I often get asked about cleaning makeup brushes and it’s something people often neglect, so I have been wanting to do a post on it for a while.

I thought whilst hygiene measures are being brought to people’s attention at the moment, now would be a good time to discuss the importance of cleaning your makeup brushes.


Whether they are for personal or professional use makeup brushes can harbour lots of germs. Professional brushes (I would like to think) are always kept as clean and germ free as possible between clients.

It’s our own personal makeup brushes that can be the problem so let’s look at why.

How often are you cleaning your makeup brushes?….Honestly! Where do you store your makeup brushes?

Quite often people think “I’m only using them on my own face and that’s clean” and part of that is fair enough, you aren’t going to cross contaminate with anyone.

But due to this line of thought makeup brushes can often be left for months….and months without being cleaned.

Often makeup brushes are shoved in a makeup bag or rolling round a handbag and goodness knows what they are coming into contact with.

There isn’t just makeup on your brushes there’s skin cells, sweat, bacteria and dust all of which can’t be seen, yet you are rubbing round your face daily.

Often if people are suffering with breakouts and skin conditions cleaning your makeup brushes can be a good place to start.

But hey, I’m not judging my professional kit is kept in tip top condition but I’m human and with my own brushes I can be just like the majority of people out there with my infrequent, sporadic brush washing.

Firstly there are 2 ways of cleaning your makeup brushes

  1. Clean your brushes with an alcohol based cleaner.
  2. Wash your brushes with soap and water

I hold my hands well and truly up and say that I only wash my personal brushes. I don’t really suffer with breakouts at all, if I did I would be sure to clean them after every use.

How often do I wash my personal makeup brushes?

I’ve now tried to get into a good habit with my personal brush cleaning. So on a Sunday if I’m not doing a wedding I tend to be in very light makeup if I leave the house or no makeup if I’m staying in. So I find this is the best time to clean my makeup brushes, they then have all day and night to dry and are nice and clean ready to use Monday morning.

What do I use?

Washing up liquid! Shock horror! I find this is the best thing at quickly and effectively breaking down the makeup especially products like foundation and concealer.

How do I wash them?

I use a Real techniques brush cleansing palette. It’s a rubber device that fits over your hand with little bumps on it.

Firstly I squeeze a little bit of washing up liquid onto the palette. Then in turn I wet each brush and rub it into the liquid rubbing over the bumps to help break down the product.


At intervals I clean off the palette and add more washing up liquid until all the brushes have been done.

Some larger foundation brushes may require a second clean, I do find the more frequently you clean them the quicker and easier it is to do as there is not the same amount of build up.


Once they have all been soaped up I use warm running water, whilst I rub them around the clean mitt to get rid of all the soap.

I then carefully squeeze the excess water from the bristles, dry off excess water gently on a towel, reshape the bristles before laying them on the top of my radiator to dry.

How do I store my makeup brushes?

I don’t keep my makeup brushes in my makeup bag or handbag, they are stored in a pot of their own, on my window sill. If you want to be a little more hygiene conscious maybe that pot should be in a cupboard to help protect against dust falling on them.

Things to remember when cleaning your makeup brushes

Clean them thoroughly but be gentle with the bristles – Being rough and scrubbing hard will just distort the bristles, use circular motions and a light touch.

Don’t soak your brushes – Brush manufacturers advise that you don’t allow excess water to collect in the ferrule (metal bit that connects bristles to the handle) of the brush as this can affect the adhesive that holds everything in place resulting in the body of bristles to come loose. So keep your brushes pointing downwards whilst under the running water.

Using an alcohol based brush cleaner – As I said earlier in the post if you suffer with breakouts or have acne prone skin, as well as washing your brushes weekly I would clean after each use with 99.9% alcohol.

Keep brushes flat whilst drying – this prevents water running down ino the ferrule. There are devices to hang the brushes upside down however I have found laying flat works fine.



Obviously these brushes are used on all my clients so strict hygiene measures for these is a must! Between each client my brushes are cleaned with a 99.9% alcohol based cleaner to remove colour residue and any germs/bacteria.

After each day in the studio or after each wedding I wash thoroughly each and every brush (and there’s a lot) and lay them out to dry.

Once they are dry I still spray over them with 99.9% alcohol to ensure they are germ free.

I hope this post has been useful and if you have any questions please do get in touch.


1 Comment

  1. Mandy
    September 20, 2020 / 10:08 am

    I found this all very helpful thank you

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