The Right Way to Clean Your Hair and Makeup Brushes


Oh, cleaning. It’s not fun, but it’s totally necessary, and today, we’re talking bathroom cleaning. No, we’re  here to tell you how to scrub your toilet. Some of the less icky areas need to be cleaned, too—like your hair and makeup brushes. So we spoke with our resident makeup and hair guru (and manager of our test salon), Natalie LaFace, to get the scoop on how often and how to do it right.

Makeup Brushes:

If you’re using high quality makeup brushes, they’re most likely made with natural hair. Our own hair needs to be both shampooed and conditioned—it’s the same for your brushes. Natalie recommends washing brushes at least once a month. Here’s how.

To deep clean (monthly): Dip brushes in olive oil to break up the pigments and remove excess color. Rinse the brushes in water, then squirt a small amount of shampoo in your hand and combine with water. Natalie likes our No Frizz Shampoo for this–it’s gentle enough, but it gets out all the grime. Rub your brush in the shampoo/water mixture in your hand. Make sure to not be too aggressive—that will damage the brush. After shampooing, rinse brush and repeat the same step with conditioner. Rinse brush one last time before drying.

To dry: Lightly blot brushes with a paper towel as you would your own hair. Lay out additional paper towels on a clean surface, and allow brushes to dry overnight. Don’t blow dry your brushes or store them upright to dry—both can damage the brush.

For a quick fix: If you’re using the same brush to apply multiple colors, you can clean it in between applications with a spray cleaner like this one from Makeup Forever.

Hair Brushes:

If it seems like you’re constantly pulling hair out of your brush, you’re not alone. We typically lose between 50 and 100 hairs per day, and many of those end up in your brush. Between hair, dirt, oil, and product, there’s a lot of gunk that ends up in those bristles. That’s why cleaning your brush weekly, and giving it a deep clean monthly, is super important.

To clean (weekly): Use a wide tooth comb (preferably a carbon, not plastic version) to rake hair starting from the brush pad to the ends of the bristles. If you’re cleaning a round brush, think of it like pulling the hairs off of an ear of corn. How do you know when it’s time to clean? A good rule of thumb: if you can’t see the pad of the brush, it’s time to start raking.

To deep clean (monthly): Give your brush a good rinse with water. Then, create a mixture of Full Shampoo and water, and and lather it with your hands between the brush bristles. Finish by rinsing your brush in warm to hot water.

To dry: blot brush with towel and lay it flat to dry overnight.

Want more? 

The ONE Thing You Need to Do BEFORE You Shampoo

Everything You Need for the Perfect Girls’ Night In

Hair Tutorial: The Boho Braid