How I clean my make up brushes!

Of all cleaning chores, cleaning my make up brushes  is my favourite one. It is weirdly satisfying seeing them all squeaky clean lined up on my bench.

In this post I give you my method and also some other ways to clean your make up brushes. Just pick whatever works for you.

I believe good quality brushes will give you a better result with all the wonderful cosmetics we have available to us right now. My suggestion to you, is to buy the best quality brush you can afford. I use synthetic brushes – my favourite brands at the moment are , Real Techniques, and I also have some Nars, Mac and Bdellium Tools brushes.

A professional make up artist that uses their brushes on different faces will have different techniques to clean their equipment, because every brush needs to be properly sanitised before it touches someone else’s skin.  Eventhough my brushes are predominantly for my own use,   I like to ensure that my brushes are cleaned once a week (or once a fortnight if I am very slack busy ) because of the chance of bacterial build up and reapplying it back on your own face. A little gross.

So here is what I do step by step:

First, run your brushes under luke warm water to loosen the make up, but make sure you hold the brush down so the water does not run into where the handle meets the bristles. The bristles are held together with glue and this could dislodge them. (if they are very dirty, stand them up in a very small amount of water and detergent/shampoo/cleanser to really loosen all the build up make up. Only cover the tip of the bristles)


How I clean my brushes


Next, swirl your brush over a bar of Sard Wonder Soap. Swirl and Rinse a few times, until the suds come out clean.


How I clean my make up brushes

How I clean my make up brushes



Remember the washing board from days gone by? Washing clothes by hand on a ribbed surface really got them clean. There are now washing gloves or mats available to run your brush over (see them  from Sigma and Sephora) or you can get a Silicon oven glove or macaroon Tray from Kmart. Anything that has grooves or ribs. It is amazing how much more product comes out when you use these,  even when you think it is clean. Believe it or not, mine is one half of a silicon avocado storer.


How I clean my make up brushes


Squeeze out the make up and soap under running water. Rinse well.


How I clean my make up brushes


Dry by squeezing between a folded towel or kitchen paper and shape to its original shape.


Always lay flat on a towel to dry, or if you have a drying tree like mine (a gift from a good friend) hang them with the bristles down so water does not sit in the handle. Alternatively, balance them on a towel with something underneath to create some height. ( I used a rolling pin!)


How I clean my make up brushes

How I clean my make up brushes



This method works the best for me, but there are other methods.

Baby shampoo works, or any gentle foaming facial cleanser or shampoo and conditioner in a small dish to clean the bristles, or in the palm of your hand. Always rinse thoroughly.

There are also alcohol based cleaners, with the great advantage that as the alcohol evaporates, the brush dries much quicker than with water and soap. This is a method used especially by Make Up Artists between clients.

I have used a few.  MAC does a great one,    and I just picked up an Artiste Brush Cleaner from Priceline.


This is how you use alcohol based cleansers. Spray a little on a piece of kitchen paper and run your brush backwards and forwards until the brush  is clean.

How I clean my make up brushes


From reading the ingredients, it looks like a Rubbing Alcohol will work just as well. (I have written about this wonder product before, when I showed you how to repair a broken eyeshadow)


Also a special mention of the Daiso Sponge and Brush Cleanser. This Japanese supermarket sells everything for AU$2.80 and this detergent works really well.



So there it is. I hope it is of help to you. How I clean my brushes is one of the most asked questions.

Any tips that you would like to share?

Linking up with Ingrid from Fabulous and Fun Life for Monday Make up Madness.

Til next time,




About Fashionista in Suburbia

Dutch Born, Fashionista in Suburbia lives at the Southern Beaches of Sydney, Australia. A Mum. A Wife. A Lover of all things sparkly, shiny and leopard print. A Shoe, Lipstick and Sunglasses Addict. A Typical Libra. A Breast Cancer Thriver.

10 thoughts on “How I clean my make up brushes!

  1. Never would’ve thought of using an avocado storer to clean my brushes!

    I normally use a gentle shampoo (like Moogoo, or even Sukin’s purifying shampoo) + my Sigma brush cleaning glove (expensive & probably not worth it for some, but for me it’s great & have saved my poor hands from drying out) to wash my brushes. I’m one of those people who’ll wash mine after using them once or twice because I don’t know when I’ll wear makeup again.
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  2. Thanks for these great tips, Barbe – I am massively slack on cleaning brushes but the easier it is, the more likely I’ll do it. Love the avocado storer trick!! #upcycle
    Beth at recently posted…Champagne Cartel PrizeMy Profile

  3. I use the cleanser from Daiso. Cheap and GREAT!! And I bought a mini cleaning mitt that was pretty cheap. I think eBay has them too.

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