Monday, February 14, 2011

How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

 A friend of mine asked me the other day how I clean my makeup brushes, so after telling her, I thought I'd share it with you guys too, just in case some of you were wondering :)
This is how I clean my brushes, but the method is not any way mine; I picked this up on YouTube. So let's dive in!

There are two ways to clean your brushes; spot clean and deep clean.
  • Spot cleaning doesn't cleanse your brush entirely, but you use that method if you are for example using the same brush for many colours and don't have the time to deep clean in between. With spot cleaning, the brushes dry very quickly, so you can use them again in just a few minutes.
  • Deep cleaning cleanses your brush way better, and it is very important to deep clean your brushes at least twice a month (some people say every week but I don't think any of us have that much time...). If doing makeup on many people the same day, you might also want to deep clean in between. With deep cleaning, the brushes need at least one night to dry (preferably 24 hours), so make sure that you aren't going to need the brushes anytime soon after deep cleaning them!
Spot Cleaning

What you will need:
* Makeup remover wipes - any kind
* Eye makeup remover or brush cleanser

1) Take one face wipe and lay it out on a flat surface.

2) Holding the wipe down with one hand, take your brush in the other and start sweeping it back and forth on the wipe. You'll notice how makeup will start coming off. Be gentle to your brush!

Sweeping my MAC 239 back and forth
3) If your brush is extremely dirty, you might want to pour a few drops of either eye makeup remover or brush cleanser on your face wipe. It will help get the makeup off the brush. This is not always needed.

4) Once makeup stops coming off your brush, you can use it again for the next colour!

Deep Cleaning

What you will need:
* Baby shampoo
* Olive oil
* A sponge (like the ones you would use for your kitchen - but make sure you don't get kitchen sponges mixed up with makeup sponges!)
* Hand sanitizer - optional, and it's for your hands, not your brushes!
1) I like to use hand sanitizer on my hands before I get started - that way, no bacteria will transfer to my brushes.

2) Pour a bit of baby shampoo on your sponge and rub it in a bit with your finger.

3) Start sweeping your brush back and forth where you put the shampoo. You will see makeup coming off.
Sweeping my MAC 188 back and forth

Rinsing my GOSH blush brush
4) Now rinse your brush's bristles with lukewarm (not hot, not cold) water. Very important: Never get any water above where the metal part of your brush meets the handle! It will ruin your brush.

5) Squeeze the bristles very gently, and if the water that comes out is still dirty, repeat steps 2-4 until the water comes out clear.

My GOSH blush brush, reshaped after rinsing
6) When the water comes out clean, gently squeeze the water out of the brush's bristles, and reshape it with your fingers, so it won't dry in a funky shape.

7) Lay your brush out to dry on a flat surface covered with a towel. Let the bristles hang out from the towel so that they dry quicker, and preferably tilt the surface down a bit, so that the brush heads (bristles, that is), are positioned slightly lower than the handles. This will help the water get out the right way, and stop it from getting into the metal part. (See the picture at the end of this post).

Rinsing my Nature's Minerals kabuki by The Body Shop
For kabuki brushes:
Do the normal routine, but in step 4, try to only get water on the end of your bristles. That is where most of the product is anyway, and if any water gets too high up in the kabuki, it will get into the handle, which will ruin your kabuki.

Using olive oil for my lip brush by The Body Shop
 For lip brushes, eyeliner brushes and extremely dirty brushes
After step 1, pour a little bit of olive oil on your sponge, and sweep your brush back and forth. Rinse the sponge and the brush, then resume with step 2-7.
Why olive oil? Because it will help break down the product, especially wax-based ones, like lipstick and eyeliner. 

And here they are, all so clean and lined up for drying!
I prepare my "drying surface" by laying a towel on top of an empty cardboard file holder. Again, let the bristles hang out a bit so that they will dry faster.

Allow your brushes to dry for at least overnight, preferably 24 hours. Also, I´ve noticed that brushes by The Body Shop take way longer to dry than other brushes (must be the material they use for the bristles...), so give those a good amount of time.

I really hope that you enjoyed this and maybe learned something!

Miss Diorista


  1. I just use Clinique's brush cleaner spray since it's pretty inexpensive--- spray then swirl on a paper towel! The olive oil technique is a good idea for cremes--- I didn't think of that~!

  2. 8D I actually clean my brushes in a similar way! Actually I mostly "deep" clean my brushes since I change pigments a lot and am sooo partial to certain brushes!

  3. @Dovey - I'll have to check out the Clinique one - I've heard a lot of good things about it. Is it good for deep cleaning, too?

    @Kotori - I know, sometimes I just want to use the same brush over and over again!

  4. Great idea. I'm going to have to try that one of these days!

  5. @maichouterrimoua - Def try it, cleaning your brushes well is so important ;)


Please leave a comment - I love hearing what you have to say! xxx, MissDiorista

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