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Why you need to clean makeup brushes and how to do it

Why you need to clean makeup brushes and how to do it Why you need to clean makeup brushes (photo: Freepik)

Makeup brushes are used regularly, so it's no wonder they quickly become dirty. It might seem that you can simply shake the dry pigment off the bristles, but makeup brushes are something that needs to be cleaned thoroughly.

WebMD explains why you need to clean your makeup brushes and how to do it correctly.

Why you need to clean makeup brushes

Makeup brushes easily become a haven for microbes that can harm your skin - causing irritation or leading to infection. After all, leftover makeup, oils, and dirt create an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.

Also, residual pigment can cause the bristles to stick together, preventing the even and clean makeup application. Therefore, washing your makeup brushes every 7-10 days is recommended.

How to clean makeup brushes properly

There are several common household items that can be used to clean makeup brushes.

Some of the simplest options include:

  • dish soap: can effectively remove dried-on makeup residue
  • vinegar and lemon: this combination is a great disinfectant that effectively kills microbes and leaves brushes with a pleasant scent after cleaning
  • baby shampoo: works well for cleaning makeup brushes and is gentle on the bristles.

The step-by-step process of washing brushes consists of the following stages:


Take the brushes and rinse only the tips, using warm running water. This will help wash away makeup residue.

However, try not to wet the entire soft part of the brush, as warm water can dissolve the glue that holds the handle and bristles of the brush together.

Wash the brush with a cleanser

For this step, you can use dish soap or a mild shampoo. Pour a tablespoon of either of these shampoos into a bowl of warm water.

Do not use bar soap, as this can lead to the bristles drying out.

Lather and massage the bristles

Mix shampoo and water in the bowl, dip the tips of the brushes into the mixture. You can also massage the tips of the brushes in your palm to create more lather and clean them from makeup residue.

Rinse the bristles

Rinse the tips of the brushes again with running water.

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How to сlean makeup brushes (Illustration: Freepik)

Repeat the process

Repeat shampooing and rinsing until you notice that the water running from the brush is clear. This is an indication that there are no more makeup residues on your brushes.

Squeeze out the water

Once you're sure the brushes are clean, squeeze out the excess water from the bristles using clean, dry paper towels.

Dry the brushes

Now that the brushes have partially dried after squeezing, lay them on a dry towel.

Make sure the tips of the brushes are hanging off the edge, not lying flat on the surface or standing upright. If you lay the brushes upright, water can run down the bristles and lead to loosening.

Usually, brushes dry within a day or so. You can also leave them to dry overnight.

Don't worry if your makeup brushes feel stiff after cleaning. To address this issue, apply a little conditioner to the bristles and rinse with water. Then let the brushes dry. This method helps soften the bristles.

Earlier we wrote about whether it's possible to sleep in contact lenses.