This £29 Gadget Might Actually Take The Faff Out Of Cleaning Your Make-Up Brushes

Follow our experts advice on how to clean your make-up brushes, as well as how often you should do it

How to clean your make-up brushes

by Emma Stoddart |
Updated on

During the pandemic online searches for 'how to clean your make-up brushes' soared by a staggering 4350% according to beauty discovery website Cosmetify. This follows on from research that found around one quarter (26%) of Brits have never cleaned their make-up brushes, ever.

A new The Body Shop survey has revealed that on average, we Brits who are cleaning our make-up brushes and sponges are doing so just twice a year. Sound familiar? This begs the question, how bad is it really for you to leave your go-to make-up tools unwashed for this long?

Enter skincare expert, Dr Emma Wedgeworth and renowned make-up artist, Lisa Potter-Dixon, two beauty professionals who know the answer all too well:

Shop: The Best Make-Up Brush Cleaners


The Best Make-Up Brush Cleaners - Grazia 2022

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StylPro Makeup Brush Cleaner and Dryer, £29.99

This gadget is the brainchild of Tom Pellereau - winner of The Apprentice and inventor of the curved nail file. While traditional brush cleansing involves leaving them out to dry for around 24 hours, the all-in-one process involved with this one quick whirl.

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MAC Cosmetics Brush Cleaner, £12

It's the brush cleanser beloved by the pros. Don't be tempted to reach for the Fairy Liquid. This solution is effective and yet kind-to-bristles too.

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Beautyblender Pure Solid Cleanser, £15

Renowned make-up artist Lisa Potter-Dixon rates BlenderCleanser's solid option and says that it offers a seriously deep clean. It's nice and compact too, saving you valuable space in your bathroom cabinet.

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Clinique Make-Up Brush Cleanser, £14

Clinique tick boxes with their spray-on option, and like the MAC Cosmetic classic it gets the job done while preserving the delicate bristles of your favourite make-up brushes.

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Bobbi Brown Brush Cleaning Spray, £16

Bobbi Brown, too, have brush cleansers covered. Like Clinique's, it's a spray on iteration, which makes it pretty fuss free. The all-black packaging makes it look pretty pro-worthy too.

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Real Techniques Brush Cleanser, £6.99

Another favourite of the one and only Lisa Potter-Dixon, if you've stockpiled Real Techniques brushes, it makes sense to cleanse them with an offering from the same brand because you know the formula has been tested on the same bristles.

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SIGMA Express Brush Cleaning Mat

If you want an effect deep clean, this is your go-to. Each textured area (there are seven) offers a clean for both eye and face brushes, it also includes areas where you can rinse, wash and refine your brushes. Ensuring they are well taken care of.

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CREDIT: Fenty Beauty Dry Brush-Cleaning Sponge

Fenty Beauty Dry Brush-Cleaning Sponge

One of those unbelievable mysteries that just works. No water or soap needed, just swirl your bush in the textured sponge in a circular motion to remove powder pigment from bristles. It makes switching between shades a dream.

Why do we need to clean our make-up brushes?

‘With each use, a make-up brush builds up a collection of product residue, skin cells and excess oil,’ explains Wedgeworth, ‘this combination is not only pore blocking, but can act as an ideal breeding ground for microorganisms like bacteria and fungi.’

Using unwashed brushes, therefore, can actually make us more susceptible to skin infections - particularly if there are any areas of broken skin. ‘If you are acne prone you definitely don’t want to be using a dirty brush as the unsavoury combination of old make-up mixed with oil and dead skin cells is highly pore blocking,’ explains Wedgeworth.

‘I get a lot of clients asking me why they suddenly have irritated skin,’ says Potter-Dixon, ‘My answer? “When was the last time you cleaned your makeup brushes?”

How often should you clean your make-up brushes?

According to Wedgeworth, ‘it’s a good idea to get into the habit of cleaning them every 7-10 days.’ Slightly more than 6 months, then...

As a professional make-up artist, Potter-Dixon cleans them after every use when using them on other people. ‘For personal use, I try and clean them once a week. If that’s not feasible, even once a month is better than nothing.’

Is it bad to share your make-up brushes with others?

Cosmetify found from its research poll that more than two thirds of respondents have previously shared their make-up brushes with another person. And, I mean, why not? When we can finally go out again, it saves precious handbag space if only one of you need to take a bronzing brush. It’s also fun to swap and share with friends.

But, unfortunately, it’s not so fun for our skin. ‘We all have a unique balance of bacteria and fungi on our skin and we get into a natural groove with these microorganisms. Using someone else’s brush will expose us to a whole host of different bacteria which our skin’s immune system is not used to and can put us more at risk of infection,’ explains Wedgeworth.

How to clean your make-up brushes and the £29 gadget that helps get the job done

Thankfully, there are a host of new, fool-proof cleaning tools that can be super quick to use. Some of them are probably in your bathroom already, too.

‘Your shampoo is a good starting place as you know you are not sensitive to it and well, it’s great for cleaning hair,’ advises Potter-Dixon. ‘Always double cleanse your brushes and leave to dry naturally on a towel. Heat drying them can melt the glue that holds the bristles in place.’

Potter-Dixon’s favourite cleaning products include ‘the Beautyblender Solid Cleanser, £15, – this gives a real deep clean. I also love the Sigma Brush Cleaning Glove, £69.50, it’s amazing if you have a lot of brushes to clean as it has different compartments to deep clean different sized brushes. Cinema Secrets Solution, £21.95, is also brilliant, as is the Real Techniques Brush Cleanser, £6.99.’

Don't forget about the £29.99 StylPro too.The brainchild of Tom Pellereau - winner of The Apprentice and inventor of the curved nail file - while traditional brush cleansing involves leaving them out to dry for around 24 hours, the all-in-one process involved with this one will see them not far off dry in one lightning quick whirl. It's the device that might just take the faff out of cleansing your make-up brushes once and for all.

Her top trick? ‘Always remember to be gentle when washing your brushes and always mold the head back into shape whilst wet so that it dries that way.’

Time to have a spring clean…

READ MORE: The Very Best Makeup Brushes, According To Our Rigorous And Ruthless Testing Team

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