How to clean your makeup brushes on

So you know which brushes to use for contouring and which to for concealing. But did you know that you should be cleaning your makeup brushes? Washing your makeup brushes should be a regular part of your beauty routine. When you use your brushes, bits of makeup, oil, dirt, and even bacteria can get trapped in the bristles. So while it might seem basic, skipping this step can lead to clogged pores and pesky breakouts. Not to mention the fact that quality makeup brushes can be expensive. So learning how to properly clean them is one of the best ways to protect your investment.

Luckily, cleaning your makeup brushes is quick and easy. The first step to keeping your brushes clean is picking up a daily brush cleaner and spritzing it on your brushes after each use (I like Sephora’s Daily Brush Cleaner). Once a week, it’s time for a deep cleaning. (Note that your brushes will need a few hours to dry after a deep cleaning, so I’d recommend washing them after you’ve applied your makeup that day.)

Here’s the right way to deep clean your makeup brushes…

You will need:
• A shallow bowl
• Gentle clarifying shampoo or baby shampoo
• Your sink
• A lint free cloth


  1. Begin by running your brushes under lukewarm water, rinsing out all of the residual makeup. Try to focus on the actual bristles while avoiding the part of the brush where handle meets the head, as this can loosen the glue over time
  2. Fill a bowl with lukewarm water and a squirt of shampoo, and gently swirl your brush tip in the water. If you need to, you can also swirl the brush in the palm of your hand to work up a lather.
  3. Rinse the brush tip under running water once again. Repeat steps two and three until the water runs clear from the brush,
  4. Use a cloth to wipe your brush clean, reshaping the bristles as you go.
  5. Lay your brushes flat on a cloth to dry.

And there you have it! Your makeup brushes will be as clean a whistle. It’s also worth mentioning that there are specially formulated brush shampoos on the market. A gentle clarifying or baby shampoo will do the trick just fine though.

Are your brushes in need of a cleaning?

Be sure to pin this post so that you’ll remember how to properly wash them.

xo Ilana
Team LC

  • Olivia Trotta

    I used a good quality clarifying shampoo, but i found that it left my brushes smelling wet even after theyre dried, does anyone have a resolution for this issue?

    • lin

      Use a gentle foaming face cleanser

  • When you simply want to clean your brushes to remove traces of makeup and reuse at the time, they exist in the market different instant cleaning fluids that do not need water , and only have to apply to the brush and rub it on a clean towel or absorbent paper (such as cooking).

  • AdvocateforSurvivors

    Never thought of that. Great tip.

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  • MST Rokeya

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  • Helena Chung

    Although this sounds like a good tip, baby shampoo is already composed of a gentle formula, hypoallergenic, and paraben free–that’s why it’s made for babies. Thus, I don’t think this is something people with sensitive skin should worry about. Also, baby shampoo is much cheaper than using a face wash or cleanser–~$3 for 20 fl oz for baby shampoo vs $6 for ~3 fl oz for face wash. If it’s safe for babies, it’s usually safe for adults.

    Further tip: I also use baby shampoo to clean my eye makeup in the shower (yes it’s that gentle) b/c I have sensitive eyes that are irritated by even eyeshadows like Urban Decay, unfortunately (tarte is the way to go for sensitive eyes!)–it’s much cheaper than makeup remover.

  • Lola

    I clean my brushes every week. A few months ago, I cleaned a brush and I didn’t use it till now. When I wanted to use it, I noticed a black dots like dirt or dust and it had an intense smell like dirt. I’m quite sure it’s not makeup on it because those spots are very dark and smell bad, and brush was in a safe place so nothing could get to it. Can anybody tell me what that is?

    • Lisa


  • Sylvia

    Have you tried the silicone pot holder? It is great for cleaning your brushes with baby shampoo.