How To Clean Your Makeup Brushes

I love makeup. D would probably argue that between the makeup and the nail polish I should try to find a 12 step program. But I can’t help it, it’s so fun to try out new colors or techniques, even if I’m not planning to leave the house. But when I do leave the house, I pretty much always have makeup on. Whether it’s just some concealer and mascara quickly before work, or a dark smokey eye for a night out with friends. It’s like art for your face!

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

So if you’re like me and you use makeup, you probably also use makeup brushes – for blush, eye shadow, foundation, etc. Apparently I have a brush for everything and then some…But it’s important to keep those brushes clean so that you don’t spread bacteria all over your face again and again! Ideally, you should do a quick-clean if your brushes every week, and a good deep clean about once a month, regardless of whether you’ve used the brushes every day, or only just a few times.

The good news is, you can do a monthly deep clean of your brushes using stuff you probably already have in your kitchen!

Brush Cleaning Supplies

You will need:

  • dish soap
  • olive oil
  • a plate
  • water (not pictured)
  • paper towel or dish towel (not pictured)
  • dirty, dirty makeup brushes

The soap will remove the bacteria/grease/color left on your brushes while the olive oil helps to condition the brush bristles and keep them from drying out.

Soap and Oil on Plate

First, add equal parts of the oil and soap onto a plate. I start with a teaspoon of each, then add more as I go along, if I need it. Next, swirl your dirty brush in the mixture and you’ll see all the leftover makeup start to flush itself out of the brush.

Swirling a Makeup Brush in Oil Soap Mixture

After you’ve swirled it around for 10 seconds or so, rinse the brush in lukewarm water to get all of the soap out. Rinse until the water runs clear and the brush is no longer soapy.

Washing Makeup Brushes

Make sure not to get water in the ferrule of the brush (the metal part of the brush that holds the bristles onto the wooden shaft). If you get water in there, the glue that holds the bristles together and onto the shaft will fail and your brushes will not be good brushes anymore!

Makeup Brush Ferrule

Once you’ve washed off all of your brushes, gently reshape them and lay them flat to dry. I usually prop them on a paper towel and leave them to dry overnight.

Drying Brushes

I won’t lie, this brush cleaning was loooong overdue, and cleaning your brushes like this works really well, especially if it’s been a while. If you take good care of your brushes, they’ll stay very soft and supple and you can use them for years and years. I’m always amazed at how great using dish soap and olive oil works. Check out how dirty this brush was:

Dirty Stippling Brush

A few swirls around the plate and a quick rinse, and it’s as good as new!

Clean Stippling Brush

Quick, easy, no special ingredients, and it’s kinda fun!

Clean Makeup Brushes