The Best New Ways To Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Photographed by Winnie Au.
Breakouts. Poor makeup application. Ruined brushes. These are all things we’d rather dodge, right? Turns out, skimping on cleansing your makeup brushes and sponges can cause all of the above, as bacteria builds up on bristles — not cool for your skin or tools.
Of course, you can’t blame a girl for not being super enthusiastic about the process and putting it off for as long as possible. The whole thing is so hard to figure out, and, well, straight-up gross. There’s constant debate about what you should use to clean brushes: Is dish soap really okay? And, it feels like it takes an eternity to get all that gunk off your tools…and hands. Nasty. Oh, and waking up to still-damp brushes? The worst. Kiss any chance of decent-looking makeup goodbye.
Thankfully, the makeup gods have answered our prayers, and tons of handy new inventions are now on the market to make the process easier, quicker, and a little less disgusting. They’re so cool, in fact, that you’ll be looking forward to treating your tools properly. Click through to see the best of these holy-grail developments. Here’s to clear skin and longer-lasting brushes.
1 of 8
Photo: Via Sigma Beauty.
Wearing a glove means no germs or makeup residue on your hands. (Hallelujah.) You can use one side of it for face brushes and the other for eye brushes. On each side, clusters of differently textured bumps indicate cleansing steps: “wash,” “rinse,” “refine,” and “shape.” It’s shockingly effective — and you only have to go through the process once for your brushes to be squeaky-clean.
2 of 8
Photo: Via BrushEgg.
Love the idea of the Sigma glove, but looking for a little more hands-on control? The BrushEgg slips onto two fingers, so all of your digits aren’t restricted. This tiny tool — which comes in adorable pink and mint colors — is a simple two-step: The knobs on top are perfect for lathering, while the bottom grooves work hard to get all that junk out. You can use it with whatever soap you like.
3 of 8
Photo: Via Japonesque.
Ahh, simplicity. What could be easier than swirling your brushes atop this solid balm before running them under the tap? Plus, the incredibly gentle goat-milk formula will spoil your brushes and avoid irritating the skin. And, the smell? To die for. Who knew cleaning your tools could feel luxurious?
4 of 8
Photo: Via Sephora Collection.
Are you a girl on the go? Then, you’ll love these non-alcohol wipes. Simply lay one of them onto a flat surface and brush your tools over it. They come in individually wrapped packets, so you can leave one in your purse, one in your office, one in your car...basically wherever you need to be on the daily. Be aware, though: These won’t replace your occasional deep-cleaning.
5 of 8
Photo: Via The Brush Guard.
Someone must have called this brand and ranted about every possible problem that crops up during tool cleansing — because, seriously, this kit’s got it all. Wash your brushes with the brush shampoo inside the textured cleansing cup and blot with the bamboo cloth. Next, wrap the included brush guards around bristles to keep them in place, and leave them to dry in the ventilated vase. Yup, we’re pretty sure it has everything covered.
6 of 8
Photo: Via Graftobian.
What else could you expect from a company known for its theater and special-effects makeup? Apparently, they’ve got removing it down to a science, too. The lid locks, so you can pump cleanser into the bottle, lock it for use, and swirl brushes around to get them super clean. You can also keep it locked in your bag while you’re on the go. No purse leakage? We’re in.
7 of 8
Photo: Via Benjabelle.
The mysteries of brush-cleaning aren’t completely debunked without a solution for how to stop drying those babies out. Once you’re done cleansing, stick 'em into this upside-down contraption to dry them more efficiently and keep bristles from flattening or getting wonky. They’ll be good to go in just a few hours — no need for that next-morning panic.
8 of 8
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!