Tips for Extending the Lifespan of Your Makeup Brushes Through Proper Cleaning

Tips for Extending the Lifespan of Your Makeup Brushes Through Proper Cleaning

If you’re a pro makeup artist, you’d know how big of a hassle it is to clean your makeup brushes properly. Some foundation is always left deep down the bristles, forcing you to repeat the entire cleaning process. Honestly, no one has time for that! 

Cleaning your makeup brushes is essential for various reasons. Firstly, it ensures a smooth and more even makeup application. Secondly, it removes all the bacteria, dead skin cells, and oils that can cause skin issues like clogged pores and breakouts. Lastly, it extends the overall lifespan of the brushes by preventing product buildup and shedding of bristles.

You can also save significant money by properly cleaning your brushes, as high-quality ones are pretty expensive. But the questions are: “What is the best way to clean makeup brushes? ” “Is there any best makeup brush cleaner that does the job in the first go? ” 

Let’s find out our answers and some tips in this guide!

Understanding the Different Types of Makeup Brushes

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Understanding different types of makeup brushes can give you a clear idea of how to clean each. Here are some most-used brushes across the world:

  • Foundation Brush. It has flat and dense bristles, providing smooth and even coverage for a flawless base. You can use it to apply a liquid or cream foundation.  
  • Concealer Brush. It has small, tapered bristles, perfect for applying concealer to cover blemishes, dark circles, or imperfections.
  • Powder Brush. With large, fluffy bristles, powder brushes are used to apply loose or pressed powder to set makeup and reduce shine. 
  • Blush Brush. It has soft, rounded bristles for the smooth application of blush to the apples of your cheeks. 
  • Contour Brush. With its angled and dense shape, this brush is ideal for creating definition in the hollows of your cheeks, jawline, and nose.
  • Eyeshadow Brush. There are several types of eyeshadow brushes, including flat, fluffy, and angled ones. They are used for applying and blending eyeshadow to create different eye looks. 
  • Eyeliner Brush. It has thin and precise bristles, used for applying gel or cream eyeliner along the lash line for a defined look.
  • Brow Brush/Spoolie. A brow brush has an angled brush on one end for applying brow products, while the other end features a spoolie to blend the product through your brows.
  • Lip Brush. It has a small, flat, and tapered head, perfect for applying lipstick or lip gloss with precision and control.
  • Fan Brush. It has wide and flat bristles, used for light application of highlighter, bronzer, or sweeping away excess product.
  • Kabuki Brush. It is dense and rounded, perfect for applying mineral foundation or powder with a buffing motion for a seamless finish.

The best way to clean makeup brushes depends on their types, so ensure you’re doing it right!

Frequency of Cleaning

The frequency of cleaning your makeup brushes depends on how often you use them and the types of products you apply. In general, cleaning your makeup brushes regularly is recommended to maintain their performance and keep them hygienic. 

Here are some guidelines for cleaning your makeup brushes:

  • Brushes that come in contact with liquid or cream products should be cleaned more frequently. Aim to clean them at least once a week to prevent product buildup and bacteria growth.
  • Powder brushes need occasional cleaning — every two weeks — as they don't accumulate product as quickly as foundation brushes. However, if you use them daily or notice product buildup, consider cleaning them more often.
  • It's best to clean eyeshadow brushes after each use if you switch between different colors frequently. If you use the same color repeatedly, you can clean them every two to three uses.
  • Clean your lip and eyeliner brushes after each use to prevent color transfer and maintain precision in your application.
  • Clean brow brushes and spoolies every two weeks or more often if you use brow products daily.
  • For makeup sponges, washing them after each use is best to prevent bacteria growth and maintain their effectiveness.

If you have acne-prone or sensitive skin, cleaning your brushes more frequently can help reduce the risk of skin issues. Also, if you use your brushes on others or have skin conditions, consider cleaning them more often to maintain hygiene.

Proper Cleaning Techniques

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Cleaning makeup brushes
is essential to maintaining their performance, hygiene, and longevity. But your efforts may be in vain if you don’t know the best way to clean makeup brushes. 

Here are the most effective cleaning techniques for your makeup tools:

Water Rinse Method

This method is ideal if your makeup brushes have little amounts of buildup. 

