What is your current brush cleaning routine?

I use Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap (unscented) with one part soap, three to four parts water as my cleanser. Occasionally, I’ll use an alcohol-based cleanser like Cinema Secrets on my synthetics used with creams. I lay my brushes flat to dry on a drying mat (one for dishes). I’m fortunate to have a selection of brushes, so I don’t have to wash every day, but I typically use a brush only a handful of times (for eye brushes, often with just one shade) and then set aside to wash.

— Christine
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31 Comments

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Deborah S. Avatar

As I have answered in previous questions on Temptalia, I don’t wash my brushes. I know it is scandalous but I have never had a problem related to not washing them. I use the Vera Mona to swish off color between colors but that is it. Before the Color Switch I brushed them off on paper towel, tissue, clothing or whatever was handy. Some I have had for more than 30 years and have never washed them and they are just as good as the day I bought them. In contrast, I do have a couple of Artis brushes and I have cleaned them on the Artis pad with their cleansing foam. I figure if it ain’t broken don’t mess with it!

Erica Avatar

I wash my brushes weekly. Hopefully. I use Dr. Bonner ‘ s liquid soap or baby shampoo and water. I also have one of those rubber cleaning pads I swirl the brush on to get all the makeup out. Then I give a final rinse under the faucet. I lay them out on a clean towel to air dry

Lulle Avatar

I wash the brushes I use daily about once a week. I use simple bar soap for synthetic bristles and the elf brush shampoo for natural hair. I have a small rubber thingy with knobs and ridges to help clean the brushes more easily. Then I lay them flat to dry.

Sonya Mann Avatar

I am lazy so I use my brushes over and over again before washing them =P I do try to restrict certain brushes to certain color groups, but I’m sure there are people who are grossed out by it regardless. When I wash my brushes, about once per month, I use a mild or moisturizing shampoo.

Marla Rae Avatar

Never thought about trying Dr.Bronner’s to clean makeup brushes. I’ll try it.

I make a solution: 2/3 parts dish soap and 1/3 olive oil – this is how I used to clean my art brushes to make sure they were moisturizer

I typically clean them once a week and stand them bristles down on a towel.

I clean my beauty blenders with soap only. I need a new method to clean them though because it takes forever to squeeze all of the soap out

Mariella Avatar

Generally, I use either Johnson’s baby shampoo or Dr. Bronner’s (I have a huge bottle of the peppermint scented one and I hate it as a body wash or shampoo and I try to remember to use it for household cleaning but often forget, so using it to clean my brushes is a bonus and it leaves such a nice, fresh scent). I dampen my brushes one at a time, pour a small amount of cleaner into my hand and swish the brush against my palm – it’s gentle and effective. Recently, I discovered QUO’s solid brush cleaner and I really love that stuff too, though I’ve had to make a small hole in the lid so that moisture can evaporate. It has this lovely, mild smell and it’s really effective. I blot my brushes on a clean towel and leave them flat to dry.

Toni Edwards Avatar

I have been trailing the Stylpro Brush cleaner. I am not sure how I feel about for foundation brushes it tends to take awhile to really get them clean. I do love it for eyeshadow brushes as it’s quick and dries them. But I feel like you have to change the water too often.

Anne Avatar

About three years ago, YT Tarababyz recommended Shea Moisture African Black Soap, a bar of soap made of all natural ingredients that I purchased from Target for around $4.50. (I’m still using the same bar with plenty left, btw.) I clean all my brushes with it, including my expensive natural hair Japanese brushes. I see it’s now available at Ulta for $6. Just recently, YT Stephanie Nicole mentioned she uses it, too, and showed the product at the end of her review about the new WG brushes. I bought a couple sets of Brush Guards at Beautylish, but then found them available at my local Walmart for a fraction of the cost, and I bought a ton of them. I dry all my brushes in them, horizontally with brush side down. I pull the guards down about a half inch below the end of the brush fibers and place them in an inexpensive square shaped plastic basket with cutout holes all over it and dry them overnight. I store the bar of soap in a plastic travel soap container with lid. I have a couple extremely dense, synthetic foundation brushes (MJ and Aucoin) that I work in a couple drops of oil cleaner before I wash them with the soap. Since I’ve been cleaning my brushes with the black soap and the occasional oil pre-application, I haven’t had a single problem. Every single brush, including my white goat hair, gets spotlessly clean!!! I clean all my synthetic brushes and BB after one use. It’s ridiculously easy with the African black soap. I use a micro fiber to clean my natural hair brushes until I think they need a soap cleaning — in other words, I clean them as infrequently as possible. (Tip: Let your foundation and eye primer dry before using your natural hair powder brushes. This will dramatically reduce the time between soap cleanings.)

Kat Avatar

I’ve used Dr. Bronners in the past, it’s fantastic! Right now I’m using a solid brush cleaner from Sephora that I got with a gift card to try out, but Dr. Bronners is way better. Plus, I use it as a body wash in the winter because it’s cleansing and hydrating at the same time. I wash my foundation brush and Beauty Blender (whichever I’ve been using lately) two or three times a week, while I wash powder brushes every few weeks, with dry cleanings on a paper towel every day. To dry, I actually either put them into a brush guard (those things that look like finger traps) if they need to be reshaped, and then I take all my brushes, wrap elastics or hair ties around the handles, and hang them off of a hook or rod in my bedroom to dry upside down. It’s weird but it works.

