I love the soft fluffy feeling of freshly cleaned makeup brushes! Yet that’s not motivation enough to clean them as often as I should. I have to remind myself that using dirty makeup brushes to apply makeup can not only spread bacteria but also effect how well the products are applied too. Even if you’ve been using the same product with same brush it still gets clogged and doesn’t blend as nicely or smoothly as it should.

Most days I give my brushes a quick clean with a brush cleaning spray by swirling the brushes in a towel. But today I’m going to take you through how I deep clean my brushes so that they look like new!

Confetti Avenue by Charlotte Hartwell: How to Clean Makeup Brushes Properly

Things you will need:

  • Olive oil to keep the brushes soft and in shape
  • Brush cleanser, baby shampoo, or detergent for cleaning
  • Paper towel or face washers for drying
  • Cups for the cleaning process
  • Water
  • The offending brushes
Confetti Avenue by Charlotte Hartwell: How to Clean Makeup Brushes Properly

First of all, pour a little bit of detergent into a cup with about one quarter olive oil. Just enough to coat the bottom of the cup. I like to have a few cups ready at a time.

Start by rinsing your brush under the tap. It’s important that you always hold the brush with the bristles pointing downwards so that the handle doesn’t fill up with water (can cause the bristles to fall out). Squeeze out some of the water.

Next, gently swirl the brush in the soapy cup. If it doesn’t seem like much cleaning is going on, add a little bit of water. When the soap becomes makeup coloured, rinse the brush under the tap to get rid of the detergent and the product in the brush. You also want to rinse the cup and refill it with some fresh detergent and olive oil. Now start swirling the brush again. Repeat this process until the soap remains white rather than turning the colour of your makeup.

Bigger brushes will require a few soapy sessions whilst some smaller brushes can sometimes share soap. I like to take a few small brushes and use the same cup to remove the majority of product and then a second cup to give them a good clean.

After you’ve cleaned them all, squeeze all the water out, shape them with you hand, and lay them on a towel to dry. Once dry, buff them in a circle on the towel to make them fluffy again.


  • The ‘rinse and repeat’ is crucial to getting all the product out of the hairs.
  • I like to wash mine in the evening so that they have all night to dry before I need them the next day.
  • Don’t forget the handles! Wipe them with a damp cloth to remove any makeup.
  • Spray your brushes with a mixture of a drop of tea tree oil and water. Tea tree has natural antibacterial properties so it will kill any germs.
  • Don’t worry if you can still see colour on the brush, sometimes the pigment can slightly stain white brushes. As long as the soap is free from makeup after swirling, it’s clean!
  • My eyelash curler tends to get covered in eye makeup! I clean it my using a makeup remover wipe and then wiping it with a damp towel to get the makeup remover off.
Confetti Avenue by Charlotte Hartwell: How to Clean Makeup Brushes Properly