Our Complete Guide On How To Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Look, none of us are perfect. And sometimes when I look at the state of my makeup brushes I am acutely reminded of this. 

However, finding the time to actually clean your makeup brushes at home is pretty important if you’re spending a lot of money on skin care, or even if you just want your makeup to perform properly. 

With the right products cleaning synthetic makeup brushes can be a quick and relatively painless experience. 

So, if you want to know what you can use to clean makeup brushes and how often you should wash your foundation brush, keep reading this easy to follow guide to washing your makeup brushes (the right way).

How To Clean Your Makeup Brushes_MAKE UP FOR EVER Instant Brush CleanserHow To Clean Your Makeup Brushes_MAKE UP FOR EVER Instant Brush Cleanser

How often should I clean my makeup brushes?

From my perspective, that’s really down to how often you use your brushes, and what you are using them for.

For instance, if you use the same brush for different products you might need to clean your brushes quickly in between uses. 

If you’re using a wet product that stays on your brush you might want to clean that fairly regularly to avoid buildup. 

However, if it's a brush that’s going into the same powder over and over again you can probably get away with cleaning it weekly.

And remember there is a difference between cleaning your brushes (with a brush sanitiser) and actually washing your brushes (we recommend doing this monthly).

How to (actually) clean your makeup brushes

While cleaning your brushes between products and shades only requires a little spritz of a product like the Cinema Secrets Professional Brush Cleaner Spray & Tin 60ml, really washing your brushes can be a more extensive task. 

  • Run your brush under water to remove loose particles of dust and makeup.

  • Next, squeeze about a pea-size amount of brush cleanser into your bowl of warm water. Follow the instructions on your cleanser bottle, since they vary a bit with each formula.

  • Now that your bowl is ready, gently swirl the brush around in circles over the bottom of the bowl. Don’t press too hard. Keep swirling until your brush looks clean.

  • Next, grab your towel and swirl your brush over it to be sure there's no makeup residue left. If your brush is still dirty, you'll see streaks of colour on the towel.

  • When your brush leaves no residue, give it a quick rinse under the tap.

  • After your brush is clean and rinsed, gently squeeze it with the towel to remove excess water.

  • Lay the brush flat overnight to dry.

Our favourite products for keeping your brushes immaculate 

Loved by makeup artists everywhere for keeping their brushes fresh, the Cinema Secrets Professional Brush Cleaner Spray works to clean and condition your brushes on the spot. Great for switching up shades when you're using eyeshadow, this brush cleaner provides the perfect sanitizing solution. Simply spray on your brush and let it dry, no need to rinse.

A fast drying, alcohol free formula
A fast drying, alcohol free formula

The IT Cosmetics Brush Love is another one step cleaning solution that allows you to clean your brushes quickly and easily. This skin loving formula contains ingredients like Vitamins A, C and E, Antioxidants and Peptides to cleanse the brushes while remaining safe for sensitive complexions. It’s an easy to use and fast drying, alcohol free formula that can be sprayed on instantly without rinsing.

This brush cleansing palette provides superior results

A palette with grooves like the Real Techniques Brush Cleaning Palette is going to give you superior results when cleaning, compared to a regular bowl. Made from performance-grade silicone, this ergonomic palette fits easily over the hand. Simply add one drop of brush cleaner to the palette and swirl the brush into the gel and water across the various surfaces until the brush is clean. Rinse the bristles and the rest the brush on the palette to dry.

This brush cleansing palette provides superior results

The elf Brush Shampoo is an effective and affordable way to keep your brushes squeaky clean. This alcohol-free formula conditions bristles while cleansing, so you can achieve soft bristles without damaging your brushes. Just use a small amount in your palette or massage a small amount into the base of your bristles with water. Work it through the bristles until the water runs clean and set aside to dry.

For a brush cleanser that leaves the bristles of your brushes extra soft we strongly recommend the Bobbi Brown Conditioning Brush Cleanser. This gentle brush cleaner is specifically designed to increase the longevity of your brushes. Not only does it work effectively to condition your brushes but it also removes all traces of residue. Gently massage through damp bristles and then rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.

This professional quality brush cleaner dissolves even the most waterproof and highly pigmented of products on both natural an synthetic brushes. With a mint-oil extract, this fast-drying, hygenic formula cleanses away bacteria and leaves a hint of fresh scent.

Brand and product inclusions are at the sole discretion of Adore Beauty. We do not seek or accept payment from brands or individuals listed in our guides.

Shop This List of Cleansers for Makeup Brushes

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