Cleaning Up My Makeup Brushes ASAP


Cleaning makeup brushes is not something I would ever say was in my routine.

That’s mostly because I haven’t really ever been that into makeup.

I’ve only started getting interested in the last year or two—especially since there are more “green” options for makeup now.


Prior to my piqued interest, I wore makeup about once or twice a month—max. And even that was just maybe eyeshadow, mascara, and lip gloss.

So I didn’t even own brushes until last year!

Growing up with a mother who was blind, I didn’t get to watch her put makeup on in her vanity mirror or anything. I mean, she wore (still wears) makeup, but she didn’t know how to do it all that well. Which is understandable.

My older sister has never really worn makeup either, maybe for the same reasons.


A few months ago, I saw an advertisement for a brush cleaning machine. It seemed cool, but given the fact that I barely used the brushes, buying an expensive machine just to clean them seemed ridiculous. 

However, I love taking care of my skin and hair, so I decided to do a little digging about hygiene surrounding makeup usage and product longevity.

I found some really cool ways to get the job done without breaking the bank or taking up too much time!


I realized that depending on the types of makeup (creams, powders, gels, etc.) applied with brushes, and the frequency makeup brushes are used, they may need to be cleaned as often as weekly!

Well, that made me feel gross, since I had not cleaned mine…really the entire time I had owned them!

The main takeaway is that makeup brushes can harvest a lot of bacteria, which really affects your skin and your face’s overall health and appearance!

I decided I wanted to find an easy, affordable way to maintain my makeup brushes and get them cleaned up ASAP!

And I found some great ideas on YouTube and through a blog site!


To start, here are the basics:

  • For smaller brushes that you use for concealer, foundation, or gels, it’s best to use an oil wash. This removes the most oil buildup.

  • For larger brushes, such as those used for blush, powder shadows, etc., a simple soap-and-water mixture works. Or you can use a witch hazel/alcohol-based cleanser. (I would recommend the witch hazel/alcohol cleanser if you share brushes with a family member, friends, or roommate.)

  • If you just have a normal-sized set, this won’t take you more than 10 to 15 minutes about once or twice a month. If you use a lot of makeup and apply more than once a day, you will need to increase that frequency.

  • Take care not to fully submerge brushes (past the top of the metal barrel) as this will loosen the handles over time and cause bristles to fall out. 

I found the video below most helpful: 

For all-natural cleanser this video was great!:

And check out my “recipes” below for both an Oil Wash and a Disinfecting Wash!


Oil Wash


  • Equal parts olive oil and shampoo
  • Water (to thin, if necessary)


  1. Mix ingredients together well.
  2. Dip bristles into mixture and swirl around to coat.
  3. Using fingers, massage the mix into the bristles to clean.
  4. Rinse with lukewarm water until bristles are completely free of cleanser.
  5. Pat bristles dry on a paper towel and lay flat or hang to dry. Allow the brushes to dry 6 to 8 hours, or over night, before using again.


  • A tea tree or Head and Shoulders-style shampoo work best for disinfecting.
: @bluebirdandblackberries

: @bluebirdandblackberries

Disinfecting Wash


  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup witch hazel
  • 2 teaspoons Castile soap, such as Dr. Bronners brand
  • 1 teaspoon oil, such as olive or sweet almond


  1. In a jar that has a lid, combine the water, witch hazel, soap, and oil. Screw the lid on the jar until sealed and shake the contents until well combined.
  2. Pour the amount of cleanser needed out into a small bowl to soak the brush bristles in.
  3. Soak for about 5 to 10 minutes to allow residue to break up.
  4. Gently massage any remaining makeup out of the bristles and rinse under lukewarm water.
  5. Pat the bristles dry on a paper towel and lay flat or hang to dry. Allow the brushes to dry 6 to 8 hours, or overnight, before using again.


  • Makes enough for more than one use.
: @bluebirdandblackberries

: @bluebirdandblackberries

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