The Top Makeup Brush Cleaners and Why You Need One

A guide to saving your face from a dirty brush, how to clean a makeup brush, and the tools you need to keep makeup brushes germ-free.

Imagine a painter didn’t clean his brushes. The colors would blur, the shapes fall apart, and the artwork result would become a mess. Now, look at your makeup brushes! Every morning, afternoon touch-up, and nighttime look has you caking on product, powder, and pigment onto these brushes. They are the centerpiece of your beauty routine and have front-row access to your face.

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As well as makeup pigment and product, makeup brushes catch oil, dirt, and grime from your skin every time you use them. Even if you wash your face and follow your skin cleansing routine religiously, you will still be delivering that grime straight back into your pores if you don’t give your brushes a thorough cleanse too. You might even find that persistent breakouts start to clear up soon as you tackle your makeup bag brush collection.

What happens if I DON’T clean my brushes?

Yikes! Not cleaning your brush is committing a cardinal sin in the skincare game. But if you need more convincing read on!

1. Bacteria Build-Up.

Bacteria can be healthy (like the stuff you find in Yoghurt), or it can be downright gross. Bacteria in makeup brushes is the second kind. Bacteria build-up in a brush means you’re spreading acne-causing nastiness all over your skin!

2. Breakouts.

Brushes pick up dead cells, excess oil, and other germs (like the bacteria above) and deliver them straight back onto your skin. This can mean breakouts, clogged pores, and redness.

3. Irritated Skin

Your skin doesn’t like foreign substances or build-ups. It wants a pleasant, calm, slightly acidic atmosphere without harsh scrubbing or dirt smothering it. Unfortunately, not washing your brushes contributes to both these things! Cleaning your brushes leaves the bristles soft and supple, delivering a gentler experience and saving your skin from irritation.

4. Viral Infections

We’ve seen enough photos of pink eye to understand why cleaning your brush instead of sharing is a good option.

5. Muddy Makeup Application

The end goal of makeup brushes is to help application. It’s to make you look and feel your best. And grimy brushes can’t do this! This is especially true with beauty blenders and contouring brushes. Keep them clean, or your contour will get mean!

How to Clean Makeup Brushes?

Cleaning your makeup brushes is a bit time-consuming, so set aside half an hour and make sure you give a few hours for the brushes to completely dry.

Start by adding a dollop of gentle shampoo/dishwashing soap/makeup cleaner into a small bowl of warm water. Swirl around your brushes, massaging as you go to remove the gunk. Once done, let air dry for a few hours. While you do need specialized tools for a truly deep clean, this process is a great starting point.

For beauty blenders, it’s a little bit harder. Try using a Beauty Blender Cleanser, like this one at Amazon. Submerge your blender for a few minutes in warm water, dap dry with a paper towel, and allow it to dry. To truly clean, you will need to microwave the blender for a few seconds to kill the last of any bacteria (or bugs).

BEAUTYBLENDER Charcoal Infused BLENDERCLEANSER Solid Pro for Cleaning Makeup Sponges & Brushes, 5.3 ounces BEAUTYBLENDER Charcoal Infused BLENDERCLEANSER Solid Pro for Cleaning Makeup... @ Amazon Amazon Prime

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The Best Cleaning Tools for Makeup Brushes!

For a truly deep clean, you are going to need specialized equipment. To help you make an informed brush cleaning choice, we’ve listed our five favorite tools to help deep clean your makeup brushes!

Sigma 2X Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Glove

Sigma 2X Sigma Spa ™ Brush Cleaning Glove - Pink Sigma 2X Sigma Spa ™ Brush Cleaning Glove - Pink @ Amazon Amazon Prime

What is a makeup brush cleaning mat? It’s a clever rubber mat that uses different textures to clean every brush in your repertoire. And they’ve made this one into a glove to make it super easy for you. Simply sweep the brushes over the mat with a makeup brush cleanser or baby shampoo, give it a rinse, and you’re done! It’s quick, easy, and effective, and is sure to help with your makeup cleaning routine! The downside is now waiting for the brushes to dry.

VERA MONA Color Switch Solo

VERA MONA Color Switch® VERA MONA Color Switch® @ Amazon Amazon Prime

With over hundreds of 5 star reviews on Amazon, this color switch sponge is a fabulous on-the-go alternative to a deep clean. The sponge works to remove pigment, excess product, and dead skin cells from a brush. How? Simply glide the brush across its surface, and you’re ready to go again!

Makeup Brush Sponge Cleanser

JAPONESQUE Makeup Brush and Sponge Cleanser Balm, Coconut Scented, Solid, Mess-Free Formula, Travel Friendly JAPONESQUE Makeup Brush and Sponge Cleanser Balm, Coconut Scented, Solid,... @ Amazon Amazon Prime

Fresh clean Goat-Milk or Coconut scented solid formula delivers instant mess free results, to quickly remove makeup buildup to deep clean your makeup brushes and sponges.

Sigma Dry’n Shape Tower

Sale Sigma Beauty Dry'n Shape Spa - Makeup Brush Cleaning Tool - Wash, Dry and Shape to Restore Makeup Brushes - Makeup Brush Cleaner and Shaper - Holds 18 Brushes Sigma Beauty Dry'n Shape Spa - Makeup Brush Cleaning Tool - Wash, Dry and Shape... @ Amazon Amazon Prime

After washing, it’s super important to allow your brushes to dry, reshaping them as you go. However, this can be a minefield. Any water or moisture left in the bristles will attract bacteria, starting the whole cycle again! Enter the Sigma Dry’n Shape Tower, which allows brushes to hang upside down and drain naturally and fully. It also features a great set of straps to shape the brushes on the go, leaving your bristles smooth, centered, and in place.

Luxe Makeup Brush Cleaner Dryer Machine

Sale Luxe Electric Makeup Brush Cleaner with Makeup Brush Cleaner Solution, USB Charging Station, 3 Adjustable Speeds, Make Up Brush Cleaner to Wash and Dry Your Makeup Brushes, Make Up Brush Clean Machine Luxe Electric Makeup Brush Cleaner with Makeup Brush Cleaner Solution, USB... @ Amazon Amazon Prime

The Luxe is as new-wave as a makeup brush cleaner can get! Luxe Makeup Brush Cleaner and Dryer makes brush cleaning super quick, simple, and offers a seriously deep clean. To start with, you attach your brush to the handy and versatile brush spinning device. Then simply dip into a cleansing solution, and spin away to deeply clean and then dry your brush. Voila! Done and dry in seconds. The internet and beauty experts love this device, and we agree! It makes cleaning a breeze and delivers visible results. Plus, it means you don’t have to wait hours for your brushes to dry! The Luxe takes your brushes from dirty to clean and dry in under 30 seconds.

Some Final Tips to Keep Makeup Brushes Germ Free

You should be washing your brushes weekly if you use makeup every day. If this is too much, try monthly and let your brushes air out after each usage.

Try Investing in a Daily Brush Cleaner, like this one. Simply dip your brushes after daily use to keep your brushes fresh.

Sale Cinema Secrets Professional Makeup Brush Cleaner, Vanilla (4 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)) Cinema Secrets Professional Makeup Brush Cleaner, Vanilla (4 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)) @ Amazon Amazon Prime

However, you choose to go about cleaning your brushes, keeping the backbone of your makeup routine clean and fresh will do wonders for your skin and application. Let us know how you liked these tools and if you have any brush cleaning hacks we missed!

Jen Roberts Glowing Gorgeous

Jen Roberts

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About our Chief Editor

Jen Roberts, is a passionate beauty specialist and blogger with a deep love for skincare and wellness. More about me here.


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