How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

We’re some of the first to say how important quality makeup brushes can be, but what’s equally important is keeping them clean and sanitized so that they will last for years and years. There are a variety of brush cleansers on the market and various tutorials to help you get the job done, but it really shouldn’t be that complicated. We’re here to simplify things and show you a very easy way to clean your makeup brushes with just baby shampoo and water!

We get it—cleaning makeup brushes may not seem like the most glamorous of tasks, but it’s something that should always be a part of your regular beauty routine. Just think about all the dirt and oil that accumulates on those bristles and how terrible it can be on your skin; especially if you continue using them in that condition. Skipping good, regular cleansing can lead to clogged pores and breakouts. Not only will cleaning your tools help keep bacteria off your face but it will also condition those expensive brushes—they should last a very long time, given the investment to purchase the best brushes (which we recommend).

All you need to grab is some baby shampoo and some makeup brushes that are ready to be cleaned. Shall we begin?

This tutorial is quick and easy but very effective. First, run your brush bristles under lukewarm water. Make sure to keep the bristles pointing downwards, avoiding the area where the handle meets the head. If water gets in there, it can loosen the glue that holds the bristles together!

Next, dispense a small amount of baby shampoo into the palm of your hand. About a nickel-sized amount should do the trick.

Now, swirl the brush bristles into the baby shampoo until it creates a rich lather.

After you feel you’ve worked out the dirt and oil that has been trapped in the bristles, rinse the brush head under lukewarm water again.

Squeeze the excess water out of the brush by pulling it in between your thumb and the side of your index finger. If the water that is released is dirty, go ahead and repeat the cleansing process again. Once the water runs clear, you know you’ve done a good job and can move on to the next step.

Use a cloth or a paper towel to dry off the bristles, reshaping them as you go.

Don’t forget to clean your other makeup tools, like your eyelash curler! Just take a little baby shampoo in between your fingers, massage it in, and then give a quick rinse.

Lay your brushes flat to dry over night. 

That’s it! Pretty painless, right? Next time you think your brush has seen better days, think twice before running out to buy a new one. Try giving this method a go first!


You’ll also like:

READ: 7 Steps to a DIY Manicure and Pedicure At Home


READ: Homemade Honey and Lemon Face Mask

READ: 18 Beauty Essentials for The Everygirl

  • Sabine

    I would definitely recommend to let the brushes point downwards to dry!

  • lwh13

    Perfect! I would have never thought of baby shampoo.

    Warm Regards,

  • How do you recommend to clean a beauty blender? Also, what’s the length of time that those should last?

  • Anne

    The best brush cleanser is a liquid castille soap like Dr. Bronner’s. All natural, so gentle. I wrote about brush cleansing on my blog recently:


    • I completely agree. NOTHING has ever cleaned my brushes like Dr. Bonner’s!

      • Dee

        I concur! Plus, it is a lot safer.

  • I really needed a reminder to do this, so thank you! And you’re right, it is so simple (so I should do it more often!)

  • Anna

    Baby shampoo is also a great eye makeup remover as well! Plus its cheap 🙂

  • How often should this be done?

    • I try to clean my brushes every week or second week (depending on what kind of makeup I’ve used during the week). Sometimes I get lazy and go a few weeks without doing it but it has made such a huge difference that I usually try to just make 5 minutes to do it on a Sunday night when I’m getting ready for the week.

      Sam xx – how to make the most of your twenties

  • KrisKrisBoBis

    Baby shampoo is actually a horrible product if you look at the chemical ingredients. Even the EWC and the Skin Deep chemical database says to stay clear of it if you are worried about chemicals on your body, especially your face. I’d personally use a different cleanser to wash those brushes but it’s a great reminder!

    • BB

      Read some more; Baby
      shampoo would not use lidocaine in their products given the risk of accidental
      oral ingestion of soap suds by children and In August 2012, Johnson & Johnson
      pledged to eliminate formaldehyde, parabens, triclosan, and phthalates from all
      their baby products, and in May 2013 announced that they had done so. Also, I could not
      find J&J baby shampoo on the ewg website. I
      have used baby shampoo to remove my eye makeup for years and especially after
      my eye doctor told me to do so!

      • jamie

        I’ve been an ophthalmic surgical tech for 12 years, and when the surgeons are directing the patients who’ve been diagnosed with lid scurf, they always insist on patients using a cotton washcloth with a drop of J&J baby shampoo as an effective treatment.

  • Baby shampoo and face cleansers work best for cleaning your makeup brushes.Cleansing brush wipes also fast, effective, and smell good.

  • Maegen Kennedy

    Thanks for good tips for cleaning makeup brushes.Baby shampoo is a good idea and I will definitely try it.Such a good post and I found this is useful. These are so cool advice for cleaning make up brushes. I will definitely try this way of cleaning! Thanks a lot for sharing. If you want to disinfect and clean your brushes you must use a disinfectant wash or save up money and buy brush cleaner. It’s the safest way to make sure you are not spreading those bacteria all around your face!

  • Maegen Kennedy

    Great ideas and tips for cleaning makeup brushes. Indeed is a good idea. I also have some related DIY tips on this stuff. Fill a bowl with lukewarm water and a squirt of shampoo, and gently swirl your brush tip in the water. If you need to, you can also swirl the brush in the palm of your hand to work up lather. Rinse the brush tip under running water once again. Repeat steps two and three until the water runs clear from the brush, Use a cloth to wipe your brush clean, reshaping the bristles as you go. Lay your brushes flat on a cloth to dry.You can just try it. Hope these tips will definitely help for cleaning brushes.

  • Jamie Salve

    If you have expensive brushes or lack time, consider the Lilumia as well. Probably one of the best ways to clean and refresh your brushes.

  • As important as good products to use when applying makeup, is to use appropriate measures to achieve the best results brushes. However, it is useless to have the best brushes in the world if you do not keep in good condition and cleaned as often as necessary. Do you want to learn how to clean them properly? You’d teach all the tricks!
    Did you know that poor hygiene of our brushes makeup can trigger an outbreak of acne or even an infection in the skin of our face? And what a dirty brush can spoil your cosmetics favorite stop making pigment correctly? Therefore, it is very important to maintain a routine cleaning and frequency appropriate for our brushes are ready for use and will last much longer in perfect condition.

  • Maegen Kennedy

    Wonderful tutorial on how to clean your make up brushes. Of course, this tutorial is quick and easy but very effective. Indeed is a good idea. I also have some related DIY tips on this stuff. Fill a bowl with lukewarm water and a squirt of shampoo, and gently swirl your brush tip in the water. I will definitely forward these ideas to my colleagues.

  • Ronald Colvin

    Properly cleaning your makeup brushes is a must. Most irritation are caused by residue of uncleaned makeup.