How To Wash Makeup Brushes? (Step by Step Guide)

How do you wash makeup brushes?

All you need to clean your makeup brushes is water, detergent or a mild soap. The makeup brushes you use daily should be cleaned once a week, the brushes you use are rarely cleaned once a month.

In the best worlds, your foundation brush should be cleaned after each use and if you use the makeup brush for liquid makeup, it should be cleaned after each use.

Decide on a day a week that will be the washing day of your makeup brushes, so you get it in as a routine.

How to wash makeup brushes in 5 steps

To wash your makeup brushes, you need something to clean them with. I use detergent.

It is enough to clean them in the palm of your hand, but there are also grooved cleaning bowls and washing gloves you can use.

I use a bowl with grooves in the bottom, it feels like it will be properly cleaned then. An alternative to washing gloves is a regular yellow dish glove, it works just as well and is cheaper.

1. Bring out a cleaning bowl, glove and detergent

Drop a few drops of detergent on the bottom of the bowl or have a bowl on the side of detergent that you can dip the makeup brush in. If you use a bowl, you can fill it with a little lukewarm water.

2. Moisten your makeup brush

Start by moistening the makeup brush (s) before placing it in the bowl or palm.

3. Circulate around the brush

Circulate around the brush in the detergent and the water so it foams, now you will see how much makeup is released from your makeup brush. Repeat this a few times.

4. Rinse off the makeup brush

Pour the dirty water out of the bowl and pour in fresh lukewarm water and whisk around your make-up brush until the water looks clear and no more make-up or foam comes out.

5. Dry the brushes

Squeeze out the straws so that the worst of the water drains off and place the brushes down with the straws so that the water can drain down.

If you place the brushes in a rack with the straws up, there is a risk that the water will run down into the shaft. This can cause the glue on the brushes to come loose and then your make-up brush will break.

I usually take a towel and roll it up, then I put the brushes on it with a slope down (towards the brush / straw).

What do you wash make-up brushes with?

There are special cleansers for makeup brushes you can buy, but as I said, it works with regular hand dishwashing detergent or a mild soap, shampoo also works to wash with.

I always wash my brushes with detergent because I think it dissolves the makeup in the brushes very well.

How long does it take for makeup brushes to dry?

It is different depending on how dense your makeup brush is. Normally, makeup brushes dry in 5-15 minutes.

Makeup brushes with denser straws take a little longer, while makeup brushes with sparser straws dry faster. Eyeshadow brushes and other smaller brushes dry in just a few minutes.

If you want them to dry quickly, you can, after washing them, take a piece of paper or a towel and squeeze out the straws. I also usually shake the brushes a little quickly to get even more water out.

It is important that you store your makeup brushes in a good way after you have washed them and dried them. Preferably in a stand that makes them stand with the brush upwards.

To wash makeup brushes with synthetic and natural hair

If you have brushes in synthetic hair, clean them with lukewarm water and detergent. Detergent removes both dirt and bacteria, but also excess grease that is stuck in the brush.

Make sure you rinse your brushes very carefully and rinse until the water is clear and no longer foams at all.

Then squeeze out excess water and pull the straws in the right direction. Then let it dry on a flat surface that absorbs moisture, for example by placing it on a terry towel.

Make-up brushes with real hair are washed just as you wash your own hair. You wash with shampoo and conditioner and then rinse extra carefully and also let these dry on a flat surface.

If you take care of your make-up brushes carefully, they will last for several years to come.

How to wash make-up sponges?

Make-up sponges and beauty blenders are make-up tools that really absorb make-up. Even if you soak your makeup sponge or beauty blender before each use, it does not mean that it is clean.

Sponges and beauty blenders need to be changed often, while regular make-up brushes can be used for as long as you like, as long as you keep them clean.

Clean your beauty blender / make-up sponge:

  1. Put a few drops of detergent in a large cup
  2. Put your make-up sponge or beauty blender in the mug with detergent
  3. Pour over water so that they are completely covered with water
  4. Then turn on the microwave for 60 seconds
  5. Remove your beauty blender or make-up sponge from the mug and twist out. NOTE! Be careful not to get burned!
  6. Now you have a pure make-up sponge / beauty blender!

Carefully arrange your makeup

Another way to maintain better hygiene on your makeup brushes and makeup gadgets in general is to review the gadgets in your makeup storage and your bathroom cabinet.

If you have a lot of stuff that lacks a lid, has broken and is almost finished, eyeliner pens that have lost their hat, pressed powder that has been crushed, it is time for a major cleaning of your toiletry bag.

This also creates a dirty environment that is favorable for bacteria.

Clean the mess and clean regularly so that you do not get it dirty and messy where you store your makeup.

You can store eyeliner pens without lids in small plastic bags and the same thing with powder and blush cans.

