When was the last time you cleaned your makeup brushes? Last week? Last month? Last year? More often than not, it’s one of the mandatory tasks that gets pushed aside when you’re in a mad dash to get your makeup done. Carol Mackie, M·A·C Global Senior Artist for Australia shares how to wash your makeup brushes correctly to have sparkling clean – not only is it better for your skin, it can also extend the life of your makeup brushes, too. Here, we asked Mackie our most commonly asked questions on how to clean your makeup brushes at home – you might be shocked at some of the answers!

How often do I need to wash my makeup brushes?

You should be washing your makeup brushes at least once per week, using a brush cleanser in-between more thorough cleansing, explains Mackie. “I like to use a conditioning shampoo and often soap, depending on what type of makeup I have been using,” she says. “When I’m cleaning my brushes in-between weekly washes, I use the M·A·C Brush Cleanser to help sanitise and clean. It’s really easy to use; just pour a little of the Brush Cleanser on a cotton pad or tissue, then gently move your brush back and forward to release the colour and remove any residue. Allow them to dry for five to 10 minutes and then they’re ready to go.”

How should I wash my makeup brushes?

Step 1: Run the brushes through warm to hot water and add a little bit of conditioning shampoo with a lovely fragrance. If you have a few smaller brushes to clean, you can do them all at the same time.

Step 2: Massage the brush to loosen any makeup and rinse to remove all soap and debris, repeating this motion until the water runs clear and there is no sight of any colour.

Step 3: Once you have washed your brushes, simply squeeze the remaining water out with a tissue or clean towel, working from the tip of the brush hair to the base. Then, gently tease the brush hair into its natural shape. Expert tip: Spritz a scented Fix + formula lightly over your brushes to give them a refreshing fragrance.

Step 4: Lay the brushes flat on a piece of paper towel to dry. It’s important that they’re not standing in a container, as water can run from the brush head down into the base of the brush, which can result in the paint peeling away from the handle over time. 

How long will my makeup brushes take to dry?

“I usually leave my brushes to dry overnight and line them up on the bench with the brush head just over the side of the bench so the air can circulate,” says Mackie. “They will be perfectly dry in the morning. If I ever get the chance to wash them during the day (a luxury!), I love to leave them in the sun for a little while and they dry really quickly.”

Is the cleaning process different when you’re washing synthetic brushes vs natural hair makeup brushes?

“The technique is exactly the same, however synthetic brushes tend to be a lot stronger and easier to clean. If you are using an oil-based products such as a lipstick [on natural brushes] and you find that you’re having difficulty removing it, try a product like a dishwashing liquid (something a little stronger that will actually break down the oil) or an oil-based makeup remover to remove any cream-based products,” explains Mackie.