Don’t we always feel like we have no time left to clean our makeup brushes? We always have to find time (outside of our work schedule) to cook dinner, do the laundry, clean the house, take care of the kids, etc… so cleaning makeup brushes usually doesn’t end up a priority in our to-do list. Plus, we end up using the same color foundation and the same color eyeshadows, sadly, in part because that means NOT having to clean the brushes. We become makeup zombies, applying always the same shades and products, so we don’t have to wash our brushes. Isn’t this true?!?!
It doesn’t matter how many excuses you can find to avoid this, makeup brushes need to be clean if only to keep our beautiful faces bacteria free. I do understand that taking time to clean them everyday can be a major hassle taking time away from other things that you would much rather do (like writing blogs or recording makeup videos!) So what have I come up with as a compromise? I clean my own brushes every other day (or two) with the products I will describe below in this post, always doing first those that I use for my eyes. You can compare using dirty makeup brushes with using dirty underwear every day.. UUUUUUuuuuuuugggghhh…. Disgusting, I know! That gives you an idea of why I take care of my brushes so much, because I want my face to be healthy. :-)
Here’s what a bunch of dirty makeup brushes looks like. Not cool! Definitely not hygienic.
There are many suggested methods of cleaning makeup brushes out there. I’ve had a lot of fun (and disappointment) going through tutorials, videos, blogs, you name it, on how to clean makeup brushes. The following are the products and methods that have really worked out for me, with some tips so that you can hopefully learn from all I’ve gone through (and maybe even save some money)!
My Favorite Brush Cleaning Solution:
- Pure-Castile Soap
- Jojoba Oil
- Pure Tea Tree Essential Oil
The result: Squeaky clean, sanitized, beautiful, like-new brushes!
Do I always use this combination for cleaning all my brushes? No. I usually use one of them or a combination of them depending on what I’m trying to clean (how dirty they are or how much I’ve used them). When I want to have the brushes in their top shape, I mix the three ingredients altogether. I usually mix them in different amounts depending on what I’m trying to accomplish, which is why below you’ll find info on each of these so you have an idea what they’re used for. The combination not only removes all stains in the brushes but it also disinfects them and leave them feeling soft and looking new.
Like I said previously, I also use the three products separately. Here’s a couple of pictures and some tips on what each is useful for:
#1 Dr Bronner’s Magic Soaps’ Pure-Castile Soap
This is the BEST soap on the market IMHO. I use it for everything in my house… cleaning, bathing, laundry, bathing my pets and of course cleaning my makeup brushes.
It has a combination of organic, extra virgin coconut, olive, jojoba and hemp oils, together with other pure essential oils. This combo creates a unique soap that cleans effectively without being harsh and produces a velvety-lather. If I needed to pick just one product to clean my makeup brushes this would be it. No harsh chemicals, no alcohols, no nonsense. Everything is natural and it breaks up the makeup easily.
Here’s what the Pure-Castile Soap looks like ‘in action’:
#2 Trader Joe’s Spa 100% Pure jojoba Oil
If my brushes are extra dirty and I’ve used really dark colors in my makeup them I also add some jojoba oil (or olive oil) to the Pure-Castile Soap. More oils means more ‘breaking down’ of the product set in the brush. This oil is very moisturizing. I also use it as a makeup remover on its own. Dark foundations can’t resist the Pure-Castle Soap and the Jojoba Oil together. They come right off.
#3 Tea Tree Essential Oil
Some sources suggest tea tree oil has beneficial medicinal properties when applied topically including antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiseptic qualities. It also has beneficial cosmetic properties. I’m using pure tea tree oil instead of rubbing alcohol to actually disinfect the brushes. I’m not a makeup artist, so the only person I use my makeup brushes on is myself. That’s why to me using plain alcohol is not too beneficial for my brushes. I think alcohol can be really rough on the bristles and may dry them up over time. That’s why I choose oil to disinfect as an alternative.
Other cleaning methods:
Here are other cleansers I’ve used over time in my search for leaving my makeup brushes clean.
Trader Joe’s Next to Godliness Hand Soap – Lavender & Chamomile
This is an all natural formula that is great for a quick and effective brush cleanse. I have a bottle of this soap in every single bathroom and in my kitchen. If I want to do a quick and easy clean of an eyeshadow brush I simply pump the soap in my hand, take the brush and swirl it in the soap. Rinse with water and I’m done. Not as thorough, but effective.
Johnson’s head-to-toe Baby Wash
If it’s good for your baby it should be good for your brushes as well, right? :-) When I started cleaning my makeup brushes this is all I used. Over time I learned about pure-castile soap and I haven’t gone back since.
This cleanser came along with the beauty blender sponge. I could swear this has the same formula as the Trader Joe’s Next to Godliness Hand Soap. It has the same consistency and the same smell. Of course, Trader Joe’s brand is a fraction of the cost and therefore even though this a great cleanser I wouldn’t recommend you spend the money on it unless you can’t get your hands on the Trader Joe’s version. And by the way, you can clean the beauty sponge with any of the products mentioned above.
MAC Brush Cleanser
The WORST brush cleanser I have. Every time I use this cleanser I have to mix it with some kind of oil (like olive oil or jojoba oil) because the bristles on my brushes get so dry after using it. I do not recommend purchasing this product to clean your makeup brushes at all. I even noticed that this product does not remove makeup from the bristles as well as all the other products I’ve mentioned. Expensive product, lame results. Skip!
Some more brush cleaning tips
After cleaning your brushes make sure you rinse out all the soap, oils and cleansers. Let the water run through them and swirl them on your hand as the water is flowing through. When you are done squeeze the excess water lightly with your hands and lay the brush flat making sure the bristles are not touching a surface but rather hanging on the edge of a surface like a table or counter. I prefer washing my brushes at night so they’re dry in the morning when I need them. I also use Brush Guards, which are wonderful for making the bristles drain downward without having to damage them. Draining them downwards allows the water from damaging the ferrule. If you want to read more about Brush Guard you can visit their website.
Here’s what a couple of brushes look like with the Brush Guards:
Random Brush Makeup Cleaning Tip #145: To remove gel eyeliner from my brushes I use eye makeup remover and it works wonders.
Random Brush Makeup Cleaning Tip #387: If you use your brushes on other people, there’s another type of sanitizer you should consider. It’s called Beauty So Clean, basically a spray bottle with Isopropyl alcohol inside. I use it occasionally on all my powder eyeshadows and brushes to keep them bacteria free since I have really sensitive eyes.
Here’s a picture of the product:
I love my makeup brushes. I feel I’m a brush junkie and I like to take good care of them because to me they are an investment. Because to me, makeup is art, this are my artist’s tools, and I want to make sure they will perform and that they will last. Love your makeup brushes by keeping them clean and well taken care of. Not only will you have great brushes, but you will also have a clear face because you are removing a lot of bacteria away from it.
Here’s what my brushes look like all happy and clean after I gave them a nice bath.
Don’t you just love clean makeup brushes?