How to Properly Clean Your Makeup Brushes to Prevent Skin Irritation and Infection

How to Properly Clean Your Makeup Brushes to Prevent Skin Irritation and Infection

Hello Makeup Lovers!


It's THAT time again, time to clean your brushes! 

When it comes to maintaining healthy skin and achieving flawless makeup application, cleaning your makeup brushes is an essential step that shouldn't be overlooked. Dirty brushes can harbor bacteria, oil, and old makeup residue, leading to skin irritation, breakouts, and even infections. This guide will walk you through the importance of cleaning and sanitizing your brushes, and provide you with effective methods to ensure your tools are spotless and safe to use.

The Difference Between Cleaning and Sanitizing

Cleaning involves removing makeup residue, oil, and dirt from the bristles of your brushes. This process helps to keep your brushes in good condition and ensures a smooth application of makeup. However, cleaning alone doesn't kill bacteria.

Sanitizing goes a step further by killing bacteria and other germs that may be lurking in your brushes. This step is crucial, especially for makeup artists who work on multiple clients, as it helps prevent the spread of infections and skin issues.

Both cleaning and sanitizing are vital for maintaining the health of your skin and the longevity of your brushes.

Why Cleaning and Sanitizing Are Important

- Prevents Breakouts and Irritation: Regularly cleaning your brushes removes oils, dirt, and bacteria that can clog pores and cause acne or skin irritation.
- Ensures Hygiene: For makeup artists, maintaining sanitary tools is essential to prevent cross-contamination between clients.
- Improves Makeup Application: Clean brushes provide a smoother and more precise application, ensuring your makeup looks its best.
- Extends Brush Life: Proper care and cleaning can prolong the lifespan of your brushes, saving you money in the long run.

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

What You'll Need:
- Cinema Secrets Brush Cleaner or 70% Alcohol
- Dawn Dish Soap
- A clean towel
- A bowl
- Running water


1. Initial Rinse: Begin by rinsing the bristles of your brushes under luke warm running water. Avoid getting water in the ferrule, as this can loosen the glue holding the bristles.

2. Deep Clean with Dawn Dish Soap:
- Pour a small amount of Dawn Dish Soap into a bowl.
- Gently swirl the brush bristles in the soap, creating a lather.
- Massage the bristles with your fingers to break down makeup residue and oil. Even better is using a silicone brush cleaning pad. They work absolutely amazing.
- Rinse thoroughly under running water until the water runs clear.

3. Sanitize with Cinema Secrets or 70% Alcohol
- Pour a small amount of Cinema Secrets Brush Cleaner into a clean bowl.
- Dip the brush bristles into the cleaner, ensuring they are fully saturated.
- Gently wipe the bristles on a clean towel to remove any remaining residue.
- Cinema Secrets dries quickly, so your brushes will be ready to use in no time. Fair warning, I recommend being very careful with Cinema Secrets as it *can* deteriorate the glue in the ferrule and loosen bristles if you soak them too long.

4. Drying Your Brushes:
- Gently reshape the bristles with your fingers.
- Lay the brushes flat on a clean towel to dry or on a brush drying rack. Avoid drying them upright, as water can seep into the handle and damage the brush.

Additional Tips for Makeup Artists

- Sanitize Between Clients: Always sanitize your brushes between clients to maintain hygiene and prevent the spread of bacteria.
- Use Disposable Tools: Consider using disposable applicators for high-risk areas such as lips and eyes.
- Regular Deep Cleans: Deep clean your brushes at least once a week to ensure they remain in top condition.

Of course, there are other products and tips out there that work just as well. This is just my tried and true method.


Regularly cleaning and sanitizing your makeup brushes is a crucial step in your beauty routine. By following these steps, you can prevent skin irritation and infections, ensure a flawless makeup application, and extend the life of your brushes. Whether you're a makeup enthusiast or a professional makeup artist, maintaining clean and sanitized tools is key to achieving beautiful and healthy skin.

Images of Brush Cleaning Process:
1. Initial Rinse:

2. Deep Clean with Dawn Dish Soap:

3. Sanitize with Cinema Secrets or 70% Alcohol:

4. Drying Your Brushes:

By following this comprehensive guide, you can ensure your makeup brushes remain clean, sanitary, and ready for use, keeping both your skin and your clients' skin healthy and glowing.

Stay Fresh

Christian Coll

Makeup Artist CXC Beauty


Research Sources:
- [American Academy of Dermatology](
- [Cinema Secrets Brush Cleaner](
- [Dawn Dish Soap](

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.