How To: Easy Routine for Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes (Video)

It’s like wearing a retainer. You know it’s good for you but no one does it quite often as they should.

Cleaning your makeup brush regularly is the best way to ensure the life of your products. It helps your makeup apply more evenly and prevents contaminating the skin with oil, dirt, or bacteria. In an ideal world, you’d be able to clean your brushes after every use. However, in today’s busy world, ain’t nobody got time for that. Instead, you should aim to give your brushes a thorough cleanse about once every 2 weeks.

I used to loathe brush cleaning because cleaning even one brush seemed to take forever. I would used my fingers in a claw-like position to work soap into the bristles. However, no matter how long I agitated it for, it seemed like there was always more where that came from. I just couldn’t get all the makeup out.

It wasn’t until I started using a brush scrubber that I really began to see results. And I found that, although I still didn’t “look forward” to brush cleaning day, I eagerly anticipated the joy of seeing my brushes like new again.

I use this egg-style scrubber that I found on Amazon. There are many similar ones on Amazon and in retail stores these days, but this one has been working well for me so far.

I wrote out the instructions but then realized some steps may just be easier to see in video form. You’re spoiled for choice today because I’ve included both the video and the written instructions below (after the jump). Don’t say I never did anything for you.


  1. Wet the brush with warm water. Wet from the side and not in the direction of the handle to avoid damaging the glue that holds the bristles in place.
  2. With the scrubber on your finger, apply a few drops of brush cleaner to the surface. Avoid applying soap to the brush directly as, again, it can get lodged up in the base and damage the glue. I use Elf Brush Shampoo, which goes for just $3 a bottle and lasts quite a while. My roommate uses beautyblender brand soap. While I also have this and use it for my beautyblenders, for my brushes I think I get away just fine with the cheaper stuff.
  3. Start making strokes with the brush across the scrubber surface, against the grain of the ridges. Alternate these with circular motions. Rotate the brush every few strokes to make sure you are getting all bristles.
  4. Turn the brush on its sides and make sure to scrub those areas too.
  5. Alternate scrubbing and rinsing with water (both scrubber and brush), adding more soap if needed. You will gradually apply more pressure when scrubbing to access the product further and further buried in the bristles.
  6. When no more product shows up in the soap lather, rinse and towel dry. Set aside to air dry. I rest my brushes on their side on a paper towel with the handle end on the raised edge of my sink. Alternatively, a drying rack may be a useful option, especially if you use lots of brushes.
  7. Repeat for your other brushes. The round ridges at the top of the scrubber egg can be used to clean smaller brushes, such as those for eyes and lips.

If you currently go longer than 2 weeks between brush cleanings, it can take quite some time to get all the grime out the first time you use one of these. However, as many things in life, maintaining is much easier than establishing. After a routine gets established, the improved performance of your brushes (not to mention healthier skin) may alone be enough to help you stick with it.



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