How to Take Care of Makeup Brushes: Brush Maintenance 101

The quality of the product can be measured by how long it last. Just like other traditional crafts on A-Janaika Japan, makeup brushes last long and even gets better as you use them. It will better fit the skin, picks up just the right amount of product and it would start to feel “right” in your palm. With proper knowledge on how to take care of the brush, it would last for years to come. Today, let’s dive into the world of makeup brush maintenance and best practice.

Daily maintenance

Finishing Brush, Powder Brush and Cheek brush

Please remove any excess powder left on bristle by tapping the bristle. If some powder still remains, gently wipe it clean with soft tissue or cloth.

Do not rub the bristle too hard during this process as it could damage the hairs and cause them to shed.

Tapping off the excess powder on makeup brush. It can be done by both hand or clean cloth.

Lip, Shadow brush

Cleaning lip makeup brush with tissue by sweeping motion.
Cleaning lip brush with tissue.

Make sure that you take any excess product on the bristle by gently sweeping the brush on soft tissue.

These types of small brushes do not need frequent wash if kept in good, clean condition without product left in its bristle.

Washing the Brush

It is recommended to wash the brush at least once a month if you’re using it daily. Otherwise, it could result in smell or a having beads of makeup in the bristle. Brushes with dyed hair have to be treated with care since they have a very thin protective layer on each hair to prevent dye to bleed out. Use soft detergent to not to damage the protective coat, and keep the color longer (it will eventually fade over time).

It is normal for a brush to have few strings of hair falling out during a wash, but if there’s more hair falling off, you may be applying too much force.

Frequency of washing care by materials

Goat or synthetic brushes are more resilient, and can withstand frequent wash; once or twice a month, but Squirrel brushes are recommended to be washed as little as possible, 3 to 4 times a year would be more than enough depending on usage.

*Brush used with cream type product require a wash after every use.


  • Water (room temperature)
  • Fragrance-free soap (baby soap recommended), or mild shampoo
  • Medium sized ball (10 cm in diameter is enough)
  • Towel or soft cloth (a type with microfiber is the best)
  • Tissue papers
  • Comb (optional)
  1. If it is a big powder brush, soak the bristle with water.

    Use running water to soak the powder brush bristle.
  2. Mix water and soap/shampoo in the ball, and gently wash the bristle up to the ferrule. This can also be done on the palm of your hand. Try not to get the handle or ferrule wet too much, as it is not good for some brush that’s made of wood.

    Wash the brush by moving it in circular motion.
  3. Gently squeeze the brush with fingers towards the tip to remove any makeup left in the bristle.

    Softly squeeze the bristle with finger to remove any makeup product left in the bristle hair.
    Softly squeeze the bristle with finger to remove any makeup product left in the bristle hair.
  4. Rinse the brush with fresh water thoroughly.

    Rinse well with running water, make sure that there are no soap or shampoo left.
  5. Gently squeeze the bristle with a towel and shake off any excess water.Use towel to dry the brush after washing
  6. Shape the bristle into the original shape, and leave it in the shade to dry naturally. Make sure that bristle is completely dry before use.

    Shape the bristle gently with finger, and place it in cups to let it dry naturally.

*Do not use a dryer and avoid leaving it under direct sunlight as it would damage the hair.

Storing Makeup Brushes

For your favorite brushes for daily makeup, place them in a glass or holder, keeping its bristle up and handle down.

If you plan to store the brushes for a long period of time (1 month+), make sure that it is clean and completely dried. Place it in the original plastic bag that came with the purchase, and store it in a clean and dry environment to keep it in the best condition.

*Brush hair could get damaged for prolonged storage, causing them to shed. It is recommended to use the brush at least once a month.

Life span of Makeup Brush

With proper maintenance and care, Japanese makeup brush normally lasts around 3 to 5 years or longer. However, this may change depending on how frequent you use your brush, the type of product you use and type of bristle.

When the brush can no longer hold as much powder as before, or the texture becomes worse, it is a sign to change the brush.

Makeup brush gallery of Hiroshima, Kumano – 筆の里


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Written by Hiro Kano

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