Jul 12, 2011

Squeaky Clean Makeup Brushes My Way

How often do you clean your makeup brushes?  I don't have any fixed routine I follow, but I did wash them out today and as I was putting them on the towel to dry, I thought I would check with everyone else on this.

makeup brush cleaning routine wash dry air
I keep them to dry in the sunniest part of the house :D
With a brush I use for applying liquid foundations/cream blushes, I wash it after each application or at the most use twice before washing it out.  I go out about once or twice a week, so this is quite okay for me to do.  With the eyeshadow brushes, I am a lot lazier since it's all just powders, and just wipe off the brushes on a clean tissue to remove any powder residue.  I wash them only after about 4-5 uses or if they look like they need a cleaning :P

A few things I follow with washing brushes:

Shampoo - I use a shampoo without any silicones in it for washing my brushes.  The reason I do this is because I have acne-prone/sensitive skin, and I don't use products with silicones in them anyway, and I definitely don't want the residue to be left on brushes to irritate my skin.  I am currently using Lush's I Love Juicy shampoo, and if it's good enough for my hair - it's good enough for the brushes :D

I take about a cup of lukewarm water - not really very warm but definitely not cold - and add about a teaspoon of shampoo to it and mix it up.

makeup brush cleaning routine wash dry air
Never insert the full length of the ferrule in the soapy solution/water or allow the
brush to fall in or lie completely inside the water.

Now on to the actual washing:
  • Insert only about halway up to the length of the ferrule (the portion holding the brush hair) into the cleaning solution.  Make sure never to put the whole brush into the water.  Also, make sure that the joint where the ferrule meets the brush handle is never in water since this makes the joint weak and it can come off.  Of course, you can always just glue it right back on but err..better to avoid that to start with.
  • Rub the brush hair gently with fingers while it's in the liquid to help dislodge any makeup residue.  Swirl the brush gently around, take out, squeeze out any remaining soapy solution from it.  Wash off in fresh clean water.
  • I never follow with a conditioner - one because I never felt any need to, second because, again, I don't want unnecessary residue on the brush.
After washing and gently squeezing off water from the brush, I lay them to dry on a towel, and in a sunny spot if it is available.  I lay them at an angle with the brush pointing downwards and the brush handle slightly higher.  This way, I can be sure the water drains down from the brush head into the towel and not go upward into the brush itself.  Water can dissolve the glue that holds the brush hair together and ultimately ruin the brush.

makeup brush cleaning routine wash dry air
I just fold a little edge of the towel and keep the brushes handles on that folded edge -
easiest way to ensure the brushes stay at an angle while drying :)
Wait for it to dry completely - usually takes about a day - and then store them somewhere clean and ready to use :D

Shortcut Methods: 
All this work, though, is for times when I have a lot of time - when I am too lazy and/or am in a hurry, I would go for one of these two options:

1.  Use any inexpensive makeup wipe/towelette that I don't mind wasting.  Wipe the brush head on it and clean brush in an instant.  I do this quite often with my eyeshadow brushes to take off darker colours.

kara makeup wipes brush cleaning
Ignore the Tea Tree blotting paper - am just reusing photos from an older post :D
2.  MAC Brush Cleaning Solution - this is just as easy as the makeup wipe method, but of course, this is much more effective.  Pour a few drops of the solution on a clean paper towel, rub the brush into the wet paper and keep wiping the brush on this wet patch.  Alternate between wiping on a clean dry paper and wiping on the wet paper.  Your brush will be squeaky clean in no time.

mac brush cleaning solution

So what about you?  What's your brush cleaning routine?

A Tip I have not tried myself:  To take off foundation residue from your brushes, rub a little oil (like olive oil) into them to remove the foundation/discolouration before washing them in shampoo.  As I mentioned, I have not tried this personally, but I do think one would need a stronger shampoo to take off the oily residue after that :)


  1. I just have paint brushes :|

  2. umm yeah..actually i'm a super lazy person :| I mostly paint when we get work from college :P But you know what, my vacations are going to end and I decided i'll do some chotta oil painting, I think I should better start soon. :D :D

    Me also interested in photography, so i like to check out your blog :D :D
    Love the first pic!!

  3. Oh..thank you :) :) I have only tried pencil sketches ages back - and hardly any sketches either! Oil paintings seem so much more complicated :D

  4. I wash brushes whenever i feel the need to. Foundation / concealer etc brushes after every use. eye makeup brushes depending on how much i have used. that mac brush cleanser is my god. :P :P I clean my gel liner brush after every use with this and may be once a week.

    I dont dip the top part also completely in water-- the part that holds the bristle. :|

    radhika more than the brush cleaning post , i think this is your ecotools brush flaunt poost. *super pissed* *cans*

  5. Gargi would love to see your paintings some time. :))

  6. :D @ Ecotools Brush Fluant :P

  7. Lol Ratidu me also thinks thisnladi wsnts to flaunt more than simple explain :D

    Its been 8 months i dont wash my brushes :D me dont use then only, some tbs ones i got i havent umwrapped yet as me been moving around for ages now and havent got a chance to have a house of my own and unpack xD

  8. It is always fun reading how someone else wash their makeup brushes. It is a great post! =D

  9. Hawwwwwwwwwwwwwww....Ecotools also is flaunting!!!! You all wait...I will get MAC brushes and put nekkid photeees with it hmmmmmmmmmmmph.

  10. I usually clean it with plain water. Will try your method of cleaning with mild shampoo Rads :)


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