How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

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Cleaning your makeup tools is very annoying, yet it’s an essential part of beauty maintenance. According to most experts, the average woman should wash their makeup application tools about every two weeks to avoid breakouts and bacterial build up.   But let’s be honest  – how often do you really clean your makeup brushes? I’m going to fess up and say it’s definitely not every two weeks.

Everyone has their methods of brush/sponge cleaning, and since i’ve been wearing makeup for what feels like 29 years,  I’ve also picked up a few methods of brush cleaning along the way.  Read on as I share three ways to clean your makeup brushes: 

Method #1: Antibacterial Dish Soap and a Dab of Olive Oil

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes - Dawn Dishwashing Liquid

It may sound like a strange concoction, as olive oil is typically used for cooking, but the oil can also be used as a conditioner for the hair of your brushes. Take a small cup or bowl , and mix a generous squeeze of dish or hand soap, like Dawn “Dishwashing Liquid” ($4.09,, into it. Add a dash of olive oil to the soap in the bowl and mix. Grab your damp, dirty brush, swirl it into the mixture head first, and rinse with warm water. Repeat if necessary and voila! 

Method #2: Unscented Bar Soap

Dove Beauty Bar

Another excellent method for cleaning brushes is with a solid bar of unscented hand soap. This method is similar to the first, as you should first dampen your dirty brush, then swirl it directly onto the bar of soap. One of my favorite brands of all time to use for brush and body cleaning alike is Dove’s Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar ($6.88, Add a dab of olive oil to the center of the soap if desired, then rinse to remove dirt and oil.

Method #3: Brush Cleaner and a Textured Mat

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes - Blvd Cosmetics Brush Shampoo and Conditioner

You can’t go wrong by using a product that’s specifically made to cleanse beauty tools, like Blvd Cosmetics “Brush Shampoo and Conditioner”, ($18.85, Additionally, a textured mat is an excellent way to ensure that your brushes receive the deepest clean possible.

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes - Sigma Brush Cleaning Mat

There are a few higher end versions, like Sigma’s Express Brush Mat ($25,  in existence, but you can also pick up a great textured mat at your local supermarket, or even dollar store. After swirling your damp brush into the cleanser, gently swirl it onto the textured mat, and rinse.

Regardless of the method you choose to use to clean your tools, don’t forget about the handles! Since you use your hands a lot during the day, and are constantly using your makeup brushes, germs tend to linger there as well. The quickest way to clean your brush handles is to dampen a paper towel with rubbing alcohol, then lightly rub the handle of the brush.

Additionally, drying brushes and sponges is also very important step in the cleaning process. If tools are not dried properly, they can become a breeding ground for additional germs and bacteria. Yuck! The best way to dry brushes after cleansing is to hang them vertically.

TTB Tip: Use a cutting board and two large rubber bands to create a homemade drying rack for your brushes, After alternating how your brushes are weaved through the rubber bands, lean the board against a wall overnight with the brush heads facing downward. 

What is Your Favorite Way to Clean Your Makeup Brushes?
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