How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes According to The Experts

Got acne? There’s a chance (like a big chance) that your cystic acne is caused by using dirty makeup brushes. Most of us don’t take the time and the care to clean our makeup brushes properly, and as a result, our brushes accumulate bacteria, which then gets transferred to our skin (read: major breakout).

Think about it: Dirt, germs, allergens, bacteria, dust, dead skin cells—and more all sit on your brushes. So, when you use these brushes to apply your makeup, you’re not only transferring all that bacteria to your precious products, you’re also transferring the bacteria to your skin. Worry not. Never ones to talk about a problem without providing a solution, we’re  here to show you how to clean your makeup brushes the right way.

Keep scrolling to see what Sephora makeup artists, Sharon Mindanao, recommends! 


 “Start by running your brushes under lukewarm water to rinse out the residual makeup,” says Mindanao.  “Next, fill a small bowl of the water on the side, add one squirt of a gentle shampoo like Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Shampoo ($4.92), then swirl your brushes in the mix.” If you want to avoid shampoo, but still don’t want to purchase a specialized product, Mindanao recommends using an antibacterial soap like The Honest Company Antibacterial Soap ($4.67).

When using a bar of soap, she says you can simply swirl your brush on the soap, and then rinse under lukewarm water. The final step would be ringing the water out of the brush from the base up. Finally, lay your brushes on a clean towel to dry.  Never ever put your brushes in a cup to dry. They should be laid flat or hung on a makeup tree holder like a Collapsible Air Drying Tower Brush Dryer ($11.99)

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Johnson's Baby Baby Tear Free Shampoo ($8.57) ($4.92)

2 / 10

The Honest Company Antibacterial Bar Soap ($5.19) ($7.51)

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M.A.C Brush Cleanser ($35.69)

4 / 10

LEOKOR Makeup Brush Tree Holder ($19.99) ($10.59)

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Eminence Organic Skin Care Natural Brush Cleanser ($17.65) ($14.04)


I like using the Éminence Organics Natural Brush Cleanser ($14.74). I also found that the makeup brush cleanser from JAPONESQUE Makeup ($14) is also great! Sprays like these are quick-drying and don’t require water. “All you have to do is spray the product directly onto the soiled brush. Once you’ve sprayed the product on the bristles, wipe the brush on a clean napkin. Continue to spray and wipe until the brush is clean,” says Mindanao. “I recommend doing this each day after use to have your brushes last longer.

6 / 10

It Cosmetics Brush Cleaner ($38.96)


For the best clean possible, Mindanao recommends using a solid brush cleaner like the Japonesque Solid Brush Cleaner ($20).  This is the best method to quickly dissolve makeup and impurities and deep cleanse and condition your brush bristles. “If you’re using a solid cleanser for the first time, start with moistening the brush head or sponge and swirling gently over the balm surface until a lather has lifted away makeup buildup and brush or sponge appears clean. Thoroughly rinse and gently squeeze out excess water. Dry excess moisture with a terrycloth or paper towel. Finally, reshape brush bristles and lay flat to dry on a clean paper towel or dry your brushes on a Makeup Brush Tree Holder like the QGAKAGO 28 Collapsible Air Drying Tower Brush Dryer ($11.99). Using a tower dryer helps protect the shape of your brush’s bristles after washing.

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SEPHORA COLLECTION Solid Brush Cleaner ($28.47) ($23.49)

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QGAKAGO Makeup Brush Tree Holder ($13.99) ($11.99)

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beautyblender blendercleanser solid ($16)

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Beauty 2.0 Color Switch Brush Cleaner ($7.49)

Which products do you like to clean your brushes with? Tell us below!


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