What are the beauty rules you were taught early in life? I realize now that so many of mine were all wrong – or at the very least, wrong for me.

For years I believed everything I read in magazines. I thought the models really did have lashes that full and that long. I thought famous people didn’t have wrinkles or acne issues. I thought you were only supposed to wear certain colors of lipstick up to a certain age. I thought I was supposed to brush my hair 100 times a day. I didn’t question mainstream beauty rules, I just accepted them. But brushing my hair 100 times a day would only result in extreme frizz. And I’m not a person who believes that women shouldn’t be wearing any shade of lipstick or nail polish they love or look good in. You can rock a bold lip, nail art or glittery eye makeup at any age you want to.

The process of going natural and having to learn what my hair needed, of moving away from home and having to learn my own lessons forced me to confront what I thought I knew about beauty. I realized that I had to unlearn a lot of old stuff, and teach myself some new rules. I realized that we can rewrite the old beauty rules, and create new ones. So here’s my attempt. Here’s a new series of beauty rules that that are actually sensible, helpful, timeless, and relevant to everyone. This is number one.



Your Skin Deserves Clean Makeup Brushes.

Obvious, yes. But I know I’m not alone in being really bad about this. I know that dirty makeup brushes lead to bacteria and acne, but I’m still super lazy about it. I’ve definitely lost track of the last time I’ve cleaned my brushes before. I’ve definitely gotten breakouts that I KNEW were my own fault before. NO MORE of THAT. I’m on a regular brush-washing regimen, thanks to these helpful tips from one of my favorite professional makeup artists, Niehla Ollie. As a professional, Niehla is really really GOOD about having clean makeup brushes and a professional kit. Meanwhile I’m over here with brown brushes and sponges stained with foundation.


Makeup and brush pic via Shutterstock


I know I need to do better, so I turned to Niehla for some expert tips on keeping those makeup brushes clean. Take it away, Niehla!

5 Tips on Maintaining Clean Makeup Brushes

Clean brushes are the most important part of a well stocked makeup bag. As an artist, I take great pride in making sure that they are clean and in the best condition possible. I recommend that my clients deep clean their brushes at least two times a week to avoid breakouts from a build up of bacteria on their brushes. There are a few quick drying brush cleaners on the market that I like for use in between clients on big jobs, my favorite has always been Parian Spirit. But for a deep clean, I’ve developed my own concoction.

I typically refer to my brushes as my kids and when I give my kids a bath, it’s a process.

– First things first, I like to pre-treat them by massaging them in the center of my hand or a plate with olive oil. This helps to remove oily, waxy and hard to remove products like lipstick, gel liner and foundation and it helps condition the hair on your natural hair brushes.

– Next, repeat step one using Johnson’s baby shampoo, it’s gentle on your brushes but it will definitely clean them.

– If you want to make your life a little easier and add a splash of color to your brush washing routine, pick up a textured silicone pot holder. I got mine from Walmart but it’s also available on Amazon. It’s shaped like a honeycomb and those little ridges really help to remove that buildup from the brushes.

– Rinse with cool water making sure that the hairs are facing down, so you don’t loosen the glue that holds the hair onto the actual brush. Gently squeeze the water out of your brushes.

– Lastly, lay your brushes down overnight to dry. If you can lay them on a slight incline with the hairs facing downward on a clean dry double layer of paper towel.


And there you have it. Clean brushes! Rinse and repeat. Literally. Thanks, Niehla!

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Makeup brush photo via Shutterstock


How often do you clean your makeup brushes? What cleanser or cleansing method do you use? Tell me in the comments!





Niehla O.’s love for beauty was fostered early in life while watching her mother’s beautification process. Her love for all things fabulous grew as a teenager, where she would try out makeup looks on her friends as well as herself. As an adult, Niehla decided to take life by the horns, follow her passion and enrolled in the Makeup Artistry Certification program at Columbia College. Since, 2000, she has been honing in on her artistry skills, as an independent artist. She has also helped hundreds of clients to achieve their beauty goals while working with makeup giants, M.A.C. Cosmetics and Bobbi Brown. Her artistry has been showcased in film, music video, television, print and runway and she has a diverse clientele, from politicians to US Olympic Athletes.

Niehla currently resides in Los Angeles, California and is well on her way to fulfilling her goal of becoming one of the most sought after red carpet and print artists in the industry and to enrich the life of every client that sits in her chair.

For more, follow Makeup Artist Niehla O. via her website: facesbyniehla.com. Or you can find her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter @NiehlaO.


Kimberly says:
July 20, 2015, 2:34 pm
I often slack when it comes to washing my brushes, so this is an awesome post!
Naeema says:
July 20, 2015, 3:11 pm
Since I started regularly cleaning my brushes, I've had less break outs. And, instead of using baby shampoo, I use Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver. It removes everything! http://www.dickblick.com/products/the-masters-brush-cleaner-and-preserver/
sharon says:
July 20, 2015, 3:19 pm
Great post Niehla! I'm always worried my brushes will run out of shapes once I cleaned them. So, everytime, I use them I use the makeup wipes to clean them. Useful tip :)
afrobella says:
July 20, 2015, 4:12 pm
Great product tip @Naeema, thank you!
Erica says:
July 20, 2015, 7:41 pm
I make it a point to wash used brushes once a week. Over the years I've treated myself to a nice collection of brushes so that I can rotate enough to last the week. Niehla's suggestions re: conditioning and the silicone potholders are great ideas.
WhatUNeedIs says:
July 21, 2015, 9:48 am
Great post from Celebrity MUA Niehla O. I didn't know about the baby shampoo, that has to be very gentle. Off to purchase and get my brushes cleaned twice a week now. Thank you Afrobella!
Mia says:
July 23, 2015, 11:20 pm
I don't even wear makeup once a week - so I definitely don't do my brushes that often. I also don't do them as often as I should. (oops!) I usually do the lazy girl's version of Niehle's recommendations: baby shampoo, brushes pointed down. I also often use baby shampoo as a makeup remover, which may not be a good idea. But its convenient that it does double duty.
Jameelah says:
September 1, 2015, 5:28 am
Chileee Niehla would give me a good ole stern church muvah glare if she saw my makeup brushes right now..let me go handle that right now. Great tips! Thank you !
Alice says:
December 23, 2019, 8:51 am
Did you know that 65.8% of you never clean your makeup brushes? This is a statistic I found in my... by Crunchy Betty Right now, I’m going through a stage in my life where I’m removing a lot of stuff from other stuff.