How often should you wash makeup brushes?

Wash your makeup brushes once a week, especially the brushes you use every day. Put one day a week which is your wash day for makeup brushes. I do it every Sunday.

If you have a specific day of the week, it will be easier to remember and it will become a routine.

Also clean your powder puffs

If you use the small puffs that you get with you in the powder packaging, it is a good idea to wash them as well.

These are usually of inferior quality and do not hold more than a couple of washes.

You can buy puffs separately and in that way get a product that you can clean as many times as you like and you wash them in the same way as your make-up brushes – with detergent and lukewarm water and by then rinsing very carefully.

How often should you wash eye shadow brushes?

You do not need to wash make-up brushes as often as, for example, eye shadow brushes more than once a month.

But I always wash all my makeup brushes at the same time when I’m still washing them.

Washing your makeup brushes regularly makes them last longer. If you are afraid of them, you will not have to buy new ones if you make sure to always keep them fresh…

Is it better with synthetic hair or real hair on makeup brushes?

A rule of thumb that was used in the past when it comes to makeup brushes is that you should only use brushes with real hair for dry products such as eye shadows and powder.

Creamy products such as liquid foundation and concealer are most suitable for using synthetic brushes.

Note, however, that today’s synthetic brushes can be just as soft as the natural brushes nowadays and therefore these are also suitable for dry products.

Can you wash make-up brushes in the dishwasher?

No. First of all, it feels very unhygienic to wash them where you set up dirty dishes.

Then it is very hot water that will destroy your brushes – both the straws, but also the glue that holds the straws will come loose.

Washing your makeup brushes in the dishwasher is absolutely not something I would recommend!

But if you feel that you do not have the strength to clean your make-up brushes once a week because it takes a long time, there are special cleaning kits (machines) to buy.

The quality of the brush

The types of brushes you use have a great effect on the result and a good make-up brush makes the whole make-up much smoother and gives better results.

Even an experienced make-up artist or makeup artist has a hard time getting the make-up evenly distributed on the face or is able to fade out shadows and highlights without really good make-up brushes.

It’s all about using the right brush for the right purpose. Each brush does not always have only one area of use but can be used for other things as well.

A lip brush may also be ultimate as an eyeliner pen for example.

Of course, you should not use the same brush for this, but only the same type of brush. One brush for the lip cream and another similar for the eyeliner.

Also this to keep the bacteria at a distance. A brush for blush and shading can also be perfect to use as a tool for a concealer.

You could say that you can pay as much as you like for a brush or just a few pennies. There are professional brushes that can cost upwards of hundreds of dollars and brushes that cost only a few dollars.

Basically, you can say that you get what you pay for, but there are really excellent brushes around the hundred bucks and the really advanced brushes are for the professionals who make up several people a day.

What happens if you do not wash your makeup brushes?

What can happen if you never wash your makeup brushes is that bacteria accumulate in the brushes which you then get in your face which can show through a sensitive and unbalanced skin.

Dirty makeup brushes are also harder to work with. They will not pick up the makeup as well and it will not be possible to mix your makeup into the skin as well if they are dirty.

If you do not wash your make-up brushes, you will need to buy new ones after a while – it will be expensive in the long run if you have to buy new ones all the time. So my tip is – take care of your brushes.

Having good and well-groomed make-up brushes is one of my best make-up tips that many beginners miss. It is a prerequisite for success with make-up.

Take care of your brushes so they last longer

Regardless of the price range and type of brush, it is therefore important to take care of your brushes with a little extra care because it keeps your skin clean and germ-free and also makes the brushes last longer.

Of course, this is especially important if you are a professional and make up several people, because then you must have more brushes on hand to avoid infecting your customers with skin conditions and the like. And of course, you also know that you have to wash them every day after work.

But even you who only make up yourself for home use should wash the brushes for your well-being.

It is important to get a routine around the whole thing, so it does not get more complicated than brushing your teeth.

Today, there are a plethora of brushes of various kinds and a tip we can give is to start from your favorite makeup brand and also buy their brushes.

You then get brushes that are well adapted to your make-up and since you know that the make-up is of the quality you want, you also get the desired quality of the brushes.


Cleaning their makeup brushes is a must for them to last year after year and not to give you a bad complexion.

A clean make-up brush is also easier to work with when you put on make-up.

You do not need much to clean your makeup brushes, only detergent is enough and it is usually at home.


EE Garcia. (1999). Travel Makeup Brush Set Mini Makeup Brushes

J Leung. Microbiome of Your Makeup Brush

W Sawchuk. 10 skin care habits that can worsen acne

PY Bill. 10 skin care habits that can worsen acne

P Login. 10 skin care habits that can worsen acne

E Todd.  10 skin care habits that can worsen acne


This article has been reviewed by our editorial board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policies.

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