How To Properly Care For Makeup Brushes And Applicators

In my previous article regarding tips to reducing acne breakouts, I stated that makeup can (and does for me) play a role in my breakouts. One of the things to take note of is not just the products themselves but what you are using to put these products on. We can’t obviously live in a bubble and not strut around displaying our beautiful selves, but we can take steps in avoiding the pattern of touching our skin with icky makeup brushes and applicators.

I learned these things very quickly as a teen and with my ongoing battle with acne. It took me very little time to realize that when I was breaking out around my eyes, lips or the frame of my face is was a reaction to my not taking care of makeup brushes and applicators. So here is a bit of information on not only how to properly care for these things, but also ways to store them also.


The first thing I want you to know is that you should truly invest in bulk of makeup (foundation) sponges if you use them. I have learned that I never use the same one for more than one application. And if you use your hands to apply foundation (liquid type) be sure to wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer. As I mention in my previous article, hands to face is bad.

Next is eyeshadow brushes. Every once in a great while you may notice a small breakout anywhere (including eyebrows) in the eye area. You should also invest in MANY eyeshadow applicators and brushes. Store them in a Ziploc baggy. I have found the best way to clean these is using eye makeup remover and then rinsing with warm water. You can also grab a soft terry cloth and wipe them down before and after. To dry them, get a tooth brush holder (or the likes) and stand them up, brush side up, to dry.

Now onto the larger makeup brushes and applicators. You can do very much the same thing as the eyeshadow brushes. Or you can wipe them clean with a terry cloth and alcohol. Store these also in Ziploc baggies.

I advise to not use soap. I have noticed that soap and water combination easily make these brushes dry out, brittle and worthless. Often makeup removers have a light or even strong oil base and while oil isn’t the best for the skin, a light sweep to clean this and then rinse with water will keep the brushes and applicators in working condition.

Do not harshly scrub any of these items. They will fall apart, break and become non-usable. If they are not proving to clean, head down to the store — it’s time for new ones. I also highly advise not using the applicators that came in makeup (powder, foundation). Makeup brushes and sponges are the best. They are cheaper to purchase and easier to maintain. Those that come in makeup are not always of the best quality and are extremely hard to clean.

When cleaning applicators like: eyelash curlers, plastic eyelash/eyebrow combs, eyebrow shapers & trimmers; I use cotton balls and alcohol. And again store all of these items in Ziploc bags. I also at least once a week or every two weeks go through with alcohol and/or soap and water and clean all makeup lids and holders etc.

Some of the products I recommend for cleaning and sanitizing your makeup are:

Unlimited Brush Cleaner – Napoleon Perdis

Japonesque Professional Parian Spirit Brush Cleaner Spray

Johnson’s Natural Baby Shampoo


Coming up will be information regarding the expiration of your products! Yes they expire and yes…you gotta toss ’em!



  1. […] your makeup. My makeup is a huge source of my breakouts. I will write an article very soon on how makeup applicators can cause breakouts and how to take care of your makeup. But pay attention to your makeup. Oily makeup on oily skin is a bad combination. If you take note […]