how to keep your makeup tools clean

The other day, watching a makeup tutorial live stream with Patrycja Dobrzeniecka on Instagram by Vogue Polska it got me thinking: how do you keep your makeup brushes clean?

As someone who is a lot more au naturale than makeup heavy – largely because I have super sensitive skin and most products (other than certain loves like Clinique) are no good for my skin – I don’t use a lot of makeup and, therefore, have never really paid attention to the hygiene of makeup tools.

Until now.

Also, I don’t really use a lot of makeup tools in the off chance that I do apply makeup. I find using my fingers a lot steadier and user friendly.

Watching the live stream and seeing how dirty the makeup brushes got throughout (well, not dirty per se … more covered in the product the Dobrzeniecka was showcasing), I thought: how do you clean your brushes afterwards?

Well, according cleaning your tools is super important because “your makeup brushes are a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and other microorganisms”.

Yup! Makes total sense.

As the continues: “Would you really want to take a paintbrush and smear bacteria all over your skin?”

Ah, no thanks!

So, how do we keep our makeup tools clean and bacteria free?

As it turns out there are countless YouTube tutorials on the topic (click here, here and here for just a few).

An article on by Chloe Hall breaks it down further by dividing the process into cleaning and washing.

According to Ms Hall, we should be cleaning face brushes used for foundation, concealer or power, “once a week”, and “eye brushes or brushes that you’re using for different shades, clean in between uses”.

OK. Got it. Clean weekly.

And when it comes to washing our brushes, in her article Ms Hall says (quoting makeup artist Ashleigh B. Ciucci), this should be done monthly, “with gentle soap”.

Or a “brush cleanser”, according to

For those (like me) who love Clinique (and if you also have sensitive skin), you could use the Clinique Makeup Brush Cleanser.

OK. So. According to some websites you could also just clean your brushes with soap and water, but if you’re like me with sensitive skin – I’d go with a cleanser like the one from Clinique.

A 5-step process

Quoting “beauty experts at RY”, an online beauty retailer, lists 5 steps to follow when cleaning your makeup brushes:

Step 1: Choose your favourite makeup cleanser.

Step 2: Run the brush under the tap to wet it using lukewarm water. Take care not to let the handle end of the brush where the bristles attach get wet, as this will damage the glue and encourage the bristles to drop out. Focus on cleaning the end of the brush.

Step 3: Add some cleanser to the brush and swirl this around, pressing the bristles into your palm with a circular motion and getting a good lather. You can use a brush cleaning mat for this if you prefer. Then wash the bristles again under the tap to get rid of all the suds and grime.

Step 4: Squeeze the bristles downwards between your finger and thumb to get rid of the excess water.

Step 5: Lay the damp brush on some kitchen towel overnight to dry.”

However, ‘Step 5’ seems a little subjective.

According to, you should always “let the brush dry with its bristles hanging off the edge of a counter … never let your brushes dry on a towel – the bristles can turn mildewy”.

Mmm … mildew on your face? No, thanks.

So, there you have it. For those who use makeup brushes, it’s super important to keep your tools clean.

x G.

PS How do you guys like to clean your makeup brushes? Any tips?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: