Here’s How To Deep Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Add it to your weekly to-do list

As makeup lovers, one of our top priorities aside from choosing products that suit our skin and taste should be keeping our tools clean and sanitised. Doing so helps prevent bacteria from dwelling in the bristles of our makeup brushes. Don’t want to scare you or anything, but not cleaning your brushes can cause acne breakouts, skin irritation, and bad makeup days. Yikes!

If you’re unsure about how to do it, fret not. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to deep clean your makeup brushes every week, or every month at the very least. Spoiler: it's not that taxing to do.


Spritz it with a makeup brush cleaner

 Makeup brush cleaning sprays product shots

Left - Sephora Collection Daily Makeup Brush Cleaner, SGD12 ( Right - MAC Cosmetics Brush Cleanser, SGD35 (

Similar to how you'd double cleanse to dissolve oil-based makeup and skin impurities, you can do a little pre-cleanse before washing your makeup brushes. Spritz some instant brush cleaner or isopropyl alcohol onto the bristles and then gently wipe them onto a clean face towel or tissue paper. This will remove most of the product that was left on the brush and make the following steps easier. You can also do this to lightly clean and disinfect your makeup brushes before you do your makeup for the day.

Another alternative is using a little bit of baby oil but only do so if you’re going to follow the next steps.

Give the brush a little soak


Once you're done with your pre-cleanse, you can now give your brushes a little soak to saturate the bristles. It can be as fast as a few seconds, enough to wet the bristles, or a few minutes if you haven’t cleaned your brushes in a while. This allows the soap to lather up and break down the makeup residue easier. You can either run the brush head under the tap or let it soak in a cup of lukewarm water mixed with liquid makeup brush soap. Avoid saturating the metal part of your brush as it can dissolve the glue holding the bristles together.

Use a makeup brush soap or a gentle bar soap

Makeup brush soap product shots 

Left - Beautyblender Blendercleanser® Solid® Lavender Sponge & Brush Cleanser, SGD30 ( Right - Bobbi Brown Conditioning Brush Cleanser, SGD34 (

To give your makeup brushes a deep cleaning, use a makeup brush soap, gentle bar soap, unscented antibacterial hand soap, or silicone-free baby shampoo. These will help remove the built-up makeup and neutralise any bacteria that's found a home in the brushes.

Rub the brush against the palm of your hand or a silicone brush mat

Sigma Beauty Sigma Spa® Express Brush Cleaning Glove product shot

Sigma Beauty Sigma Spa® Express Brush Cleaning Glove, SGD40 (

Work the soap into the bristles to dissolve any leftover makeup. You can either use the palm of your hand or a brush cleaning mat for this step. Simply swirl the bristles in a circular motion, gently working the soap into the brush head. Keep doing this until the soap becomes white, instead of the colour of your foundation, blush, or eyeshadows.

Give the brushes a good rinse by running them under the tap and gently squeezing the bristles. Repeat this step as needed.

Let it dry in your desired shape

Makeup brush drying tools lifestyle collage

Left - Makeup Brush Net Sleeve, SGD1.75 ( Right - 14 Hole Makeup Brush Drying Rack, SGD10 (

Once your brushes are perfectly clean, it's time to let them dry down fully. While the bristles are still damp, shape them by creating a circle with your thumb and index finger. This will prevent the bristles from drying in a fanned manner. You can also use brush shaping "nets" to keep the bristles in place. Set the brushes on a dry towel spread out on a flat surface. You can also use a brush drying rack and put the bristles pointing down. Let the brushes air dry, since using a hairdryer can potentially melt the glue holding the bristles together. Your tools will be ready to use by the next day! If you really need to use your brushes within the next few hours, you can place a small fan to speed up the drying process.

Now that you know how to clean your makeup brushes, just remember to do this every week or once a month to keep them bacteria-free and safe to use on your precious skin.

(Cover photo from: Sonia Roselli via Unsplash)

Ready to put your newly cleaned makeup brushes to work? Here are the best matte foundations for oily skin.

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