how to clean makeup brushes

I’ve partnered with @JohnsonsBaby for this post.

If you ever use makeup brushes and have wondered if you need to clean them, how often you need to clean them, or if this thought never crossed your mind, you’re in the right place. The answer is YES, you need to clean your makeup brushes and you need to do it regularly – I’ll show you how to wash your makeup brushes simply so it becomes a part of your normal routine.

Think about it – we’re constantly reminded not to touch our faces because of spreading dirt and bacteria, yet I speculate many people rub brushes on their faces daily without washing them. By not cleaning your brushes, you’re allowing skin particles, dust, old product, germs, and bacteria to grow and transfer to your face and to your cosmetics, and the grimy circle of filth continues on and on. Yuck.

I’m in the habit of regularly washing and disinfecting my brushes with three products – water, tea tree oil, and JOHNSON’S® baby shampoo. Since I have kiddos, I always have the baby shampoo anyway, and I like to add in tea tree oil because it naturally disinfects and gets rid of bacteria. The shampoo is gentle, removes makeup residue well, and leaves your bristles conditioned, too. This combination will leave your makeup brushes with a clean, refreshing, delicious smell.

How to wash your makeup brushes


Put a small amount of JOHNSON’S® baby shampoo in a small dish – I use lotus bowls. Put a few drops of tea tree oil on top.

clean makeup brushes

Dampen the bristles of your makeup brush with running lukewarm water in a downward motion – you want to avoid water running up into the area where the brush attaches to the handle because the glue can become loose.

clean makeup brushes

Swirl your dampened brush in the shampoo/tea tree oil mixture in the small dish. Gently work the mixture deeper in the bristles in your hand, on a Tupperware container lid, or on a brush cleaning pad.

clean makeup brushes

Rinse with lukewarm water, again, avoiding totally submerging the brush. Work the mixture out with your fingers until the water runs clear. You may want to repeat the cleaning steps again if necessary.

Clean one brush at a time. When you’re finished, dry them laying flat or at a downward angle so the water does not run up the handle.

clean makeup brushes

I like to wash my brushes at night so they’re all fresh and ready for me in the morning. So tell me honestly – do you wash your brushes regularly? If you wash your brushes, what’s your method?

  • Washing your makeup brushes is so important!!! I will be washing mine over the holidays!! I have never used Johnson’s Baby Shampoo to wash mine but I will have to try it out soon!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      I think you’d love it, whether or not you have kids, the smell is heavenly and it leaves your brushes really soft.

  • I have always used Johnson’s Baby Shampoo for my brushes-it’s so gentle on them! Reading this post definitely reminded me that it’s been a little too long since the last time I cleaned mine, whoops!

    xoxo, SS

    Southern and Style

    • Lindsay Katherine

      I love that it keeps the bristles really soft, too : ) and that SMELL!

  • Kristen Jones

    I love using Johnson’s baby shampoo!! It helps them get super clean and soft, but then they smell SUPER good. I just got a brush cleaning mat for Christmas and using that plus Johnson’s is just heavenly for cleaning my brushes!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      I love using my brush cleaning mat, too! Glad to hear you’re on the Johnson’s train with me : )

  • I’ve never used tea tree oil or baby shampoo to clean my brushes but I think i’ll clean them this way next time!!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      hope you enjoy it : ) it’s a great combo.

  • You just reminded me that I need to wash my own brushes. Thanks for the tips!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      you’re welcome!

  • I seriously need to wash mine – it’s been awhile haha. It really is easy to do!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      hopefully this was a good reminder! it seems the consensus is that most people forget : )

  • Kelsie Kleinmeyer

    I’ve got lots of baby shampoo, so this is great ha! I also barely ever use my brushes, but I should still give them a wash!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      it’s a great way to hack your baby’s shampoo!

  • Well illustrated and I think it’s a great reminder 🙂

  • Those bowls are really cute! Great idea for cleaning, too. I recently bought a little silicone thing from Real Techniques and it’s so helpful for cleaning brushes!

  • Such great tips! I’m going to deep clean ALL of my brushes to start 2018 fresh LOL!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      yay! i’m glad to have helped : )

  • Paige Allison

    How cute are your brushes though?! Washing mine is something I need to get wayyyyyy better about. I do it 3-4 times a year but they’re still so dirty when I actually get around to it, it’s so gross!

  • You just reminded me that I have got clean my brushes. Like, today. Oh man. Thanks!

    • Lindsay Katherine

      glad to be of service : )

  • Tiffany Huebner

    I do not clean my brushes enough. Then again, I don’t wear makeup much either soooo…. 🙂
    But, I will add tea tree oil to my next brush bath!