According to leading Australian makeup artist, Rae Morris. 

Pictured above are my makeup brushes – not the ones I set aside in the TB ‘beauty cupboard’ to shoot content – but the ones I use on my face on a daily basis. And yes, they’re very dirty! Or at least they they were until I spoke to Rae. I don’t care to admit how long it’s actually been since I last washed them (in shampoo, ROOKIE!), but let’s just say if I were to tell you it had been three weeks, it would be safe to assume the ‘rule by three’ had been applied. Gross, I know!

Here, the renowned makeup artist, and creator of the Rae Morris Magnetic brush range chats brush cleansing the right way…  

“I use a brush cleaner that is the same formulation used to sterilise surgical instruments. I don’t like or ever use conditioners or conditioning shampoos. I use very strong alcohol based, anti-bacterial brush cleaner that I get from a professional supplier called Scotty’s in Sydney.

I use it in a spray bottle and spray it directly on to the brush bristles before wiping the brush in the same motion as if you were actually using it, on to a dry paper towel or tissue. Not wet wipes, as they are going to leave a film on the brush.

If I am going to wash them, I use a washing detergent and water. This technique is fine if you’re the only person using your brushes. I dip the tip of brush into the solution and with the tap running warm water, I swirl the brush on a white plate until the water runs clear. Its really important to always make sure the bristles are in the perfect position when wet so that when they dry they return to the correct shape.

I work on many faces in a single day and the potential of spreading a cold sore, for example, is something I have to take very seriously. I get asked all the time if this type of cleaning will dry them out and with my brushes the answer is no! They aren’t coated in waxes or dyed so there is nothing to dry out, likewise you won’t have a problem with synthetic brushes. It may however slightly dry out other brush brands but I’d prefer a dry brush than germs.

Another benefit with the brush cleaner I use is that the entire process takes less than 10 seconds, whereas with shampooing can sometimes take all night.

Today, Rae launches Rae Morris: Makeup Masterclass, a first-of-its-kind interactive beauty book with all sales proceeds being donated to Amnesty International and the Cambodian Children’s Trust. Available at the app store and at

Written by Chloe Brinklow.

Photography by Simon Taylor X TOMBOY Beauty.