How To Clean Your Makeup Brushes (And Why You Should)

Ok Zebra’s, a make-up blog? What gives?

So you’ve shopped The Zebra Effect until the lions come home and your uber sytlish on-point outfit has just landed at your address (hooray)!

A few weeks ago, Rosie showed us how to add a flourish of colour to any monochrome do. Well, rocking just the right make-up can really set your look off, in just the same way!

But if looking after your hard working make-up kit is something you haven’t got around to doing, this blog is for you. Without clean and hygienic make-up brushes on your side, you’ll never get the look and feel you’re after.

That’s right Zebra’s, it’s all about this little pin you guys keep re-pinning – this hot topic is trending right now. This one’s for you!

Why bother cleaning your brushes?

Any beautician will tell you that achieving the flawless makeup look you’re after is as much about the brushes as it is about the make-up. Therefore, purchasing a few good quality brushes is one of the best investments you can make when it comes to your make-up!

The very best brushes can last 10 years or more. But if you don’t clean them and look after them, you are opening yourself up to many skin and health problems which cause breakouts, acne and even infections!

Think about it: you run your brush over your face every day. Even clean skin transfers oil to the bristles which become a breeding ground for germs. After a while, your makeup brushes harbor a build-up of bacteria, viruses, and fungi, which cause skin irritation and redness. Not the sort of look you’re going for!

That’s why it’s so important to clean and dry your brushes carefully, on a routine basis. Clean brushes mean a clear complexion, a longer brush life and a saving on your wallet as well!

How often should you clean your brushes?

Your everyday foundation and concealer brushes should be cleaned weekly. If you are prone to acne, cleaning your brushes carefully even more frequently will help control breakouts and prevent the spread of germs.  In fact, on those days where you have particularly bad spots, it’s a good idea to apply concealer with a clean cotton bud instead, especially if the skin is broken.

Cleaning your main make-up brushes weekly will prevent a build-up of product which can cause the bristles to stiffen and become abrasive to the skin. Any brushes you use around your eyes should be cleaned every fortnight, and any other brushes you use can be cleaned monthly.

How should you clean your brushes?

There are lots of makeup brush cleaners and products available on the market, including this nifty brush cleaning mat, (which we totally love!) but you can use shampoo or hand wash – just avoid using anything too heavily scented or made from animal fat (which will dry out the bristles and make them prone to breaking).

There are a few quality anti-bacterial hand washes available from the supermarket or chemist which are not heavily scented – these are ideal if you don’t want to spend too much money on specialist products, and they work just as well.

Here’s what to do next:

  1. Mix a small amount of hand wash in a clean cup or bowl of warm water (one part hand wash to four parts water is about right)
  1. Gently wet the bristles, keeping the base of the brush head away from soap and water as much as you can. The glue holding the bristles in place can disintegrate with too much moisture or detergent, and will cause your brush to shed bristles. 
  1. Swirl the brush in the soapy water and gently agitate it to release the dirt and grime, then rinse the bristles in clear, warm water. 
  1. Squeeze out excess water with a clean towel, then carefully reshape the bristles so they dry in place. 
  1. Don’t let your brushes dry on a towel as they can become mildewed, and avoid standing brushes upright where the moisture will leak back into the brush head. Let the brush dry with its bristles hanging freely off the edge of your bench to dry into a perfect shape.

Cleaning makeup brushes

(Image thanks to

If you use any sponges, these will also need to be cleaned – plus, do take note of the expiry dates on your products and make sure you discard them once the date has passed; you don’t want any nasty bacteria on your skin!

Replace old brushes once the bristles start to feel hard or stick together.

Here’s our top Zebra insider tip for getting make-up brushes cleaned!

Clean your brushes in the evening as you are removing your makeup for the day. Mornings are busy, and while you’re spending time cleansing your skin, cleanse your make up brushes too. This practice will help you get into a routine and make sure your brushes stay clean.

Now go forth and add those sultry lips and lashes to your Zebra look!

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