Tracey E. Avatar

I use Bobbi Brown’s Brush Cleaning Spray for routine cleaning, and Bobbi Brown Conditioning Brush Cleanser for deep cleaning. I use a netted round scrunchie to remove eyeshadow when switching between shades and when finished applying powder eyeshadows.

BB Cleaning Spray: used when a brush is used with multiple products, or if used close to the eye or eye lashes; weekly for brushes used during the week as needed; weekly for foundation brush. Brushes laid on a towel.

– BB’s Conditioning Brush Cleanser: used once 2 weeks to deep clean my foundation brush, which is either hung upside down on a towel rack (with a brush guard over the bristles) or on a rolled hand towel pointing downward towards the sink. Other brushes cleaned every few weeks or each month depending on their usage.

Shawne Avatar

I usually wash mine weekly in baby shampoo but I have tried a mix of blue Dawn and conditioner and that was good too. The only brush I have a problem getting completely clean in my Sigma F80; that part right in the middle. I’ve heard of people using alcohol on them as well because they are so dense and hard to clean. Any other suggestions? I haven’t tried Cinema Secrets or Dr. Bronner’s, but might try them soon.

Maggie Avatar

Tools: Sephora solid brush soap, kuhn rikon silicone scubber sponge (has very soft silicone bristles), dish, container of water, 2 microfiber towels, and if in a hurry, a hairdryer with cool shot.

I thoroughly wet brushes before brushing on soap and brushing it against the scrubber (to clean out liquid or cream) or a dish for powder. Pat dry with towel and lay flat dry on another towel. If in a hurry to use, will blow-dry on low cold setting with cool shot whole rolling brushes on towel back and forth.

Marie-Estelle Avatar

Anything being used with cream products gets a deep clean every two uses… Maybe three uses if I can’t do otherwise.

I tend to wash delicate brushes less often but I tend to use one brush for one function (bronzer, blush, powder, etc).

To wash my brushes I use a oil based bar of soap. I gently rub my wet brushes on it and use a textured silicone mat to get them cleaned. If I have to deal with a difficult brush to clean I will use a home made cleansing oil (babassu foam+oil) prior to this.

Brenda C Avatar

I clean my brushes once a week. I first use Boscia Makeup Breakup Cleansing Oil which breaks down all the makeup, then I use Burt’s Bees Facial Cleanser. It’s fast and easy, then I put a brush guard on the brush and hang them brush side down on my brush dryer and they are dry in the morning.

Autumn Avatar

I don’t deep clean my brushes very often, but I quick-clean them as I use them. I have a handful of Always-brand makeup removing cloths – they are sort of like a mildly rubbery textured washcloth. They are designed to be a cleanser-free way to remove makeup, so I keep a clean, damp one next to me while I do my makeup in the morning. Once I’m done with a brush, I swirl it on the damp cloth until no more color comes off, then store it upright so the tiny bit of moisture on it dries off during the day.

When I do get around to deep cleaning, I was with a mix of dish soap and olive oil, then dry upright. However, as I noted on Anne’s comment, I do want to try her recommendation of Shea Moisture soap!

Zoe Avatar

Daily use: color switch sponge
Weekly/Bi-weekly: wash with mild handsoap and water, then dry flat on a towel

I used to not wash my brushes and would just clean them with a damp towel, but noticed that oil would build up on the bristles (I don’t even have oily skin). When I wash them, they perform better at picking up and blending colors.

Chris Avatar

I wash all brushes used daily on a weekly basis. I use an old fashioned glass & fill with a little Lancôme Bi-Facil to remove the excess product. Then I add some Johnson’s baby shampoo & water into the glass & keep cleaning until the water is clear. I then use some warm water & continue to swish the brush around till the brush no longer feels soapy. I squeeze out the excess water & then lay on its side to dry completely before putting back into a cup on my vanity countertop.

Chet Michael Avatar

I use purity made simple by philosophy for brush wash once a week or so and Cinema Secrets brush cleaner for my quick sanitize and change.

Miska Avatar

I wonder…if I could add a teeny bit of a cleansing oil to help get out the stubborn stuff??? Any feedback on this would be appreciated. I just got one of those plastic nobby thingys to help clean my brushes and am excited to use it. Really hope it helps. I’ve used baby shampoo, castile soaps (Dr. Bronners), Dawn dish soap, Dove bar soap, hair shampoos and body cleansers…honestly haven’t found my HG yet. Seems to depend on whats on the brushes for which cleanser works best. Pretty sure all of my brushes are synthetic. Embarassed to admit I’ve never paid attention. I really don’t know how to tell. Am I missing out? Oh and years back (maybe 10?) Pur Minerals used to make this green gel cleanser that was meant to tackle mineral makeup. Can’t recall the name but it worked GREAT on makeup brushes. Saddly they quit making it. Figures right? Most of my stuff is in powder form and I apply cream stuff with my hands cause nothing blends better. I need to try a beauty blender I think, lol. I can usually get away with wiping my brushes on a towel/kleenex for awhile. A damp hair towel post shower works really well. I think you have to clean liquid/cream products off brushes more frequently or they’ll get gunky. I currently use mostly Dr. Bronners to clean my stuff. Too bad we can’t put our brushes in the dishwasher! I’m really tempted to try. If I ever do it i’ll let you all know.

Christine Avatar

I have used cleansing oil (MAC) to clean brushes before, but I don’t do it regularly so I don’t have an idea if there’s a long-term effect.

The reason for not putting them in the dishwasher would be that between the heat and all-over moisture, you could cause the ferrules to loosen (or the glue to dissolve) as well as have issues with moisture warping your brush handles.

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