Photograph of Megan Knight
Sunday, the 22nd of March, by Megan Knight

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes, and Why You Should!

When cleaning brushes in a professional makeup artist's kit, sanitising them immediately is incredibly important. But, when it comes to your own personal makeup brushes, we can all be guilty of leaving them for FAR too long!

When cleaning brushes in a professional makeup artist’s kit, sanitising them immediately is incredibly important. But, when it comes to your own personal makeup brushes, we can all be guilty of leaving them for FAR too long! There is also a huge difference between washing your own makeup brushes that you only use on yourself, to cleaning kit brushes which will be used on many people’s faces. The main difference is that professional kit brushes must be thoroughly sanitised, whilst your personal brushes just need to look and feel clean.

Why you should clean your makeup brushes

One of the top reasons to clean your makeup brushes is that when fewer bacteria and makeup residue reside between the bristles, your makeup will glide on much more smoothly (not to mention more cleanly)! If you’ve noticed your skin has been behaving differently, try washing your makeup brushes. We recommend washing your makeup brushes at least once a week for the best results.

For washing your brushes, you will need…

  • Your hand or a special brush cleaning mat.
  • Either a scent-free hand soap like dove, or a specialist brush cleaning solution.

We recommend this brush cleaner: Real Techniques Makeup Brush Cleansing Gel, 150ml 

And this brush cleaning mat: Makeup Brush Cleaner Mat

How to clean your makeup brushes

  1. Start by dampening your brushes using cold water. The cold water ensures the brush fibres don’t become loose and this helps when adding a solution for it to soap up. You can also use the hand soap as this works just as effectively.
  2. Squirt a generous amount of the solution on your cleanser mat (which has suckers on the back that help it stick to the sink) and move in gentle circular motions with the brush in the solution. It will start to lather up. You can also lather the brush up in your hand if you don’t have a cleansing mat.
  3. Slowly rinse and then scrub back on the mat, or your hand, to see if any more makeup comes off. It’s very surprising the first time to see how much has been hiding in your brushes!
  4. Lay your clean brushes onto a clean towel and leave them overnight to dry. This ensures the brushes don’t get crushed or dry strangely flat.


Top tip – Ensure all the brushes are dry before use as this will affect how the products apply.

Cleaning a Beauty Blender or makeup sponge

Cleaning a beauty sponge can be a lot less satisfying than cleaning makeup brushes, as it is difficult to gauge if they are thoroughly clean on the inside. Sponges should be replaced every few months alongside cleaning frequently to keep it as sanitary as possible.

  1. Start by running the cold tap and putting your sponge under the water, giving your sponge a squeeze.
  2. Add your cleaning solution to the sponge and very gently scrub against the cleaning mat. Use your hand if your sponge appears fragile to avoid causing damage.
  3. Keep rinsing the sponge by squeezing and watch the makeup on the surface disappear!
  4. Place your sponge on a clean towel and allow it to dry naturally overnight.


Top tip – Apply your makeup with a damp sponge for a dewy foundation application


Written by Megan Knight, edited by Bethany Lewendon

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