Pro Tips For Cleaning Make-Up Brushes

Working as a professional free-lance Make-Up Artist, my brushes and kit are constantly being used. They get grubby and can become damaged very quickly!

In this Blog Post, I will share my simple routine of how I wash and sanitise my makeup brushes. If you would like more in-depth instructions and to find out why cleaning your brushes is so important. You can check out my other post The Importance of Cleaning Your Make-Up Brushes.

How Do I Clean My Brushes?

The bristles on Makeup Brushes can be made from natural hair or synthetic fibres, or a mixture of both. Some brush manufacturers specify a particular product or method of cleaning their brushes. But most brushes can be cleaned by following the steps below. 

What you will need
  • Bowl
  • Warm Water
  • Liquid Soap – Brush Cleaner/Baby or Mild Shampoo/Dish Cleaner
  • Cold Water
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Spray Bottle
  • Cotton Pads
  • Old Rag/Towel (optional)
  • Silicone Brush Cleaning Pad (optional)
Step 1 –

Fill the bowl up with warm water and swirl the brush around in the bowl. Being careful to not fully submerge your brush in to the water! 

Step 2 –

If you have a silicone brush cleaning pad, pour a small amount of the liquid soap on to this. Take your wet brush and swirl it around the silicone pad, picking a little bit of the liquid soap. Carefully move your brush in a circular motion over the bumps on the cleaning pad. 

If you do not have a cleaning pad, you can do this step by hand. Take a small amount of soap and rub the bristles carefully between your fingers or on the palm of your hand. Repeat if necessary. 

Step 3 – 

When the brush is producing clear or white bubbles instead of dirty ones, it’s time to rinse it out. I do this by replacing the dirty water with clean, cold water, dipping the brush in then squeezing out the excess. If you have an old towel or rag, you can gently buff the brush on to it to remove some of the excess moisture. If your brushes are extremely dirty or you used dark coloured makeup, you may have to repeat this step and change the water frequently.

Step 5 – 

After completing these steps, next I sanitize the brush handle. This is an important step because when you clean the bristles, some dirt and bacteria will get pushed up on to the handle.

Take a cotton pad, soak it in Isopropyl Alcohol and rub this on the brush handle. This will not only remove dirty marks but will also sanitise the brush handle, so it is now free from bacteria.

Step 6 – 

Next, it’s time to dry your brushes. Handle wet brushes carefully and gently to retain their shape and keep them looking like new. While the bristles are still wet, you can mould them slightly in to their intended shape. This will help the bristles to dry in the correct form and reduce the risk of them bending out of shape whilst drying.

Lay brushes flat on a surface that the brush heads can hang off the side of, such as a windowsill or shelf. Keep them out of direct sunlight and away from moisture. Brushes will take anywhere between 4 – 8 hours to dry, so this is best done last thing at night so they are clean and dry to use in the morning!

Pro tip –

Spray Isopropyl Alcohol over the brush bristles. This will sanitise and disinfect the brush heads before use and will dry in seconds!

How Often Should I Clean My Brushes?

This will vary from person to person. Someone who does their make-up daily should be washing their brushes at least once a week and sanitising with IPA before each use. Someone who does their makeup once a week should still be regularly sanitising their brushes before use, and washing with soap at least once a month.

Pro Make-Up Artists should sanitise and disinfected between each client. They should never use the same lip/eye brushes on different clients without cleaning and sanitising beforehand. Brushes should be washed at least once a week but preferably every day after use!

For more pro tips on looking after your makeup products, check out my blog post Looking After Your Make-Up.

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