How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Clean your makeup brushes.  Sounds simple, yeah? Recently, a friend of mine commented on Facebook that she had never cleaned her makeup brushesNever.

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes - Beauty Chaos

While I’m not quite that bad, it did make me think about how often I wash mine.

Not often enough, if I’m being honest.  And really, how many of us are guilty of not cleaning makeup brushes often enough? I bet that number is pretty high.

So on a recent trip out, I was stoked to find a silicon makeup brush cleaning mat.  Though I had my own technique thus far for cleaning my brushes (basically wash them in my hands and then my hands get all raw from all the soap), I saw one of these a while ago on a website called The Grommet and had been thinking of getting one.

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes - Beauty Chaos

Fortunately, the universe smiled on me and I happened to find one while out shopping.

I’m pretty sure I got this makeup brush cleaning mat at TJ Maxx and I’m pretty sure it was around $4.  But you can find them lots of places these days, including drugstores, beauty supply stores, etc.

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes - Beauty Chaos

There are lots of methods by which you can wash your makeup brushes.

Some sites say you should use oil.  Some say you should use a gentle baby shampoo, lint free brush, and swirl them around in water.  Some companies have even designed a soap specifically for washing makeup brushes.

Personally, I use the simplest method possible.

I take whatever shampoo I have on hand (not my expensive stuff, but I usually have a bottle of something cheaper lying around somewhere).  After securing the mat to the bottom of the sink, I wet my brush by gently running it under the faucet.  Then, I put a small dollop of shampoo onto the brush, and swirl the brush gently against to mat to get the makeup off.  Finally, I rinse the brush and swirl it on a clean area of the mat to get the soap off.

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes - Beauty Chaos
Yes, this is my kitchen sink.
When I rinse the brush, if the water is not running clear I will repeat the steps above until it does.

After I have rinsed all the soap out, I gently squeeze the brush to remove excess water.  Finally, I lay the brush down on a clean towel while I finish cleaning the other brushes.

Recently, I discovered a genius hack for drying makeup brushes.

It works wonders.  I’ve made a short tutorial video to go along with this post where I show how to hang recently washed makeup brushes from a towel rack with hair elastics.  It’s super easy, and then you don’t have makeup brushes lying around your bathroom or kitchen waiting to dry. Check out the video:


Easy peasy, right?  Cleaning your makeup brushes is so important for so many reasons.  Aside from the obvious you’re putting these against your face and they collect dirt and germs and stuff, there’s also the fact that makeup brushes simply don’t work as well when they’re dirty.  Especially if they have months, or even years (ew) of makeup buildup on them.

So yeah, clean your brushes, ‘kay?  Great.

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  1. Kelsie October 27, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    I need to do better at cleaning my brushes, but I try to at least clean them once every few weeks!

    1. Amy October 29, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      Me too. I know I should clean them every week, but I hardly ever do it that often. I think if I get them once a month, I’m doing okay!

  2. Shelby October 27, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    I have so many friends who NEVER do! It’s like the biggest no no! I have the sigma mat to clean my brushes and love it! I also love showing people that have never washed there brush what happens when you use dawn dish soap! They get sooo grossed out!

    1. Amy October 29, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      I know, it’s so bad for your skin not to wash them! I’m sure that there are at least a handful of people whose skin issues could be solved by washing their makeup brushes. I, unfortunately, am not one of those people, but I’m sure my skin would be much worse if I didn’t!

  3. Linda October 28, 2017 at 12:19 am

    Honestly, I have never thought about cleaning my make up brushes. Thanks for sharing this, I have just found something to do this weekend.

    1. Amy October 29, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      Glad I could help!

  4. Kristen Jones October 29, 2017 at 6:10 am

    I need to get a brush cleaning mat so bad!! I’ve never seen them at TJ Maxx before…I’m def going to be on the lookout!

    1. Amy October 29, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      I didn’t realize I needed one until I got one! It makes washing your brushes so much easier.

  5. Taylor Mobley October 29, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    I clean my brushes every other day. I hate dirty brushes!!!!! And I clean my brushes for clients after every single use + sanitation!

  6. Tara October 30, 2017 at 9:51 am

    i definitely don’t clean my brushes often enough! but i have the same tool and it works wonders!

    1. Amy October 30, 2017 at 10:02 am

      This mat is seriously magical!

  7. Mattie November 3, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    I need to clean my makeup brushes asap! It’s been way too long.. whoops!

    1. Amy November 3, 2017 at 4:20 pm

      Haha, I know, every time I clean mine it feels like it’s been forever!

  8. adriana November 3, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    These are great tips! I try to clean all of my brushes once every week or so. It really helps!

    1. Amy November 3, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      I agree! It keeps my skin from breaking out.

  9. Hannah November 3, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Oh I definitely need to clean mine and definitely need to clean my beauty blender!

    1. Amy November 3, 2017 at 4:23 pm

      How do you like your beauty blender? I’d like to try it but I admit I don’t know the difference between that and a regular makeup sponge.

  10. Shannon | Mom Without Labels November 4, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    I need one of these mats! I’m the worst at cleaning my brushes but your way sounds super easy!

    1. Amy November 5, 2017 at 8:34 pm

      The mat is definitely a game changer. Made things so much easier!

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