Livin' La Vida Lucia

Protect Your Investment and Your Face: Give Your Makeup Brushes a Bath

By Lucia Rossi

Cleaning your makeup brushes is like flossing, it’s something we should do often but we don’t.


Don’t sabotage your skin care routine with laziness and dirty makeup brushes. What was the point of spending $20 on a Beauty Blender if you don’t take care of it? You should get the most of your investment. Don’t cheat yourself, do what you gotta do.


Make cleaning your makeup brushes apart of your beauty routine. After you do your makeup, spritz on some daily brush cleaner to help preserve them. You should clean your brushes once every week or two, depending on how often you use them.

If your brushes are no longer soft and the the residue on them is visible and cakey, it’s time for a bath. Especially if you have sensitive skin, in which case this is a must.

Every time you use your makeup brushes oil, dirt, residue, dead skin cells and bacteria gets trapped in the bristles. Now think of that and the number of times you used the brushes, now times that by the days they’ve been sitting there. Gross, right? This is a possible reason why your skin could break out in acne.


There are so many ways to clean your makeup brushes. Lauren Conrad suggests using either baby shampoo or clarifying shampoo. Get a small bowl with warm water and add some of the shampoo to it. Take your brush and dip it to the point there only the bristles are wet. Swirl the brush around to remove product on it. If you feel that isn’t enough then lather the brush in your hand with some of the shampoo and then rinse under lukewarm water.

When rinsing under the sink, DO NOT put the whole brush under the water! If you go higher to the point where the hairs meet the handle, the water could loosen the glue over time which will cause hairs to fall out when you’re applying your makeup. The water can also cause the metal piece to rust.


Keep rinsing until the water from the brush runs clear. Squeeze the water out with the fingers, wipe it on a towel or cloth, and re-mold the shape of the bristles between your fingers until it is back in its original shape. Then lay them down on the towel to dry.

The best way to dry your brushes is to place them in a an upward position where the bristles are facing downwards. That way, the water doesn’t run to the metal piece or to the glue that holds the hairs together. You can lay then down on something cylinder like an empty paper towel roll and place a napkin over it to create a see-saw effect. Then you lay the brushes leaning on one side. Drying time for your brushes can take 6-8 hours so I highly suggest letting them dry overnight so they are ready for use the next day.


Drying time is not an issue when using heavy duty brush cleaner products from a makeup store. All you do is spray the cleaning product directly on the brush head, soak the bristles, then rub it back and forth over paper towel until there is no more makeup coming off. The solution then dries within minutes, so this cleaning method is the fastest. I’m a DIY kind of gal, so I’m sorry I don’t have any specific recommendations of this.

I have plenty of other DIY recommendations though. If you don’t like the baby shampoo, there are other cheap and convenient options to take advantage of like, an unscented bar of soap, Michelle Phan’s recipe of dish detergent and olive oil, dish soap and oil olive separately, or even your facial cleanser.


When cleaning with a bar of soap, use unscented pure white soap, like Dial, Dove or Ivory. Most bars of soaps include moisturizers which is helpful to keep your bristles from getting dry when washing. All you have to do is work up a lather on the bar of soap with water and then rinse. You can massage the hairs of the brush with your fingers too if you really want to get it deep cleaned.

When using the dish detergent and olive oil method, put some dish soap and olive oil on a small plate or on a sponge,side by side and with your brush mix them together. Rub the brush back and forth until you see that it is clean and all the makeup residue is gone. Then rinse. If your brush is too oily, clean the brush with just soap and rinse completely again.

Using just olive oil to clean your brushes is a great method because it breaks down the residue and retains moisture that conditions the bristles. Olive oil is really useful for small brushes like lip liner and eye liner brushes because they usually have the most gunk on them. Oil gets rid of oil, so you can submerge the brush in the olive oil, then work it into a sponge or your hand and watch all the gross stuff come out. Then let it dry. You can also make your own brush cleaner for future use just by mixing equal parts of shampoo and olive oil as well.


The dish detergent method is especially helpful when cleaning beauty blenders and sponges because it can applied and soaked right in. Beauty Blenders and other makeup sponges need to be cleaned and rinsed very well because it absorbs a lot of makeup product. You need to continuously clean and rinse until the water runs clear. Then when it’s dry and shrunk in size, it’s ready for use.

If you want to go above and beyond with cleaning your brushes, then clean the handles with rubbing alcohol on a paper towel to disinfect them! Remember, you touch these handles all the time and who knows what kinds of germs and bacteria are on there. So disinfecting them once in a while is a good idea.


Don’t you just hate when you can’t read the name and number on your brush handle anymore because it faded away? If this bothers you, you can apply clear nail polish over the name and numbers to preserve them. That way your brush will always remain easy to identity.


Your brushes are your tools for beauty. They are just as much important as your hair brush and tooth brush. They are essential and they are an investment that you made. So protect it and you will also be protecting your skin. Give them and yourself the tender loving care that you deserve.


3 replies »

  1. Great article! We get asked for ideas on the uses of our organic liquid castile soap. This article hits the nail on the head. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.