Should you wash makeup brushes with hot or cold?

by:Suprabeauty     2023-07-11

Should you wash makeup brushes with hot or cold?

If you're a makeup enthusiast, you probably know that regularly cleaning your makeup brushes is essential to maintain their performance and longevity. But have you ever wondered whether hot or cold water is better for this task? In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of using hot or cold water to wash your makeup brushes, helping you make an informed decision. From the temperature's effect on brush cleanliness to its impact on brush shape, we'll cover it all.

1. Introduction to cleaning makeup brushes

Before delving into the debate between hot and cold water, let's take a moment to understand the importance of cleaning your makeup brushes. Over time, makeup residue, oil, and bacteria accumulate on the bristles, leading to an unhygienic environment. These contaminants can transfer onto your skin, causing breakouts, irritations, and even infection. Hence, regular cleaning is crucial to ensure the brushes remain in top condition and maintain your skin's health.

2. Pros and cons of washing with hot water

Hot water has long been associated with effective cleaning due to its ability to dissolve dirt and grease effectively. When it comes to makeup brushes, hot water can efficiently break down stubborn foundation, concealer, or any other thick makeup products that accumulate on the bristles. The higher temperature can also act as a disinfectant and kill some bacteria.

However, there are downsides to using hot water as well. Exposing your brushes to excessively hot water for extended periods may cause damage, especially to the glue that holds the bristles in place. Additionally, hot water can weaken the bristles, leading to shedding and a shorter lifespan for your brushes. Therefore, while hot water may offer effective cleaning, you need to proceed with caution to avoid any potential harm.

3. The benefits of washing with cold water

Cold water also has its advantages when it comes to cleaning makeup brushes. Firstly, cold water is gentle on the bristles, helping them maintain their shape and structure for longer periods. This is particularly important for fluffy brushes used for powder products, as they can lose their softness and performance when exposed to excessive heat.

Moreover, cold water is less likely to damage any glue holding the bristles together, ensuring the brushes maintain their durability over time. Coldwater may not dissolve makeup as effectively as hot water, but it still helps in removing the bulk of the product if used in conjunction with a brush cleanser or soap.

4. Finding the middle ground: lukewarm water

Amidst the debate between hot and cold, many makeup enthusiasts prefer using lukewarm water to clean their brushes. Lukewarm water is considered a compromise as it combines the benefits of both hot and cold water. It helps dissolve makeup products without being overly harsh on the bristles.

When cleaning your brushes with lukewarm water, ensure it's not too hot but warm enough to break down the makeup residue. You can then pair it with a gentle brush cleanser or soap for a thorough cleanse while maintaining the longevity of your brushes.

5. Drying and sanitation

Once you've washed your makeup brushes, proper drying is crucial to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria. After rinsing, gently squeeze out the excess water, reshape the bristles, and lay them flat on a clean towel to air dry. Avoid using a hairdryer or placing your brushes upright as water can seep into the ferrule, leading to damage and loosening of the bristles.

To ensure maximum sanitation, it's recommended to clean your brushes at least once a week, especially if you use them daily. Consistency in cleaning will prevent product buildup, maintain performance, and be more hygienic for your skin.


When it comes to washing your makeup brushes, there is no definitive answer regarding whether hot or cold water is better. While hot water may offer more effective removal of stubborn makeup, it can also damage the bristles if not used with caution. On the other hand, cold water is gentler on the brushes but may not dissolve makeup as thoroughly. Lukewarm water provides a middle ground while combining the benefits of both extremes. Ultimately, the choice depends on your preferences and the type of brush you're cleaning. Regardless of the temperature you choose, remember that regular cleaning is essential to maintain healthy skin and optimal performance from your favorite makeup brushes.

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