barely use eyeshadow and your brush sits untouched save for three times a month, then you’re looking at just cleaning it a couple of times in a 30-day period.

Why Do You Need to Clean Makeup Brushes Regularly?

Used makeup accessories on tangle dirty table.

Depending on your bristle type, some makeup brushes can trap makeup, skin cells, dirt, and dust more easily than others. When your brush becomes caked with any of the above, you have the perfect recipe for a bacteria breeding ground.

Imagine being able to look at your brush through a microscope. We bet you would think twice about brushing that against your skin. When a brush is covered with old makeup and oils, the bristles will no longer be soft on your skin.

Not only that, but it might also cause the bristles to clump together, which is every makeup artist’s nightmare. Speaking of makeup artists, if your job requires applying makeup on more than one person a day, you need to take even better care of your brushes. You don’t want any of your clients to develop skin allergies or rashes.

How Do You Clean Your Makeup Brushes?

Makr up brush. Woman washing dirty makeup brush with soap and foam in the sink.

Now that we have convinced you of the why and how often, then the next step is the “how.” If you don’t do it right, your brushes may still leave a residue of old makeup that gets brushed back onto your skin.

  1. Always use warm water. This softens the hardened makeup on your brushes and makes it easier to clean off.
  2. Run your brush under the warm tap and remove all the surface grime with your fingers.
  3. You can then either fill a bowl with water and stir some brush cleaner into it, or use the palm of your hand.
  4. If you choose to use the bowl, swirl the brushes around in the warm concoction and use your fingers toremove the lingering makeup.
  5. If you use the palm of your hand, swirl the brush in the brush cleaner lightly on your palm. We don’t recommend this for flat brushes.
  6. After all the swirling and massaging, run the brush under the warm tap again to rinse away excess soap.
  7. If you feel like the brush still isn’t 100% clean, then repeat steps 2-6.
  8. Use a lint-free towel to lightly dry the bristles, by pressing them into the towel, then lay them flat to air dry.
  9. As an extra tip, try not to clean too roughly, because this may cause the bristles to fall out or cause the brush to lose its shape.

Another thing is to let the brush dry completely before reusing. You don’t want a damp and moist environment plus all the makeup residue and dust, which will be an invitation for bacteria to flourish.


Cleaning your makeup brush is much more important than you think. Even if you do clean your makeup brushes, we’re pretty sure not everyone takes the time to clean them every week. While you don’t need to be excessive and clean them every day, we do suggest cleaning brushes you use daily a bit more often.

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