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Makeup Brush Hygiene

Why do you need to clean your makeup brushes? Are you cleaning them enough? What happens if you don't? The answer to all these questions and more is just below. Keep reading and keep it clean.

Makeup brushes are an essential part of any beauty routine, but they can also be a breeding ground for bacteria if not cleaned properly. Dirty makeup brushes can cause breakouts, skin irritation, and even infections. That's why it's super important to clean your makeup brushes.

Here's everything you need to know about keeping things clean.

Why Do You Need to Clean Your Makeup Brushes?

You need to clean your makeup brushes regularly so that your skin and your makeup keeps looking flawless. Keeping your makeup brushes clean also helps to kill any bacteria that can linger in them, preventing the risk of infection. Dirty brushes can cause bacterial infections such as a fungal infections, E. coli, or staph infection, which can be very serious. ...and very gross. Let's just say if you're developing an infection from dirty brushes-you will not be slaying that day.

Not only is it important for your health, but keeping makeup brushes clean will also improve the performance of your makeup. Dirt, oil, and product buildup can weigh down brush hairs, making them harder to work with—which can mean streaky foundation and patchy blush (also not a slay).

Cleaning your makeup brushes is a must for maintaining good hygiene and preventing breakouts too. Every time you use your brush, it picks up oils, bacteria, and dead skin cells from your face. If you don't clean your brushes regularly, these impurities can accumulate and transfer back onto your skin, clogging pores and causing breakouts. While a breakout may be less threatening that a skin infection, it's just as annoying.

What Can Happen If You Don't Clean Your Makeup Brushes?

Neglecting proper makeup brush hygiene can have serious consequences. Over time, the buildup of makeup residue on brushes can cause the bristles to weaken and even break. If you're paying a pretty penny for high quality makeup brushes, you should aim to take care of them.

Additionally, dirty makeup brushes can cause damage to your skin. Bacteria, dirt, and oils can build up on the bristles, causing acne breakouts and rashes like I stated before. This is why it's so important to keep your makeup brushes clean in order to avoid any potential harm to you or your brushes. Learning how to clean your makeup brushes is an important part of maintaining your skin’s health and keeping your brushes in good condition. It may be another thing to add to the list of chores, but it's worth it.

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

If you’re looking to clean your makeup brushes, the first thing you’ll want to do is fill a bowl with lukewarm water and a tablespoon of either gentle shampoo or clarifying shampoo. You can also use a commercially branded makeup brush cleanser and you can also do this entire process in your bathroom sink.

Plain soap and water can dry out the bristles, so it’s important to use something specifically made for makeup brushes, or that's more on the gentle side of the soap spectrum.

Once the bowl is filled, swirl each brush tip in the bowl until a good lather forms. You can also massage each brush tip in the palm of your hand for an even deeper clean. Again, there are also commercially branded textured brush cleaners to help you get all that dirt and grime out.

If a brush is entirely caked in foundation or a sponge is soaked in silicones and oils, Dawn dish soap works well for degreasing. If it's good enough for baby ducks, it's good enough for your makeup brushes.

After lathering and cleansing, rinse the bristles thoroughly. Squeeze out the excess moisture with a clean towel and lay them out to air dry. It’s important to reshape brushes at this time so they’re smooth and dry properly. You don't want any bristles sticking out in awkward positions.

Cleaning your makeup brushes may seem like a daunting task, especially if you have quite a collection, but it's actually quite simple. Here's a step-by-step guide to cleaning your brushes that should only take a matter of minutes:

  1. Start by rinsing your brush under lukewarm water to remove any excess makeup.

  2. Next, add a few drops of gentle shampoo or brush cleaner to the water.

  3. Gently massage the bristles with your fingers, working the cleaner into the brush.

  4. Rinse the brush under running water until the water runs clear.

  5. Squeeze out any excess water and reshape the bristles.

  6. Lay the brush flat on a clean towel to dry.

It's important to note that you should never soak your brushes in water, as this can cause damage to the bristles and handle. Additionally, avoid using hot water, as this can cause the glue that holds the bristles together to break down. The exception here is soaking your sponges for a minute or two before rinsing; they can handle it.

How Often to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

For brushes that you use frequently with liquid formulas, such as foundation and concealer, you should clean them at least once a week. This will ensure that all the bacteria and leftover product residue are removed.

For other brushes that you use for powder products, such as blush and eye shadow, you should clean them once every two weeks.


Cleaning your makeup brushes may seem like a hassle, but it's a crucial step in maintaining good hygiene and healthy skin. By following these simple steps and moving forward with your newfound brush knowledge, you can ensure that your brushes are free of bacteria and impurities.

So, the next time you do your makeup, check in with yourself and when the last time was that your brushes got a cleaning. Remember to take a few extra minutes from time to time to clean your brushes – your skin will thank you!


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