  1. First, rinse the brush bristles under lukewarm water to remove excess makeup.
  2. Then, add a small amount of gentle brush cleanser or mild soap to your palm or brush cleaning pad.
  3. Swirl the wet brush bristles in the cleanser using circular motions to create a lather.
  4. Rinse the brushes under running water until the water runs clear and all the soap residue is gone.
  5. Gently shake off excess water and reshape the bristles with your fingers.
  6. Lay the brushes flat on a clean towel to air dry.

Silicone Brush Cleaning Pad Technique

If you have a silicone brush, here is what you need to do:

  1. First, wet the silicone brush cleaning pad and add a small amount of brush cleanser or mild soap to the surface.
  2. Then, swirl the wet brush bristles on the textured surface of the pad to create a lather and dislodge makeup residue.
  3. Rinse the brushes under water, swirling them on the pad until the water runs clear.
  4. Shake off excess water and reshape the bristles with your fingers.
  5. Finally, lay the brushes flat on a clean towel to air dry.

Spot Cleaning Technique

This is the quickest and best way to clean makeup brushes. 

  1. Spray the spot cleaner directly onto the brush bristles.
  2. Gently wipe the brush on a clean tissue or cloth to remove makeup residue and excess product.
  3. Your brush will be clean as new!

Deep Cleaning Technique

Haven’t washed your makeup brushes for months? Don’t worry; the deep cleaning method is here to help. We recommend you get an ultrasonic cleaner like Sonic Soak, which is currently the best makeup brush cleaner. 

It is a compact eco friendly washing machine that efficiently removes makeup residue, dirt, and bacteria from the bristles. Here is how you can deep clean your brushes with Sonic Soak:

  1. Fill the Cleaner with Water. Fill the ultrasonic cleaner's tank with water according to the manufacturer's instructions. Some appliances may require a small amount of mild soap or brush cleanser to enhance the cleaning process.
  2. Rinse the Brushes. Before placing the brushes in the ultrasonic cleaner, rinse them under lukewarm water to remove any excess makeup.
  3. Submerge the Brushes in the Cleaner. Put the brushes in the water, ensuring the machine isn’t overcrowded. Avoid letting the handles or ferrules (metal parts) touch the bottom or sides of the tank to prevent damage.
  4. Start Cleaning. Turn on the best ultrasonic cleaner and select the appropriate cleaning cycle or timer settings. Sonic Soak uses high-frequency sound waves to create tiny bubbles that agitate and dislodge dirt and debris from the brushes.
  5. Rinse the Brushes. Once the cleaning cycle is complete, carefully remove the brushes from the cleaner. Rinse them under running water to remove any loose debris and soap residue.
  6. Reshape and Dry the Brushes. Gently reshape the brush bristles with your fingers to their original form. Lay the brushes flat on a clean towel to air dry. Avoid using heat or blow dryers, as they can damage the bristles and handles.

This is, so far, the best way to clean makeup brushes. Ensure to get the best eco friendly washing machine for your makeup tools, as they require gentle cleaning to stay intact.

Deep Cleaning and Maintenance
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While an ultrasonic cleaner solution is the best makeup cleaner, you must follow some maintenance tips to keep your brushes in optimal condition. Here are some effective tricks to keep in mind:

  • Spot Cleaning. Use a spot cleaner specifically designed for makeup brushes for quick cleaning between deep cleanings. This is especially useful for removing product buildup during makeup application.
  • Handle with Care. Be gentle when cleaning and using your brushes to prevent damage to the bristles and handles. Avoid using excessive force, especially with delicate brushes.
  • Store Properly. Store your makeup brushes in a clean, dry container or holder to protect them from dust and damage.
  • Avoid Sharing Brushes. To maintain hygiene, avoid sharing your brushes with others, especially if you have skin conditions.
  • Check for Shedding. Periodically check your brushes for shedding bristles. If you notice excessive shedding, it may be time to replace the brush.

By deep cleaning and maintaining your makeup brushes, you can extend their lifespan and ensure more precise makeup application. Clean brushes not only improve your skin health but also contribute to a more enjoyable makeup experience.


Makeup brushes require regular or weekly cleaning, depending on the products you use on them. If you apply makeup daily, cleaning the brushes every day can be frustrating. That’s when an eco friendly washing machine like Sonic Soak comes into play. 

Currently marketed as the best makeup brush cleaner, Sonic Soak utilizes ultrasonic waves to remove the makeup buildup from the bristles. All you have to do is soak the brushes in the machine and set the washing cycle. Your brushes will be clean as new in a few minutes! 

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