How to Wash Your Makeup Brushes

Good morning lovelies! Well, it’s almost afternoon, but I was fortunate enough to get to sleep in this morning 🙂

I expanded my brush collection a few weeks ago, and only then noticed how dirty my current brushes were! It was definitely time to clean them!

Without washing your brushes every few weeks, you’ll end up with a lot of dirt and makeup residue embedded in the bristles. Do you really want to deposit that on your face? Yuck! This method is super easy to do and took me less than fifteen minutes to do all my brushes.

IMG_0919What you’ll need:

  • Makeup brushes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Anti-bacterial dishwasher soap
  • A small container
  • Paper towels
  • A rubber band and some string (optional)

Mix the olive oil and the dishwasher soap in a container in a 1:1 ratio. How much mixture you’ll need will depend on the amount of brushes you have to wash. The anti-bacterial soap helps lather and clean the brush, while the extra virgin olive oil helps recondition the bristles. Without conditioning your brushes, you risk drying out the bristles and ruining the integrity of the brush.

Step 1: Roll your brush head through the mixture, and then rub the brush gently on the palm of your hand to spread the mixture throughout the brush. Mix some water into the brush and rub the bristles going in the natural direction of the brush until it is saturated and foaming. By this point, you should see the mixture turning brown with your makeup squeegeeing out.

Step 2: Rinse the brush under the water, squeezing it several times until the water runs clear. If your brush is really dirty, you can repeat steps 1 & 2 again until the brush appears clean.

Step 3: Gently squeeze out the water with your hand and then use a paper towel to squeeze out any remaining water. Set aside and repeat the process with your other remaining brushes until you are finished. I like to do one brush at a time, instead of one step at a time with all brushes, because it allows me to give my full attention to cleaning each and every brush well. It also doesn’t all the mixture to settle and dry onto your brushes.

brushwashing-watermarkStep 4: If you have the supplies on hand, it is best to hang-dry your brushes (as long as they are spaced out enough to dry). Hang-drying allows the brushes to dry in a way that won’t let the water seep down into the barrel. If water gets into the barrel, it can loosen the glue bonds that hold the bristles in place, as well as rust the brush itself. If you can’t hang dry them, lay them flat on a toweled surface to absorb excess moisture. Do not stand them up to dry.

I used a rubber band to hold my brushes together, spacing them so that the brush heads didn’t touch each other, allowing them to dry 360. Then, I tied some string to the towel hanger in my bathroom and let them sit out for a day. It shouldn’t take this long, but I had plenty of time to spare. Synthetic bristles will dry quicker than hair bristles.

Cleaning Makeup Sponges:

You don’t need fancy brush cleaner to clean your reusable sponges (mine is Real Techniques brand). Just make sure you use a foaming face cleanser, so that you can lather and clean the brush throughout. I made the mistake of using a cleanser that didn’t lather much, and I accidentally tore part of my sponge trying to rub it clean.


What you’ll need:

  • Makeup sponge
  • Lathering/foaming facial cleanser
  • Clean washcloth

Step 1: Wet your dirty sponge getting it as saturated as possible.

Step 2: Using a face cleanser that foams, pour a dollop onto the brush and massage until spread throughout. Oil should not be used on a sponge, as it’s not necessary to condition to sponge Squeeze the brush repeatedly under the water head to rid the brush of the mixture. Repeat as many times as needed.

Step 3: Squeeze the brush until no more water runs out. Roll the brush in a clean washcloth, and gently squeeze. Leave the brush out on a dry towel for several hours. Voila!

Also, notice the pink mark on the back of my hand? Yeah, that’s a courtesy of a little swatching I had been doing whilst reorganizing my lipstick drawer earlier in the morning…

IMG_0903-square The culprit was Maybelline SuperStay 24. No amount of scrubbing or hot water would remove it, and I forgot to use makeup remover before shooting. I finally had to pick it off with my finger. Guess it really had some staying power, huh? 🙂 Just make sure to get it right the first time!

I hope you enjoyed this little tidbit!

XO Ali

9 thoughts on “How to Wash Your Makeup Brushes

  1. I use the exact same method to clean my brushes haha! But yeah, that was a great post. Haven’t cleaned my beauty blender since i bought it a month back 🙈 Gonna make sure i do it quick, now that i know how to!
    Great post, loved it :
    P.S. When I tried a Maybelline Superstay 24 at the store, i had the same problem, omg. It’s such a pain sometimes 😦

    • Yes, I am seriously considering throwing it away! It is IMPOSSIBLE to remove! I’m glad I could help. Just be sure to be very gentle as you’re washing it…I ripped mine a bit because I was trying to clean it so roughly with a non-foaming cleanser. Super easy to do though! 😀

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