A good quality makeup brush can last for years so it’s a good idea to take care of your tools! Here’s how to clean and maintain your brushes.


Purchase a brush cleanser. This will allow you to disinfect the brush hairs so as to eliminate bacteria and prevent infections (especially around the eye contour area), blackheads and pimples. Just spray a little product on a paper towel and rub the brush over it, gently, as if you were applying eye shadow on the paper towel. You can also spray the product on the brush hairs and again, rub it over the absorbent paper. But don’t soak your brushes in the cleanser, the alcohol could dissolve the glue and the brush hairs could come unstuck. For the same reason, don’t use a brush cleanser for a sponge applicator, it’ll come unstuck and disintegrate.


Use a mild laundry soap product (for delicate fabrics) or a mild shampoo (such as baby shampoo). Pour a few drops in the palm of your hand with a little water. Wet the brush hairs in warm water, keeping the hairs pointing downwards and rub the brush in the palm of your hand in a diagonal movement. Don’t crush the brush hairs when using a circular movement; it could mess them up and they could remain fixed in the wrong position. Rinse the brush in warm water, keeping the brush hairs pointing downwards.

Be careful; don’t leave your brushes in a bowl or a glass filled with water. The water could spoil the paint on the brush handle or even make the hairs come unstuck. Always use running tap water.

If your brushes are made of synthetic hairs and if you’ve used them to apply foundation or concealer, the product may be fairly difficult to remove. In this case, use a regular laundry detergent and swish your pre-wetted brush in it, without using water. Rinse, and then start again if needed. It’s the best way to get rid of oily residues. I’ve tried it with dish detergent and it’s not as effective as laundry detergent. If your brush hairs have a lot of static electricity, if they’re stiff or messy, you could use a conditioning treatment after washing. But try to find a silicone-free or wax-free conditioner which can be rinsed completely. If not, the product could create pimples on the person being made-up. I’ve used the Clean Conditioner by Neutrogena for a long time and I’ve never had a problem. You should really rinse well, maybe several times but it’s worth it. Your brush will certainly be softer. I don’t often use this technique because good quality brushes rarely need it. Cheap brushes, on the other hand, can greatly benefit from a conditioner.

People often think that there’s no difference between a 50$ brush and a 10$ brush. As with meat, the brush hairs come from different parts of the animal. A filet mignon is not the same as a coupe de palette. The same goes for goat hairs (goat hairs are the most common hairs used for makeup brushes). There’s even a quality classification for the hairs used in makeup brushes, very similar to meat,. « Goat Hair AAA » vs. « Goat Hair A », there’s certainly a big price difference! So AAA brushes don’t often need conditioner. I’m still using one every day that I bought in 1992!

To dry your brush, use a clean paper towel, roll the brush in it and squeeze gently to remove excess water, then take out the brush and wrap your thumb and finger around it, in a circular movement, not too firmly, you don’t want to take off the hairs. This way, you’ll spin-dry the brush and allow it to keep its shape.

To dry it, leave it on the edge of a counter or table, (keeping a good distance between each brush) and let the hairs air-dry.

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