Makeup Brush Cleaning – The Do’s & Don’t

So, Hun when was the last time you cleaned those makeup brushes? Well now that we are in isolation probably last week because you were bored in the house (yes, I know…Tiktok on the brain). We do not clean our makeup brushes as often as we should, and we only clean those tools when they are dirtyyy! So now it’s time for change!

I hear ya, it’s a chore…you don’t have time…they are that dirty…Bla Bla Bla.

As a professional makeup artist I clean my brushes after each and every single use (yes Hun I can see that shocked look on your face!), this is to avoid cross contamination and to ensure that that gorgeous bright pink shadow isn’t going to now go on my next client who wants a golden glow and I’m sure she doesn’t want the previous clients skin cells rubbed all over her face!

In the salon I use Isoclean on my brushes which is a clear anti-bacterial liquid cleanser, I’ll pour it onto a piece of kitchen roll or onto a cotton pad and gently swirl my brushes into the product. It quickly removes dirt and cleans 99.9% of bacteria. It’s vegan and cruelty free and won’t transfer any residue onto your skin. You can buy this directly off their website or through their Instagram. This is probably the most famous brush cleaner for Makeup artists.

I know what you’re thinking, its only your face those brushes are touching and your skin is clean, so what’s the drama? – however looking after those brushes will help keep your skin and your brushes clean but will change your makeup game and give you a longer life out of those beautiful brushes!

So…let me tell you 5 simple steps on how to clean those brushes.

  1. Know when its time to breakup with your brushes

There isn’t a shelf life on brushes but sometimes we just need to throw those beauties away! Frayed bristles and shedding hairs just aren’t going to do anything to help you get that perfect blend! At this point the purpose you bought them for just won’t be working! The shape of the bristles is so important to achieving the look you want. So, if those bristles look like they have been electrocuted or you end up with more brush hairs on your face than on the brush itself…it’s time to say goodbye!

Brushes are so much cheaper now than when I started as professional makeup artist 6 years ago. Brands such as Morphe, Spectrum, Peaches and Cream (my personal favourites) have brushes starting from only a few pound. I remember paying £38 once for a single MAC foundation brush! I personally don’t notice a difference between natural hair and synthetic brush hairs so I wouldn’t worry when shopping around.

  1. Clean them weekly!

Yes, you heard me! Weekly…as a minimum! Make it part of your weekend routine and give those brushes a good clean. You will notice how much easier and quicker they are to clean when you clean them on a more regular basis!

I have hundreds of makeup brushes and all though I clean them after every use I will still clean them all again at the weekend. It doesn’t take me long – I’ll put some music on and get them all out – it’s amazing how therapeutic it can be.

  • Give your brushes a deep clean

During that weekly wash I will clean my brushes differently, as I have more time to spend cleaning the handles and ferrule of the brushes too (the ferrule is the metal part of the brush that holds the end of the bristles), I like to make sure the whole of the brush is free from any dirt or makeup.

 I have a Cleaning mat from Sigma which I use, it fits into the bottom of your sink and sucks into place. I then pour shampoo all over it – I used any shampoo (except baby shampoo – I find this dry’s anything out!). Il slowly run the tap and individually wet my brushes and swirl them onto the mat. The cleaning mat I use has different bumps and lines on it, so it massages the shampoo into the brushes making sure they are squeaky clean. Rinse any suds out under the tap – squeeze any excess water out of the brush and leave to dry.

Alternatively if you don’t have the worlds biggest brush collection like me and you only have a few brushes to clean I would recommend you use the Morphe Brush Cleansing Balm – it comes with its own little cleaning pad to massage the brush hairs, one I have is Eucalyptus chill and it smells amazing. With the balm you simply swirl your brush into the balm to create a lather, rinse out your brushes and wipe the balm clean once you’re finished, easy peasy babes!

  • No, I don’t want no scrubs

Treat those brushes with love Hun! When your cleaning your brushes its important to only gently swirl your brushes into whatever you’re cleaning them with. Scrubbing the living daylights out of them will trash the bristles and your brush will never look the same again. Goodbye good blending! Naturally as you swirl your brushes into cleaning products the product travels up and down the bristles cleaning them, so you won’t get them any cleaner by being rough with them. So slow down, take your time and give those brushes some love, make those brushes last a lifetime!

  • Drying your brushes out

You need to make sure before you reuse your brushes that they are perfectly dry. In the salon I’m lucky enough to have duplicate brushes so I can allow each brush I use to dry out before I need to use it again, however if you only have one set of brushes then swirl them after cleaning into a dry cotton pad or piece of kitchen roll.

When doing your weekly brush wash, I will lay all my brushes out overnight on a towel to dry, Ill swirl the brush into my hand to return it to its natural shape then leave to airdry. If it’s a nice sunny day lay them outside on a towel. If in the house, you have your heating on then you can place them over the top of the radiator (be careful the radiators aren’t hot or this will dry out and potentially crack your brush handles if they are wooden).

Don’t be tempted to use your brushes if they aren’t completely dry or when you get makeup on them it won’t blend into your skin and your makeup will look patchy (not a good look babe!)

So, those are all my tips on how to best look after those brushes, now you have no excuses! Get those brushes out and say goodbye to bacteria and bugs and say hello to fresh clean bristles!

I hope you have enjoyed reading; I have included links below for all the products mentioned so you can up your brush game in an instant!

Thanks for reading Hun!

Take care,

Stay safe babes,

Lauren Lily Lea xxx


Sigma cleaning mat –

Morphe Brush cleansing balm –

Isoclean –

Peaches and Cream Brushes –


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