They’re an essential piece of beauty kit we can’t do without. Much as make-up artists love to wax lyrical about blending, dabbing and smearing with your finger, nothing beats the precision of a brush. But how often do we clean these germ-traps and what’s the best technique? We asked beauty expert Isa Lavahun for her advice on how to clean makeup brushes.

Why you should keep your makeup brushes clean

Their soft, dense bristles and balanced handles help us sculpt, shape and swirl to ensure our make-up looks flawless. But according to a survey by Cosmetify, much as we love to use them daily, we’re not always sure how to care for our brush collection.


Research by the brand suggests 26% of British women have never cleaned their make-up brushes, and 68% have shared their make-up brushes with others.

Hands up if you’re guilty of one or both of the above… Top reasons for our slackness with the soap dish were found to be: ‘I didn’t know they needed cleaning,’ (39%) ‘They didn’t look like they needed cleaning,’ (28%) and, ‘It’s too much effort’ (19%).

But brushes are an important part of our beauty kits, and not cleaning them regularly could mean you’re adding extra dirt, oil and old make-up to your face when you’re applying fresh make-up. This isn’t good for your skin and can mean your makeup doesn’t sit as nicely on your face.

How to clean makeup brushes video


Ecotools Make-Up Brush Cleansing Wipes, and their Make-Up Brush Shampoo are both available on Amazon.

Top tips for cleaning your brushes

To help give your make-up brushes the treatment they deserve, Isa Lavahun, beauty expert at Cosmetify, shares her top tips on how to clean, dry and prep them for a perfect makeover…

1. Wash them on a weekly basis

“Make-up brushes should be cleaned once every week – you most certainly wouldn’t leave the same layer of make-up on your face for a week or longer, so don’t let it sit on your brushes either,” says Lavahun.

“Not only will the brushes be softer on your skin, you’ll also be reducing your chances of clogging your pores and causing acne breakouts and dermatitis.”

2. Use a specific make-up brush cleanser

“If you can’t find one or don’t have the time/finances to do so, you can use a shampoo or soap you have in your home. This will work temporarily, but it may not be as effective at cleaning your brushes and removing the make-up residue [as a proper make-up brush cleanser would be].”

3. Invest in a make-up brush cleaning mat

“Brush cleaning mats have a number of different textures, levels and layers that will help clean even the deepest of bristles. All areas of the mat should be used with the cleaning of each brush,” explains Lavahun.

“Once you’ve wet your brush, apply the cleanser and massage this around the palm of your hand to create a lather, then you can then rub the brush around the different levels of the mat – watching as the make-up residue rinses away.”

“The one rinse may not be enough though,” she adds. “Once you think you might be done, rinse the bristles and see if the water is running clear, if not, repeat the process.”

The Express Brush silicone brush cleaner mat (available on Amazon) has 7 different textured sections to clean your brushes.

4. Prepare the brushes for drying

“Before putting your brush out to dry, ensure you squeeze out all excess water and pat dry with a towel. You can then either lay your brushes down flat on the towel to dry, or you can invest in a make-up brush dryer which will hold your brushes in place,” says Lavahun.

“Just ensure not to let your brushes dry standing up as the bristles may fall and bend, making them less effective when putting on make-up.”

Alternatively, you may want to consider an electric cleaner to save time. The StylPro electric makeup brush cleaner will spin clean and dry your brushes in no time, but be aware that spinning brushes could damage their bristles.

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