How To

3 Effective Ways to Get Clean Makeup Brushes

Written by: Susan Hang


Nothing gets makeup flawlessly on like clean brushes.

But aside from perfect application, clean makeup brushes are essential for your skin and most essential if those brushes are touching someone else’s skin…you don’t want to pave the way for icky bacteria, clogged pores, etcetera. That’s just asking for acne. Besides, the cleansing process is actually therapeutic. Stressful day? Drop everything and clean your makeup brushes. I’ve tried several concoctions over the years, but there are only 3 methods I find myself regressing back to…

#1 Olive Oil + Dish Soap

clean makeup brushes with olive oil and dish soap

This is the one I use most frequently and is indeed something I was taught as an art student after hours of oil and acrylic painting. When translated into the makeup world, it’s wicked effective. Simply take a 2:1 ratio of liquid dish soap to olive oil and mix it up. Dip your brushes into the mixture, swirl it around in your palm, and then rinse the bristles in warm water until it runs clear. Make sure you avoid getting the ferrules wet.

#2 Dr. Bronner’s Hemp Pure-Castile Soap

dr bronners pure castile soap

The scent of Dr. Bronner’s soap is sure to get you in a meditative mood – I love the the citrus one. I’ll take a small drop in the palm of one hand, immerse my brushes into the amalgam, and then rinse under warm water. I find this product really brightens up my white brushes.

#3 BeautyBlender Solid Cleanser

beautyblender cleanser solid review

This approach is probably the easiest of the 3. I’ll take my brushes directly onto the bar, rub it back and forth, and then rinse.

I have friends who swear by baby soap or cheap shampoo & conditioner, but I just don’t get the effect I like. The important thing is no matter which approach you use, always reshape your brushes, and lay them flat. Do not put them upright until they’re fully dry! If you use your brushes frequently, clean them often. Note that synthetic brushes for foundation, concealer, and/or eyeliner tend to require cleansing 3-4 times in one session to get all the grit out. Always take care of your tools and they’ll take care of you. I’ve had some of my brushes for close to 10 years now and they’re still in pristine condition!

What other recommendations do you have to get clean makeup brushes?

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