So, let’s get right to it… When was the last time you cleaned your makeup brushes? 

Whenever I ask this question of a client in my chair, I am often met with a deer-in-the-headlights sort of expression that tells me all that I need to know.  We are all guilty of it; myself included – with my personal brushes, I mean.  So if your brushes are not feeling quite as soft as the day you first bought them, here are a few ways to bring their sexy back.


First and foremost, proper sanitation and hygiene practices help to keep you skin free from acne, and in some cases, diminishes the spread of viruses like conjunctivitis and skin rashes.  The tightly compacted bristles on your makeup brush can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria as they pick up the dirt and oils found on your face.  Extra special attention should be paid to tools that make contact with the more moist parts of the face, such as around the eyes and lips.  Let’s be honest, pinkeye is not cute.

In addition to health reasons, dirty brushes will hold you back from getting a beautiful end result.  When dirty, the fluffy brushes used for your face and blush will cause your product to apply blotchy or streaky; dirty shadow brushes will cause your shadow pigment to look muddy.


Sanitize & Quick Clean – You want to disinfect your makeup brushes after every use.  An easy and affordable way to do that is by keeping Wet Ones on your vanity and gently wiping down your brushes after use.  Or you can invest in a daily brush cleaner spray like the one from Sephora.  These formulas are not only anti-bacterial, but also quick drying for transitioning between products and colors, or changing your makeup look from day to evening.

  • For larger, fluffy brushes, keep your Wet One wipe or paper towel moistened with brush cleaner flat and gently swirl remove products.
  • For smaller brushes, gently pinch the bristles between your thumb and forefinger using a wipe or paper towel moistened with brush cleaner and wiggle the brush back and forth until clean. 
  • MUA TIP: Do not soak the bristles and be sure to reshape the brush after cleaning to prevent fly-aways.

Deep Clean — We suggest a weekly deep clean for brushes. Pick a day, example Sunday night, and try to develop a routine.  We recommend baby shampoo for real hair brushes and Dawn dishsoap for synthetic brushes.  Usually eye shadow and blush brushes are real hair, foundation and concealer brushes are synthetic.  Follow the directions below, just eliminate the baking soda. 

Super Deep Clean – Like you, your makeup brushes deserve a long, warm bubble bath from time to time. I like to give my brushes a really deep clean at least once a month.  My favorite cleaning combination is a 1tsp of baking soda and 1tbsp baby shampoo mixed with 1/4cup of warm water.  The key to this cleaning method is not to overdo it.  Makeup brushes are porous, so a bit of this formula on the tip of the bristles will be enough to clean the entire brush.

  • Sanitize brushes first to clean to break down excessive oil buildup and bacteria.
  • Dip the brush into the cleaning solution, then on a flat surface-like a plate- make small gentle circles.
  • Rinse brushes in warm water and squeeze excess water with a dry paper towel.
  • Reshape bristles and lay flat or hang dry.
  • MUA TIP: Avoid getting water in the ferrule of the brush (the metal piece that holds the bristles together and attaches bristles to the handle) to avoid rusting and to keep the glue from breaking down.  No one wants to end up with a bald brush!

Regardless of the size of your brush collection, you have made a financial investment into making it what it is.  That said, if you take good care of your brushes they will take good care of you, keep you acne free, and will be tools in your makeup arsenal for years to come.

Happy scrubbing!

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