Cleaning Makeup Brushes 101

True confession time. In my younger days I never even thought about cleaning my makeup brushes. 


So how do you clean your makeup brushes? Do you clean them? If you don’t, then maybe this post will motivate you to do so. Did you know that not cleaning them leaves them full of bacteria which then transfers to your face and can cause breakouts and skin irritation? You wouldn’t consider not washing your face, but you should also be cleaning your brushes.

In the past I’ve used whatever hand soap happened to be on the counter and just put some on the brush, roll it around on my hand, rinsed and called it a day.  Then I tried the same very technical technique using shampoo thinking maybe it would be better for the bristles. Recently I’ve been seeing people talk about an actual brush cleaning mat and thought I’d better give it a try and see for myself.

I was planning to order a mat from Amazon (this one is cheaper online?) when I was in Marshall’s one day and found one very similar to the one I was looking so I grabbed it up and bought it. 

This time I decided to try using a bar of Dove soap as the cleaning agent for my brushes. I think I saw this recommendation somewhere and so I thought I’d give it a try. I’ve also recently tried this product and it leaves your brushes with a faint fragrance that is nice.

The brush cleaning mat comes with these nifty suction cups on the back and a cutout to fit around the sink drain so you can lay it in the bottom of the sink and it will stay put.

I don’t use foundation, but the primer and under eye brightener I use cause my brush to really hold on to my powders.

Wet the brush and roll it around on the bar of soap. 

Using one of the textured spots on the mat, work the brush in a circular motion. Rinse and repeat this same process until no more color is coming out of the bristles.

Place the brushes in a glass to dry. I find the best time to do this is after putting on my makeup so they have time to dry before the next day.

A clean brush feels so much better and I believe it makes your products go farther because they aren’t sticking to the brush.

So when I first used the mat I really wasn’t impressed while I was washing the brushes, but the next day I could tell they were cleaner than with my usual hand wash method so I will definitely be continuing to use my new mat.

Have you tried this method for cleaning your brushes? Let me know in the comments.





  1. May 16, 2017 / 2:01 pm

    Great idea! I go way longer than I should between cleanings. I am always afraid that cleaning will change the quality or the softness of the brush. Now I'm kind of grossed out by myself, lol.

    • May 18, 2017 / 3:45 am

      HA! You're not alone…I've gone plenty of time between cleanings too.

  2. May 16, 2017 / 6:07 pm

    I've never cleaned my brushes! I'm a non-cleaning brush-aholic! What can I say? But like Tara, I'm afraid that cleaning them will never leave them the same as before.

    • May 18, 2017 / 3:47 am

      You'll love the way they feel (& smell?) if you clean them. I think my powders apply better too. Give it a try!!

  3. May 16, 2017 / 7:30 pm

    LOL I'm the same as Tara, although I do a pretty good job of cleaning my sponges. Have you seen people blending their makeup with their iPhone cases?! So gross! Your product seems neat!

    • May 18, 2017 / 3:51 am

      NO! I have never heard of that. What the heck???

    • May 18, 2017 / 4:22 am

      I love to try something new. My brushes felt great after a good cleaning!

  4. May 17, 2017 / 2:25 am

    I've read you want to dry your brushes with the bristles horizontal so water doesn't get inside the handle and mess things up!

    • May 18, 2017 / 2:16 pm

      I saw that somewhere too Megan. My brushes aren't very expensive, so I'm not to worried and I shake them out.

  5. May 17, 2017 / 3:12 am

    I only have one brush, and it's probably time to clean it. With all the other million things to remember to do, cleaning my makeup brush never seems to make it to the top of the list. But it sounds like it needs to get bumped up. Maybe tomorrow. 🙂

    • May 18, 2017 / 2:20 pm

      I used to only have one brush too, but I've expanded my collection. I get some nice ones at places like TJMaxx and Marshalls pretty cheap. Happy Thursday!

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Trinny London