How to Properly Clean and Disinfect your Makeup Brushes

how to clean makeup brushes

Whether you are a makeup artist or you just love experimenting with different looks every day, then chances are that you have your own set of makeup brushes.

Investing in high-quality makeup brushes means basically taking care of your skin. Plastic brushes will never be as good as the natural-haired ones, and applying makeup with professional brushes is much easier than with an amateur set.

There are a few essential tools for makeup artists, and between them, you’ll find for sure makeup brushes and a solution to clean them.

If you want to keep them in perfect condition for as long as possible, then it is important to disinfect them every once in a while.

In this blog post, we will show you how to properly disinfect your MUA brushes and maintain their shape for years ahead!

How often should you clean your makeup brushes?


The frequency of disinfecting your makeup brushes depends on how often you use them and how many people you use them on. 

Generally, dermatologists and estheticians recommend cleaning your makeup brushes after every use. Anyway, if your makeup brushes are just for personal use, cleaning them once a week should be enough. 

On the other hand, if you work as a makeup artist and you have more clients in a day, a best practice would be to clean your brushes after every client with a spray, and disinfect them every evening to be ready for the next day.

Never skip cleaning days

If you ever think about skipping the cleaning process for your makeup brushes, then you’re making a huge mistake. And it doesn’t affect only you, but also your makeup clients. 

Not washing your brushes regularly or not disinfecting them after every single use can cause dangerous infections and acne. 

Dirty makeup brushes harbor a lot of bacteria collected from people’s skin, so disinfecting them properly is just as important as doing it on a regular basis. 

What diseases can you get from sharing makeup or using unsterilized brushes?


The most common disease out there is staphylococcus aureus, a germ that can cause painful skin infections. According to dermatologist Jeanine B. Downie, “sharing cosmetics, especially mascara, eyeshadow, and eyeliner, can lead to a bad eye infection.” That’s why you should buy one-time-use brushes if possible, or use an external brush (and not the one that comes with the product) that you can disinfect after every use.

Top 5 products to clean your makeup brushes

Before starting with the makeup brushes disinfectant and cleanser, I’d recommend you to buy a makeup brush drying rack and a brush cleaning container

There are several products that professional makeup artists consider the best when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting makeup brushes. Here are the main cleansers and disinfectants you need to include in your makeup artist kit.

Cinema Secrets Professional Makeup Brush Cleanser


This disinfectant for makeup brushes is the best if you work as a makeup artist and you have many clients. Coming in a 1-liter bottle, you don’t have to stock too many of them or worry that you’ll not have enough to clean all your brushes.  Most makeup artists affirm that this cleaner has the best quality-price ratio. 

For fast disinfection, you can buy an empty spray bottle, fill it with brush disinfectant, and spray your tools every time you need, just like in this video:

MAC Brush Cleanser


The MAC cleaner is just perfect to have by your side if you need an instant cleaning, as it does the job quickly. You can use this brush cleanser directly on the brush or on a towel, then run the brush on the towel until it no longer distributes any makeup prints. 

Elf Daily Brush Cleaner


This liquid brush cleaner washes away dirt, oil, and bacteria from your brushes while conditioning the hair to provide a soft application. It is ideal if you need to clean your brushes in between the clients, or if you want to disinfect your personal makeup brushes at home. 

Professional Brush Cleaner


Nyx is a professional makeup brush cleaner that is not expensive at all. It comes in a 250 ml bottle, so can easily be stocked even in your makeup travel case if needed.

Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Balm


This is my favorite makeup brush cleaner so far. The Real Techniques cleanser has a solid cleansing balm and a deep cleansing pad, making it very comfortable to use when you want to instantly clean your brushes with no mess. This can be even a great gift for makeup artists if you’re out of ideas when it comes to buying a present for a MUA addict. 

Many professionals in the makeup industry affirm that dish soap works awesome when it comes to cleaning makeup brushes, as it removes oily substances like foundation or pigments. You can use it too, but don’t forget to spray your brushes with alcohol or any other kind of disinfectant after.

Steps to follow while disinfecting your makeup brushes

1. Soak 


Take all your makeup brushes and put them in a mug or a brushes container with warm water and detergent, or simply in a cleaning solution. Let them soak for 5 minutes.

2. Wash


Take your brushes one by one and wash them softly using a silicon pad until there’s no dirt left. Hold them under running water for some seconds, until they are totally clean and rinsed. 


If you still see dirt or makeup traces on your brushes, repeat the process once again. 

3. Dry


After all your brushes are perfectly washed, squeeze and lay them on a dry paper towel or place them in a drying rack. Now, you can spray them with a disinfectant solution or alcohol. 

Another way you can clean your makeup brushes is by using an electric makeup brush cleaner. It really does all the job for you. 🙂

4. Sterilize


When your makeup brushes are dry, I’d highly recommend you to put them for 5 minutes in a UV-C LED light container to kill germs and bacteria. Many makeup artists use Brushean, a smart beauty tech product that will bring your makeup tools safer for your clients.

Here’s a short video from Nikkia Joy Makeup Artist, who explains step by step how she cleans her makeup brushes:


  • Use a professional solution to clean your makeup brushes;
  • Disinfect your makeup brushes after every use and clean them every evening/week, depending on how often you use them;
  • Never skip the cleaning process if you want to avoid infections or acne;
  • Go through all the cleaning and sanitizing steps and you’ll have long-lasting and proper makeup brushes.

Did you know that professional makeup artists use a modern booking app in their business? It helps them keep track of clients, schedule appointments, and send text message reminders, everything with a single app. You can download the Goldie scheduling app for free from the App Store or Google Play and give it a try.

You can also check these makeup trends and ideas and enjoy practicing your talent with some fresh ideas from MUA professionals around the world.

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