Clean makeup brushes

On the long list of things you should be doing more often, cleaning your cosmetic brushes falls somewhere between calling your grandmother and vacuuming. However, with each passing day, your cosmetic brushes gather dust, dirt, oil, and bacteria, meaning they’re not as effective at applying your makeup and, more importantly, you’re leaving dirt on your skin for months (that’s gross, I knows).

Now, before you feel disgusted and rush home to start cleaning your makeup brushes, double-check to make sure you’re doing it right, because there’s an art to learning how to clean your makeup brushes. Sometimes, cleaning makeup brushes incorrectly can actually damage them, causing the bristles to loosen and fall out sooner than you want. To ensure all makeup brushes are properly cleaned, we decided to walk you through the steps to cleaning your makeup brushes like a pro.

To prepare

Of course, the first step to getting cosmetic brushes sterilized is to get the right supplies. There are five things you need to wash your brushes well: Gentle shampoo, vinegar, water, a small bowl, and a lint-free towel should do the trick.

To wash

First, rinse the bristles of the brush in lukewarm water and always let the water run along the bristles, which prevents water from seeping into the base of the brush, which can weaken the glue and shorten its lifespan. Then Apply a small amount of gentle shampoo (like baby shampoo) into the bristles while rinsing.

To repeat

Continue lathering and rinsing, adding more shampoo if needed, until the water runs clear. To protect your brushes, apply light pressure while waving the brush in your palm.


In a small bowl, mix one portion of vinegar with two portion of water. Dip the clean brush in the solutions and swirl it around for about a minute. Try not to fully submerge the brush. Then rinse.

If you are in a hurry, you can skip this step. Your cosmetic brushes won’t suffer if they miss their vinegar dip from time to time.


Squeeze excess water out of the brush while reshaping the bristles. Lay the brushes on a lint-free cloth (like a tea towel) to dry and turn the brushes over after a few hours to ensure the best shape. Let the brushes dry overnight. Most brushes dry in 8 to 12 hours.

Depending on how often you use your cosmetic brushes, you should give them a full sterilization every one to three weeks.

Related: Cosmetics product collections