A step-by-step guiding to cleaning your makeup and brushes during lockdown

makeup and makeup brushes
Avoid breakouts, irritations and bacteria from your beloved makeup kit. Photo credit: Getty.

Lockdown means a break from makeup for many of us, instead focusing on a skincare regime that will let our pores breathe during these long days inside. Plus of course, there's no point in wasting that new Hourglass palette on a partner or parent who won't appreciate it. 

But while you're whiling away the hours at home, it's a great opportunity to give your makeup and brushes a good clean - something you should be doing regularly, although many of us forget. 

Disinfecting your makeup and brushes regularly prevents bacteria from being re-spread on your face, which can lead to breakouts and irritations. 

"Studies have even shown that bacteria (including E. coli) could be transferred via makeup sponges, and it's not impossible that viruses (including the COVID-19 coronavirus) could also survive on these surfaces," says Henry Paterson, a spokesperson for cleaning company Housekeep,

The makeup and beauty experts at Fox Collective have done a deep dive and are letting us know which beauty products we should be cleaning, how often we should be doing so and the process we should be using to sanitise them:


In what will be surprising news to many of us, your lipstick should be cleaned weekly. If you're wondering how you clean a lipstick, you simply gently scrape off the top layer or leave it overnight in your freezer to kill bacteria. 


This is one you should avoid cleaning, the experts reveal. Depending what you use to clean the wand with it can irritate your eyes, or if not dried properly can grow fungus or harbour bacteria. Just keep a fairly high turnover of mascaras, and avoid pumping the wand multiple times during application which can lead to oxidisation and bacteria growth.

Powder (pressed and loose)

Cleaning your powder products is vital, as that is often the product you will continually dip a brush in to swirl across the face. Luckily it's extremely easy - a quick spritz with rubbing alcohol will do the trick. 

Sponges, or products with sponge applicators

Sponges are vitally important to wash, as they're a breeding ground for applying bacteria to your face, leading to breakouts. According to Fox Collective, regularly cleaning sponges also prolongs their lifespan. To wash them, apply liquid soap and work it in until you start to see the colour change as the makeup leaves the sponge. Rinse fully and allow to air dry

Makeup brushes

Makeup brushes can hold a lot of dead skin, dirt and oils which can harbour bacteria and mould. Similarly to the sponges, you can work liquid soap into the brush and rinse until it runs clear. Alternatively, spray with rubbing alcohol or dip them into a container filled with rubbing alcohol. Once saturated, rub the brush against a paper towel to remove the makeup, and then allow to air dry in the sunshine. If you have a lot of brushes this can be a time-consuming task - perfect for a sunny lockdown afternoon. 

While you're doing your clean, it's a good chance to take a look at some of the expiry dates of your products.

Dermatologist Dr Sreedhar Krishna told Fox Collective that "the expiry dates listed [on beauty products] are there for a reason". 

"The ingredients degrade over time. This can simply mean that the product may not work in way that you at expect. However, the broken-down ingredients may actually be harmful and trigger breakouts and skin irritation."

So put on a podcast and get to scrubbing and chucking as needed. Not only is it a great way of passing the time, you'll come out of lockdown with fresh and clean makeup ready to be worn out in public again.