Here’s How to Maintain Your Makeup Brushes Like a Pro

Kristen Bousquet
how to keep the shape of your brushes

Photo: Matt King / Getty

When it comes to makeup, as with any art, you need the right tools to achieve the results you want. And when it comes to cosmetics, the right makeup brushes will make all the difference in how your makeup applies, wears and looks. But beauty doesn’t come cheap, and the right brushes can sometimes mean expensive brushes. So if you’re spending tons of cash on makeup brushes, you’ll obviously want to keep them in shape for as long as possible. Here’s all the best tips for cleaning, storing and caring for your makeup brushes so that they last a lifetime.

1. Use a daily brush cleanser after every use.
Even if you’re applying makeup with a clean brush onto a clean face, bacteria is still a risk. That’s why it’s important to cleanse your brushes with a daily brush cleaner before and after use—especially if you have them sitting upright in a jar or stand. When dust and bacteria are in the air, they’ll fall right into the bristles and that’s the last thing you’ll want to buff onto your skin. We recommend the Sephora Collection brush cleaner ($8.50, Sephora) or if you’re in a pinch, you can always show off your domestic abilities and DIY one yourself.

2. Make sure to deep clean your brushes once every one to two weeks.
It’s said that everyone should deep clean their makeup brushes at least once a week. Yes, if you’re using your makeup brushes daily, you definitely should be deep cleaning them once a week, but for those who only wear makeup infrequently, once every two weeks is totally fine.

When it comes to deep cleaning your brushes, you’ll want to use a brush shampoo, like Bare Minerals’ Well Cared For Conditioning Shampoo ($14, or a makeup removing, foaming face wash like Purity by Philosophy ($24, Sephora). Or if you’re too lazy to take the time to shampoo all your brushes, you’ll love a deep cleaning, quick drying cleaning liquid like Parian Spirit ($23, which is a favorite among many makeup artists.

MORE: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Makeup Brushes.

3. To get the deepest clean, use a tool to get all the dirt and grime out.
When deep cleaning, you could always use your hands and swirl the brush in your palm, but for the ultimate clean, using a tool specifically designed to scrub bristles without damaging them will get your brushes just about as clean as they can get. The Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Glove ($39, is fun to use and removes every ounce of product from even the most delicate brushes every time.

4. Get the softness back in your brushes with a bit of conditioner.
Depending on the brush, sometimes after you wash them too many times, your brushes may become rough or dull and just plain uncomfortable to use on your skin. If your brushes get to that point, using a dab of conditioner (yes, the same one you’d use for your hair) to condition the bristles isn’t a bad idea.

5. To literally keep them in shape, dry them upside-down.
Since brushes are shaped a certain way to do certain things, keeping them in that same shape is important. But sometimes when they’re drying the shape can get messed up and your brush may never work the same again! What’s a girl to do? Invest in a brush tree ($19.99, Amazon ), of course. Now you can let your brushes dry upside down, making sure they stay in perfect shape the whole time.

MORE: Here’s How to De-Clutter Your Makeup Drawer.