When was the last time you cleaned your brushes?: A PSA and How-To

Recently, I was complaining to a couple of friends about how I had to clean my makeup brushes. It really is a chore. Important, but a chore. Their response was “You can clean your makeup brushes?”

…   😦

Yes, yes you can. And you should! These are brushes that are in contact with your face often and they should be cleaned!

I’m sure many of you know this already, but there’s probably plenty of people that just don’t really think about cleaning your brushes – especially if you’re new to makeup. So, I took a lot of pictures today of the process I use to clean my brushes. Everyone is a little bit different, but this is the way that works for me.

So let’s get cleaning! (While grumbling, because I always grumble about having to do it.)

What You’ll Need:

  • Brushes
  • Empty jar or bowl
  • Shampoo (baby shampoo is good)
  • Water
  • Towel for drying


  • Gather all your brushes that you’ve used. I have some brushes that I don’t use for weeks and so I don’t wash those every time. But these are the ones I’ve used since the last time I washed them all. Well, most of them. I started taking pictures after already washing a couple brushes, so those aren’t in this picture. I just threw mine into the sink since I have a huge sink. but sometimes I place them on a washcloth. It’s up to you on this one.
    I’d also like you to take note of the super bright pink cast on the top of my stippling brush there (second one in from the right). You’ll see a huge transformation at the end.


  • All my research (and I research the CRAP out of everything) told me to use a gentle shampoo for cleaning my brushes. I have a travel size of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo that works really great for this! But I’ll admit that the first time I did it, I just used shampoo that I had around. It worked just fine and I didn’t notice a difference, but I still think it’s probably nicer on your brushes to use a gentle shampoo. (Also, you can totally see my already-cleaned brushes in the background there. As well as a makeup bag and other junk.)


  • I know it’s a bit hard to see, but I just put a dollop of shampoo on each brush. A bit more or a bit less depending on the size of the brush. This picture was really, really hard to get. It kept coming out just blurry.
  • Note: You should wet your brush down before putting on the shampoo.


  • Here I am in the middle of washing this particular brush! You can really see the bubbles from the shampoo and the dirty water!


  • Look how dark and gross this water is!! This is my most-used eyeshadow brush and I’ve been trying some darker shadows recently, so it explains why it’s so dark, but it’s still kind of startling to see!


  • This is what it looks like once I’m at the end of the cleaning. I generally just move the brush in circles around the jar. Sometimes I’ll have to shampoo and rinse a few times to get the brush totally clean. The brush above took two shampoos. I just keep going until it looks like the picture above.


  • After I’m done cleaning, I set them all out on a towel to dry overnight. I let them dry like this in order to better keep their shape. I don’t fan them out or rub them on the towel or anything along those lines. Just wash, maybe shape a bit back into their original shape with my fingers (if needed after a vigorous washing), then on the towel.


  • Look at how white that stippling brush is now!!! SO WORTH THE TIME. You can also see how clean the pink brush came out as well.

I hope that was easy to follow and helpful to at least someone. I think it’s so important to clean your makeup brushes. I believe the recommended amount of cleaning is once every other week? Maybe? I’m not sure, but I tend to be more like every three or four weeks. Life gets busy!!

As always, I hope you enjoyed and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!!

Cheers, everyone! 🙂


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