Creative Ways to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

creative ways to clean brushes

Cleaning your brushes might not be the most exciting task when it comes to your beauty routine, but it is one of the most important. Dipping your brushes into endless blushes, bronzers, foundations and shadows can lead to quite a lot of beauty buildup. If you don’t take the time to clean your tools, you could be applying bacteria to your face along with the latest shimmery shadow. Proper cleaning will minimize breakouts, improve the appearance of your makeup and lead to a longer life for your brushes. Keep reading for the classic way to clean, new inventive gadgets that make cleaning fun and more.


While there are new inventive ways to clean your brushes, you don’t need to spend a lot or invest in a fancy gadget. The simple route works just as well, and will only take you a few minutes (depending on how many brushes you want to clean).

1. Take your brush collection and run them under warm water. Try not to get water onto the base of the brush – it could loosen the glue, causing the brush to break.

2. Put a dollop of shampoo into the palm of your hand. Gentle baby shampoo works best.

3. Carefully rub each brush into the shampoo.

4. Run each brush under warm water, gently rinsing all of the shampoo out with your fingers. Make sure to rinse well to get all of the soapy residue, makeup and bacteria out.

5. Squeeze out excess water – you’ll know it’s thoroughly clean when the water is clear.

6. Rest the brushes on a fresh towel.

7. Give each brush one final wipe on the towel to get rid of any extra water. Let them dry overnight – it the morning you will have clean, soft brushes that look like new!

Makeup Sponge: If you are using a makeup sponge, the way to clean it is pretty similar. Begin by running the sponge under warm water, then rub it around in some gentle shampoo to get rid of the makeup. Rinse it until the water runs clear, squeeze out all excess water and let it dry overnight on a towel.


Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette: This silicone mat makes it easier to really get your brushes like new. Apply a drop of brush cleansing gel onto the pad (try Real Techniques’ Deep Cleansing Gel) and add warm water to the mix. Swirl each brush around on the palette until its clean, then rinse the bristles. Squeeze out extra water, and let the brushes rest on a towel until they’re completely dry. ($15)

Check out this demo to get the full idea of how to clean with the palette:

Sigma Dry’n Shape Tower: This mega tower allows you to dry up to 92 face and eye brushes without ruining the bristles or changing the shape. This size is ideal for makeup artists who are cleaning tons of brushes at once, but there are smaller sizes available. When brushes are dried properly, their life will be extended immensely. To use the tower, you essentially place your brush handles, upside-down, into ‘snaps’ that will hold them in place. Place each set of bristles into elastic bands that will rid the brush head of any water while keeping the original shape of the brush. This is a game-changing product. ($69)

2X Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Glove: Not all brushes are created equal! This glove is very similar to the Real Techniques palette, but there are specific textures for different types of brushes and uses. The different textures allows you to get the deepest, most effective clean possible. The little silicone bristles on the thumbs allow you to reshape brushes and squeeze out any excess water – it’s an ingenious all-in-one device. ($39)

Cinema Secrets Makeup Brush Cleaner: This instantaneous brush cleaner took the makeup world by storm a few months ago, and it’s clear to see why. So many people complain that brush cleaning is too time consuming, but that’s not an issue with Cinema Secrets. Rinse-free and quick drying, this is ideal for in-between brush cleaning. Pour a bit of the brush cleaner into a little dish, dip your brush in and remove. Wipe it clean on a paper towel. That is it. Reshape and let your brushes rest on a towel to dry. ($36 for 32 oz)

Sephora Dry Clean Solid Brush Cleaner: This solid cleansing sponge contains argan oil to give your brushes a deep clean. Run the bar under water pre-cleansing, then lather up your brushes/sponges. Swirl them on the included silicone pad to get rid of any makeup and bacteria. Rinse the brushes off in water and sweep on the pad until they’re completely clean. Give the brushes a final rinse, squeeze out excess water and let them dry on a towel. This compact duo is great for traveling. ($14)

Benjabelle Brush Tree: This innovative brush tree allows you to dry your brushes vertically without taking up much space. It can hold 14 large brushes or up to 42 eye brushes. After cleansing, pop your brushes into the silicone grippers. Once your brushes are dry, you can collapse the tree for easy storage. ($35)

Make Up For Ever Instant Brush Cleanser: Possibly the easiest way to clean your brush. Spray a bit of the cleanser onto a tissue and wipe your brushes. Repeat until there’s no residue. Use a new tissue to get rid of any excess product, and you’re done! ($22 for 4.9 oz)


As a rule of thumb, try to wash your brushes around every two weeks. This depends on how often you use your brushes, and varies for everyone, but it’s a solid guideline. You can tell your brushes are in need of a wash when the bristles aren’t as soft as they should be or when your makeup doesn’t glide onto your skin well.

Don’t make excuses and put off brush cleaning – it’s so important to take care of them. Dirty brushes can lead to cakey-looking makeup, breakouts and other things you definitely don’t want. Turn on some music and turn your brush cleaning session into a therapeutic moment of relaxation. I promise you will begin looking forward to your biweekly cleaning!

Tell us: how often do you clean your brushes? What’s your go-to cleaning method? Let us know in the comments below!

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