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How to Properly Take Care of Your Makeup Brushes

How to Properly Take Care of Your Makeup Brushes

We hate to break it to you, but washing your makeup brushes isn’t optional.

We know it’s a pain to constantly clean them. No one really wants to do it. But if you don’t clean your brushes regularly, you’re exposing yourself to tons of harmful bacteria and putting yourself at risk of serious infection.

And after this read, we think brush cleaning will be at the top of your to-do list.

The dangers of using dirty makeup brushes

When it comes to using dirty makeup brushes, skin reactions like breakouts, rashes, and inflammation are on the lighter end of the scale.

Makeup brushes pick up loads of bacteria every time they’re used (and, if you keep your brushes in the bathroom, they’re picking up bacteria every time you flush, too).

Your skin collects and creates a whole host of different bacteria every single day—pollution, oil, dirt, and dead skin cells being the main offenders. All of that gunk ends up on your makeup brushes and is smeared all over your skin the next time you use them.

There are a couple of serious infections that can come with using dirty makeup brushes, including:

  • Pink eye
  • General fungal infections
  • E. coli
  • Staph infection

Additionally, sharing makeup brushes with other people can expose you to strep and cold sores, so we recommend keeping your brushes to yourself.

Leaving cream and liquid products on your brushes is especially dangerous because most kinds of bacteria (especially mold) thrive in damp, moist environments. Not to mention the damage your brushes endure when you leave these products to dry (think about what happens to a paintbrush covered in dry paint). 

We all know makeup brushes don’t come cheap, and neglecting regular cleanings not only threatens your health, but it also shortens their lifespan drastically.

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Caring for your makeup brushes

As long as you’re taking care of your brushes, they can last you anywhere from 1-3 years. After 3 years, it’s time for a replacement.

But the question is: how do you properly take care of your makeup brushes?

Ideally, if you use your brushes every day, you should be cleaning them every night. And at a minimum, you really need to clean them once a week.

Luckily when it comes to cleaning them, the process is pretty simple.

Makeup Brushes

How to clean your makeup brushes

  1. Wet your brushes: using warm water, wet only the bristles of your makeup brushes. Be sure to avoid getting the water inside the brush, as the glue holding everything together will dissolve over time with consistent exposure to things like water and soap.
  1. Apply your cleanser: you can clean your makeup brushes with dish soap, gentle shampoo (baby shampoo works wonders!), or brush cleanser. There are two ways to do this next step: massaging the cleanser into the bristles by hand or using a brush cleaning pad like the one from Thrive Causemetics (this is an easy way to get your brushes squeaky clean in no time).

P.S. jane iredale has a great vegan and cruelty-free makeup brush cleanser to try!

  1. Rinse and squeeze: massage your bristles underneath warm water to remove all of the soap, and then rinse under the tap until the water runs clear.

After rinsing, gently squeeze out the excess water with a clean hand towel to speed up the drying process.

  1. Air dry: putting makeup brushes in the dryer is somewhat of a trend right now, but the truth is that this can ruin your brushes and shorten their lifespan by a ton. The heat from the dryer will warm up the glue and make the bonding less and less strong over time.

Letting your brushes air dry is the best way to finish up your cleaning process. Drying them upside down using a brush tower like the one from Sigma Beauty is ideal because it helps your brushes maintain their shape—plus it also drains any water that accidentally ended up inside the brush. But you can also line them up along the edge of your counter to dry them sideways!

When it comes down to it, taking care of your makeup brushes is actually pretty quick and painless. Try building it into your nighttime or weekend routine so that it’ll become a habit over time!

Vegan makeup brushes to try


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There are still so many brushes out there being made with animal hair and fur—what they call “natural” makeup brushes.

But natural makeup brushes don’t perform any better than synthetic brushes, and, as we’re sure you already know, we don’t believe there’s any place for animal cruelty in makeup.

So of course we had to give you some cruelty-free, vegan makeup brush recommendations! Go fur-free with your brushes with the following excellent products: 

Lime Crime Aquarium Makeup Brushes

You don’t ever have to give up style when you opt for vegan products—and these brushes are proof of that.

These essential brushes are great for makeup beginners because of their user-friendly design and affordable price tag. Plus, you can take them anywhere in the little to-go case they come with! And they’re super soft, so you won’t have to worry about any poking or irritation. 

Different makeup brushes on counter


Other insanely affordable options are the brushes from e.l.f. They have tons of different brushes and brush sets to choose from, and they can be found in most drug stores. They also have an awesome Makeup Brush Cleaner Shampoo that, for only $5, is definitely worth the buy.

Sigma Beauty

There’s a reason Sigma Beauty makeup brushes are a cult favorite.

These professional makeup brushes are all synthetic (meaning they’re all vegan!) and although they’re a bit on the pricey side, every brush comes with a 2-year warranty, so it’s money well spent.

Final thoughts

Cleaning your makeup brushes isn’t something to skip—if you do, you’re putting your health at risk. And your health should be your #1 priority!

So, always make sure you’re cleaning and replacing your brushes when it's time. You don’t want to realize your mistake after it’s already too late! 

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Please note: A product appearing in our blog is not an official Kinder Beauty endorsement. While every product we feature in an article is cruelty-free and vegan, these products do not necessarily meet all of our strict brand standards for curation in one of our boxes.

Ashley Webb is a professional copywriter for the clean, vegan, and cruelty-free beauty industry. Using SEO and consumer research, she writes blogs, webpage copy, product descriptions, and emails for beauty brands that are committed to making a difference. Adopting her two kitties, Ivy and Binx, started her journey to advocacy for animal rights, and even led her to go vegan! Learn more about her and her work at

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