How I | Deep Clean Makeup Brushes

5:19:00 PM mandy 16 Comments

I am really bad when it comes to washing my makeup brushes. I always put off doing this chore because the whole process just takes too long and my hands get all wrinkly & dry afterwards. I usually go through all of my brushes before I am practically forced to clean them.

But the cleaning is inevitable. It is very bad for the skin to always use dirty brushes. So I limit each brush to no more than a week of usage if it is for powder/dry products and at most one use only if it's for cream/liquid/wet products. Typically, with all my brushes, it takes a month or so before another washing is due.

Since I started using makeup brushes, the process of cleaning has always been to put some shampoo onto the brush, lather & swirl on my palm, rinse, and repeat. This is the long way that everyone else is probably used to. A while back all these 'fancy' things like cleansing mitts and such came out. But they were too pricey and unjustifiable for me to try.

Then for some reason, a couple of months ago, I decided to try something different.
I found a plastic cup, put in some  Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap & Daiso Detergent & water into, and made a soapy mixture.
I am not sure how 'innovative' this is but it was new to me!

*I really love using Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap for brush cleaning. There are a few other bloggers who really like it too so I thought I would give it a try. It takes most of the makeup off and the foam/soap washes away well. When I used baby shampoo, it would still be soapy after many many rinses. Not sure why, but it was. The Magic Soap comes in many scents like Almond, Mint, Lavender, Scent-Free/Baby, and some others that I can't remember off the top of my head.*

**The Daiso Detergent for puff and sponge is extremely good for getting off any stubborn stained makeup from the brushes. I don't really like the smell of it and it is pricey to order through eBay (no Daiso in NYC)... so I only use a couple of drops in the mixture.**

I dip/dunk my dirty makeup brushes in the mixture multiple times...

*Be sure NOT to do this step too vigorously or else the water will pump through the ferrule (metal part) and might loosen it ... LIGHT DUNKING IS KEY!**

**You could also swirl & swoosh your brushes in the water. It might take a bit longer for makeup to come off. But this action actually works better for smaller makeup brushes.*

***I typically dump out the dirty mixture and make a new one if it turns really cloudy and has a dark-ish color.***

Doing it this way usually takes a lot of the makeup off!
Afterwards I still swirl the brushes on my palm to make sure everything is clean.
Then I rinse it under the faucet, squeeze out the water, and brush out the excess water onto a (paper) towel.

I leave the brushes on a window sill to dry.
My brushes dry even faster in the colder months because most of the radiators in my house are under the windows. I used to place the makeup brushes onto paper towels to dry but didn't like the fact that it sat on something wet for so long. There are the brush drying trees and DIY brush drying hangers which essentially do the same thing, this just isn't upside down and there aren't any extra costs.

I found that by cleaning this way it took me a lot less time to wash everything. & I think it might even use less shampoo. I think...But since I never really measured or anything I am not 100% sure on this point. It just seems like less product would be used. Right?

Do you always dread having to wash your makeup brushes? How do you usually clean them?
If you try this method, let me know how it goes for you! :]


  1. I'm always looking for a way to clean my brushes without getting so much soapy bubbles in my brushes after I rinse them. Thanks for the tips! :)

  2. I used to be bad about cleaning my makeup brushes as well cause it's such a chore but then I read an article about bacteria buildup which freaked me out and I try to clean them every other week now. I use a brush cleanser by Sephora using the swirl and swoosh method you describe. I've also heard about cleaning their brushes with olive oil which is supposed to condition the bristles but I've yet to try that method.

    Just wanted to mention that I'm celebrating my blog anniversary with a giveaway for a pair of BaubleBar earrings in case you might be interested Mandy :)

    Rowena @ rolala loves

    1. Eekk I should wash the more often then >__< Thanks for the tips! I've heard of using olive oil but have been too scared to try..

      Aww thanks for letting me know! But I'll pass on the chance since I don't have my ears pierced :P

  3. I hate washing my brushes but I love it when they are clean lol. I love Dr Bonner's soap. It is very effective at removing my makeup gunk from the brushes but I always have a hard time rinsing all of it off on my dense brushes.

    1. Hmm that sometimes happens to me too..maybe they just soak up more product and foam up more because it's so dense?

  4. Hahaha I actually enjoy washing my brushes! It's just so rewarding seeing a dirty, grimy brush turn clean & like-new again! I use the Dr. Bronner soap (hard & liquid versions) too but very rarely the Daiso sponge cleaner cause I hate the smell of it ><

    1. It is rewarding! But only after the fact that it is cleaned :P Hard to get the ball rolling lol
      So I'm not the only one that thinks it smells terrible!! *whew!*

  5. I've been pretty lazy on cleaning my brushes, now that you posted about it I should start cleaning mine as well.

  6. I'm so bad about cleaning my brushes as well, but I notice an improvement in my skin if I take the time to wash them every 5 uses or so. I use the swirl method--it's almost fun to paint in the water like they are paintbrushes.


    1. Ahh more motivation to clean my brushes more often!

  7. I keep on hearing such good things about this product! I wash my brushes the old fashioned way, swish the bristles against my hands and grooves of my fingers. :)

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