How to clean makeup brushes the right way might seem obvious, but it’s a little more complicated than just wash, rinse, and repeat. Yes, it can be a bit of a pain, but washing your brushes regularly makes a world of difference. Considering they’re an essential part of your makeup routine—what good is the perfect foundation if you have nothing to apply it with?—it’s worth taking the time to learn to treat them right.
In addition to looking better on your vanity, clean brushes actually perform better. Dirt, oil, and makeup buildup can weigh down brush hairs, making them harder to work with—which can mean streaky foundation and patchy blush down the line. Dirty brushes can also harm your skin as well. “We know that makeup brushes grow bacteria and fungus,’ says Loretta Ciraldo, M.D., dermatologist and founder of Dr. Loretta skin care. That bacteria paired with the aforementioned dirt and oil can lead to breakouts and even dermatitis in some cases.
To help you avoid that, we asked Ciraldo and makeup artist Kasey Spickard to share their best tips for keeping brushes squeaky clean. Read on to have all your questions answered, including how often to wash your brushes, how to do it, and the best cleansers for the job.
How often to clean makeup brushes
No offense, but you’re probably not washing your brushes often enough. “Clean brushes are essential,” says Spickard, who says that ideally you should be disinfecting your brushes after every use with a liquid cleanser (this is nonnegotiable if you’re a makeup artist). But he gets that’s not exactly realistic for must of us and says a deep clean once a week is fine. Ciraldo recommends giving them a good scrub at least once every two weeks, more if there’s visible makeup buildup, and to be extra diligent about cleaning your makeup sponges, like Beautyblenders, since they’re more prone to bacteria.
What to use to clean makeup brushes