Caring for your Brushes

In my previous post on makeup brushes, I talked about which brushes I use the most (and how), and my top 3-4 tips on picking the right brush. I also promised to update you on how I keep my brushes clean so here goes…


First of all, can we please take a moment and align (oh God! corporate speak!) on the fact that brushes need cleaning? Maybe? Yes?  Why, you ask? Here are some key reasons:

  • Dirty brushes are filthy. Over time, the bristles collect makeup pigment, other residue from foundation or any products applied, dust (since they are usually out in the open on your vanity) and germs in general. Not cleaning them can make skin prone to break-outs.
  • What happens to your hair when you don’t wash it? It changes texture – it becomes dry and coarse (rough) over time. The same happens with your makeup brushes, specially non-synethic ones (made from real goat/squirrel hair). This can make your makeup application uneven and patchy.
  • Each time you use a brush, some of the product is left over on it; this means, the next time you want to use the same brush with another colour, it may transfer the existing colour to the new pan, or create a weird mixed colour when you try to apply it. This can be a nightmare, specially with bright contrasting colours. This is specifically troublesome when applying eye-shadow and trying to blend.

Spot Cleaning
This is brush cleaning for lazy people, or if you have a limited amount of time or brushes. There are a number of brush cleaners available on the market by brands such as Sephora (AED38 in Dubai), Sephora Natural Citrus,  Make Up Forever,  No 7, MAC and more. You can either clean your brushes using this spray everyday or two days, or even while applying your makeup (in need of a quick clean brush) .

Here’s a quick GIF/video on how I spot clean. All you need is your makeup brush in question, a paper towel or thick tissue, and the cleaning spray.

Spray 3-4 pumps of the cleanser on to the paper towel (I get impatient sometimes and spray directly onto the brush. Sephora asks you not to). Rub or gently swipe the brush across the paper towel and you should be able to see the colour coming off the brush. The brush is ready to use within a few minutes as it not wet (I feel some innuendos coming on here).

Washing Brushes
Although spot cleaning helps temporarily, it is kind of like cleaning your hands with a hand sanitizer (I hate those things!). Once every two-three weeks (more if you use your brushes more often), you should deep clean your brushes. The GIF below shows you how I do it.

Immerse just the bristles under water. Be sure to point it downwards to avoid any water seeping into the barrel (funnel? handle?) of the brush. Take some anti-bacterial soap in the palm of your hand (could be dish washing liquid, hand soap, I have even used face wash) and swirl the brush head to lather and foam it up. You should, once again, see some colour running off the brush. Once done, rinse the soap off the bristles, and gentle wring the water out, while trying to restore the shape of the brush.

Letting them dry

FullSizeRenderOnce the brushes are all washed, be sure to dry them properly before use. Most importantly, remember to:

  • Restore the shape of the brush bristles while they are dry
  • Lay the brushes flat on top of a clean towel, or hanging off the edge
  • Try to place them at a slightly downward facing angle to avoid any of water or moisture getting into the wooden base, as this can cause the wood to crack. Even in situations where the brush is not wooden, water can cause some of the glue to weaken and the bristles might become loose or shed

Let me know if you have any tips to clean brushes quicker/better. Happy washing! x


  1. Thanks alot for the quick response. Perfect timing, it’s Friday I have a little time on hand and can actually wash the brushes today. One quick question, since it’s hair we are talking about,shouldn’t we use a little shampoo to wash them?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. J&J Baby Shampoo also does a great job cleaning brushes/sponges! Which one is your favorite? I’ve used the Sephora and MAC one but for some reason I’m not thrilled about the solution that’s been sprayed onto the brushes!

    Liked by 1 person

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