Beauty Basics : Brush Cleansing


Raise your hand if you dread cleaning your makeup brushes! I know my hand’s raised. It’s so tedious, so repetitive and basically I have to turn my bathroom into a dance party in order to get the job done (Backstreet Boys Radio Station on Pandora anyone? No shame.) On top of that cleansers can get pretty expensive. I’ve yet to try highly raved about cleansers like Beauty Blender Cleanser Solid for your beauty sponges or Cinema Secrets Professional Brush Cleanser for brushes but I have tried my fair share of inexpensive but effective alternatives.

When choosing a brush cleanser, it’s necessary to take into consideration your skin type. Is your skin sensitive? If so, it’s probably best to stick with a face cleanser you already own and know won’t cause irritation. Do you have acne-prone skin? Then you, basically everyone for that matter, will want to choose an antibacterial cleanser to make sure all the gunk is truly removed. Lately I’ve been gravitating toward these cleansers:


Left to Right : Target UP&UP Baby Shampoo, Dial White Tea & Vitamin E Antibacterial Hand Soap, MAC Brush Cleanser in travel container

  Here’s a little step-by-step guide to deep cleaning your brushes:

  1. Mix shampoo and water in a bowl (or if using cleanser simply pour some in bowl) and stir until properly mixed (measurements at your discretion, there’s really no science to it)
  2. Take brush by handle and, angled downward, damp under running lukewarm water to prepare for preferred cleanser and to remove first layer of makeup
  3.   Swirl brush bristles into cleanser mix without getting handle wet then around palm if you need more of a lather
  4.   Rinse under lukewarm water and repeat step 3 until you feel your brush is completely clean
  5. Re-shape bristles and place clean brush on towel to dry

 EasyPeasy right? Here’s a few tips:

  • Clean brushes at night. That way you give them enough time to dry and they’ll be as good as new in the morning
  • Don’t tug on bristles; When you’re cleaning simply sway back and forth or swirl so bristles stay nice and put
  • Don’t get water in handle; Water will cause glue to come undone and any leftover water will also cause rust and become a breeding ground for bacteria

At the end of the day the most important thing when cleaning your makeup brushes is to remove all leftover oils and bacteria so that you’re not reapplying lingering makeup and dirt on our face, especially if you have problematic skin. Spot clean (one of my favorites is Sephora Collection: Master Cleanse Daily Brush Cleaner) when necessary so the bristles of your brushes don’t get old and do a deep cleaning at least once of week (guilty of not always doing this). Share any tips or favorite cleansers we should all try!

 Besos, Ilse

  • Rachel

    A girl that I watch on youtube showed how she cleans her brushes once in a video and it works fantastically! I swear by it now after trying it.

    I start with a small bowl and pour about a quarter size drop of extra virgin olive oil in it. With each brush, I swirl it in the olive oil to absorb most of the oil and then rinse with warm water, squeezing the brush from the bottom to the top and working the oil out (taking all the gross dirt with it). Then I pour about a dime size drop of baby shampoo into my palm (I use Johnson & Johnson) and then swirl the brush in the palm of my hand, absorbing the soap, then rinse in warm water again. This helps rinse and cleanse the brush after you have gotten all the makeup out.

    My brushes come out looking fresh from the store every time I have done this!

    • Thanks for sharing your method! Maybe I’ll give it a try!