How to Properly Clean Your Makeup Brushes to Prevent Acne

Brushes are a breeding ground for bacteria and should be washed regularly to make sure you aren’t constantly introducing makeup brush acne-causing germs to your complexion.  Most experts recommend washing your brushes at least once a week to keep bacteria at bay. However, if you suffer from regular breakouts, you might consider washing them after every use.

Here’s my go-to method for getting brushes really clean while still protecting the integrity of the bristles.

Step 1


I’m not usually a huge fan of antibacterial soaps and detergents because of their harsh and drying effects, but when it comes to makeup brushes, it’s worth really eliminating the bacteria. You should never use hot water to disinfect makeup brushes as higher temps can damage the tool. First, moisten the bristles under lukewarm water, then gently swirl them on an antibacterial soap bar or massage them with liquid soap. Build a good lather to loosen all the makeup and oil stuck inside the bristles. Rinse thoroughly.

Step 2


Next, use a mild shampoo like Johnson’s Baby Shampoo to condition the bristles and remove any lingering makeup and bacteria. You can add a few drops of antiseptic tea tree oil to the shampoo to introduce another layer of bacterial protection. Swirl the brush gently in the shampoo, and massage the cleanser up into the base of the bristles.

Step 3


Rinse the brush thoroughly in lukewarm water until the water runs clear. If your brushes are extra dirty, you may have to shampoo them again until the water runs completely clear.

Step 4


Gently squeeze remaining moisture from bristles with a paper towel and then lay your brush flat to dry. It’s important to always dry your brushes flat. Do not stand them up in a cup until they are bone dry. Moisture can travel down to the base of the bristles and become trapped in the wood handle, leading to mold and bacterial growth. Moisture in the base of the brush can also cause the bristles to loosen from the handle, ruining your brush.

If you’re not a fan of brushes and prefer to use your fingers or a sponge to apply makeup, the same rules are true! Wash hands thoroughly before touching your face and regularly rinse reusable makeup sponges with antibacterial soap to keep them clean.