From the Beauty Closet

Brush Care 101

9 years ago by

I apply most of my makeup with my hands. I like to see exactly how much of what I am putting on my face, but I still rely on a few trusty brushes for certain products…

I have a powder brush (used daily for my powder blush), an eye shadow brush (two actually! one flat and one angled, but both are collecting dust…) and an eyeliner brush that I use about once a month when I feel adventurous. But I have a confession to make: I tend to neglect my brushes.

When Brandi, our makeup artist to the stars/general beauty guru, stopped by the studio I began quizzing her on proper brush maintenance.

Okay, get ready…


Every night?!?!

Yep. Every night. Why?

  • If you don’t wash your brushes, you’re not getting the true color from your makeup product.
  • Brushes can carry bacteria. If you’re using them when you are sick, those germs will stick around in the brush.
  • Brandi uses Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo to wash her brushes, and on Sunday nights she conditions them with Johnson & Johnson Baby Conditioner.

It sounds like a lot of work but if you’re a daily brush user, it’s important!!

How do you care for your makeup brushes?


Add yours
  • Jane with the noisy terrier May, 17 2013, 12:41 / Reply

    First off, Brandi is a professional makeup artist who uses her brushes on lots of different people. You use your brushes on you, so once a week should be fine. You can make it easier by knocking off the remaining powder after using your brushes. I use Bobbi Brown brush cleaner–spray it on a paper towel and wipe each brush across it until they come clean. Shampooing too frequently can cause the glue to weaken and brush hair loss. Now…add a small pointed blush brush and a fluffy shadow brush (MAC 217 is a cult fav.) The smaller blush brush should be touched down on the blusher, excess tapped off on the back of your hand, then applied in soft circles to your cheekbones. (Don’t go lower than your nose or any closer in than the pupil of your eye. Now that fluffy shadow brush is for blending both cream and powder shadows to soften the edges. Final step, use your 217 with your bronzing powder to blend in your crease and tie your look together! Any questions? ;^)

  • I do! But I don”t wear that much make up, and not everyday. But I agree that you definitely have to take care if your brush like you would of anaything that you apply on your skin!
    If you don’t, watch out for pimples…!
    Paris-New York Fashion Blog
    The Deep Blue Cory Fashion Blog
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    Xoxo Cory

  • I do agree with you, everyday is a bit much for a regular person… i would say once every 2 weeks is plenty!

  • i agree: once a day sounds excessive…:)

  • I wash my brushes once a week, but just because I have at least 5 brushes only to apply powder and blush and I’m quite lazy… But a professional make up artist should wash them every day! I know some and they wash also with disinfectant, there’re lots of germs there!
    I use castile soap.

  • Je lave mes pinceaux une fois par semaine et c’est déjà un exploit ! Alors tous les soirs, wow, je ne me vois pas le faire…


  • Ouhlala ça me fait penser qu’il faut absolument que je les lave!!!!

  • Pfff laisse tomber jfais rien….

  • I’m so bad about washing them BUT I invested in great brushes from Trish McEvoy and they have lasted FOREVER. I wash them with Trish’s soap. I also use MAC’s brush cleanser and a paper towel. I love this video from my pal Coach Glitter. She is diligent about brush washing!


  • Tous les soirs O.O nooon, mais une fois par semaine est plus raisonable pour moi.


  • I wash mine every two weeks and now I feel gross haha…i should probably do it every weekend!

    Brunette Letters Blog

  • Oh Brandi would be mad at me because I tend to neglect the washing of brushes until you can really start to see the dirt – which is not a good thing on a black tip brush. Once a month seems to do it with a product from MAC cosmetics. You just dip your brushes into that (in another container), swirl it around & they come out CLEAN. Next time I’ll try the J&J shampoo – I’m sure it’s just as good.

    I’m selling well priced professional sable makeup brushes on my site under Mica Beauty at:

    but don’t tell anyone I’m lax in the brush cleaning dept.

  • LOL ok i really should wash my brushes more often :P Putting it on recurring reminder on my calendar.

  • The only way stuff like this gets done on any semi-regular basis around my house is if I make it as easy as possible on myself. That being said…I totally take my brushes in the shower with me to wash them. I’m sure this shortens their life…but they get clean this way! That’s my lazy beauty short cut for the day ;)

  • Haha, that’s a great tip!

  • I really don’t take care of my bushes enough but I really should, shame on me! xx

  • carole May, 17 2013, 6:27 / Reply

    Bioderma Crealine….works

  • Yes, like Carole, I use Bioderma Crealine when I’m too lazy to wash them properly.

  • Um.. I’m going to go wash my brushes now.. :|

  • I can’t believe it! Tous les jours?!
    I know it’s important but i don’t think i can handle myself washing my brush every single day after work . Ilm just too lazy haha

    Cheers from Jakarta,

  • Lansky Remy May, 18 2013, 3:34 / Reply

    J’utilise les pinceaux Sigma, selon moi se sont les meilleurs, la qualité est extraordinaire. Je lave avec un shampoing quelconque (n’importe lequel qui se trouve dans ma douche) mais avant je les conditionne avec de l’huile d’olive. Parcontre, je les lave une fois par semaine, je ne penserai pas à les laver tous les jours ça c’est clair soyons honnête! Je crois que je vais utiliser le shampoing pour bébé de J&J.

  • Hier j’ai été chez mon esthéticienne justement et elle m’a dit qu’il ne fallait pas laver nos pinceaux aussi fréquemment justement car ça abimait les poils du pinceau.. Je suis désormais complètement perdue, que faire?!!!!

  • Une fois par semaine c’est bien suffisant, même si je ne le fais qu’une fois par mois :s

  • Votre blog est très belle.

    Fashion Dupes

  • Hmm I feel really bad now…I have never washed my brushes…Popo I have to do some cleaning today!


  • Je les lave une à deux fois par mois avec du shampooing. C’est ce qui m’a été conseillé par une maquilleuse. Après, je comprends qu’une maquilleuse pro qui passe ses pinceaux sur 20 personnes par jours les lave tous les jours, ça me parait même normal.

  • Je lave mes pinceaux une fois par semaine avec du shampoing, ainsi que mes brosses a cheveux et peignes.

  • Camille May, 18 2013, 5:17 / Reply

    Personnellement, j’ai investi dans le Brush Cleaner de Kiko, accessible niveau prix pour des essais. Il ne nécessite pas de laver les pinceaux à l’eau et sèche plutôt vite. Reste à tester son efficacité sur le long terme. Mais vu que je suis le genre de personne à laver ses pinceaux tous les trimestres, généralement ils n’en ressortent pas indemnes.
    C’est quand même un brave dilemme ces pinceaux …

  • Blaise May, 19 2013, 2:17 / Reply

    I really don’t clean my brushes every night, besides being lazy, they take forever to dry up. I clean them with an organic wash every week, and then twice a week I clean the, with anti-bacterial monolaurin gel (derived from virgin coconut oil). That product is actually my skin maintenance to keep break outs under bay, but it also makes for a luxurious antibacterial, so I use them for my brushes.

  • ,,,i’ve neglected the care of my brushes but i’m going to commit to cleaning them at least twice a week!,,,

  • Waaah, this would make me quit my brushes! Not that I am using them that often either…just the blush one. I’ll wash it now….

  • I like the way that you write in your blog,is pretty much like talking with a friend drinking tea at some restaurante, very good advice in this post.

  • Every night??!!! It does make sense, though. I do realize that there are sprinkles of the previous colors getting on to my face without my realization. Sometimes they’re so annoying that I had to remove my makeup, remove the powder, and reapply the whole thing. Well cleaning your brush every day is an alternative

    eyeshadow illustrator

  • I try to wipe down my makeup brushes after every use with some alcohol and a paper towel…
    I also just did a post on cleaning your make-up brushes in the beginning of the month.
    I would love for you to check it out; great minds think alike! Let me know your thoughts!!!

  • Claire May, 19 2013, 2:48 / Reply

    I am a pretty infrequent user of makeup even though I have invested in some of the great brushes, which I love. What I do, especially for the smaller brushes for which it is crucial to keep clean – i.e. eyeliner and eyeshadow brushes, is if I’m not running horribly late is, right after using them dab a bit of soap on them and wash, rinse and set flat to dry. That way, my penchant for blue eyeshadow doesn’t get in the way of the days of neutral colors – even once a week is a challenge for me!

    I can’t talk about the bigger brushes which take longer to swish clean – my Kabuki powder brush is a pain! I am ashamed of how little I wash that one :-

    mom of an active 6 year old

  • lavinia May, 20 2013, 3:11 / Reply


  • GERM FREAK! Not true about being sick and carrying the bacteria/virus across! I get it she’s a make-up artist and uses the brushes on many people over the week but for your average person it’s crazy talk. Bacteria and virus’ that make you sick have a hard time living out of the body, so imagine how well they go on a brush which spends 99% of it’s time in the cupboard and is covered with make-up not nice juicing living cells. Are we all dying of these crazy brush organisms?! No, I think not!
    Obviously if you pop a pimple don’t go smearing that across your face but really I think everyone should calm down and not feel ‘guilty’ about their washing regime because at least they have better things to do than spend hours washing brushes!

  • MAC offers a great make-up brush cleanser. I find the best way to wash my brushes is to place a small amount of brush cleanser in a glass and then dip my brush into the cleanser and really work it in. I then rinse my brush in lukewarm water (being careful not to get too much water near the glue seal) and lay it out flat on a towel to dry. I repeat this process with all of my brushes, making sure that I use fresh brush cleanser with each brush. As the MAC Brush Cleanser is quite pricey, Johnson&Johnson is mild enough to use on your brushes without damaging the bristles.

  • alexandra May, 23 2013, 11:29 / Reply

    I do the same, not because i am an avid make-up user or connoisseur nor because i care very much for the things i possess-but because i constantly have to deal with styes(we’re talking 15 to 20 styes) -and have had them operated three times. The minimum i can do to avoid them is wash everything i use that goes anywhere near my eyes. My doctor told me i had to clean my eyes with cotton tips and baby shampoo very day(i chose johnson an johnson’s baby shampoo too), and so i guessed that i could use the same products for my brushes. Haven’t had any styes since, fingers crossed.

  • I was also told that when I took I make up class. As I am not a proffessional make up artist I usually clean my with regular hand soap.

  • Funny fact to read this article as I washed my makeup brushes two days ago for the first time! I used them like 3 times till a week ago, when I bought this pretty The Balm Nude’tude eye shadow palette at & Other Stories. So I have started to really makeup a week ago, and I checked out youtube channels about how to take care of my brushes. I used a mild shampoo : Le Petit Marseillais honey and shea. It worked perfectly, my makeup brushes were perfectly soft and clean.
    Now I am wondering : from now on should I comment in English on Garance Doré’s website, as the Garance Doré team is certainly mostly composed of English speaking people?
    Have a nice day!

  • I don’t know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else experiencing issues
    with your site. It seems like some of the text in your posts are running
    off the screen. Can somebody else please comment and let me know
    if this is happening to them as well? This could be a issue with my browser because I’ve had this happen before.
    Appreciate it

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