Makeup Brushes on White Background with Colorful Pigment Powder
Image: Shutterstock/Anna Hoychuk

4 Easy Ways To Clean Makeup Brushes

Have a makeup brush that’s so caked you’re starting to worry it may start moving on its own? No worries. There are tons of ways to rid your makeup brush of the most stubborn of buildup. Below is your guide to getting unbelievably clean makeup brushes.

Liquid Dish Soap

Using liquid soap is the most common option for washing makeup brushes. You can just grab some liquid dish soap and a sponge, like you’re doing the dishes. Apply the dish soap to the sponge, and then rub the bristles of the brush on the sponge. After that, rinse with warm water, dry with a paper towel and leave to air dry the rest of the way.

Just as a general note, make sure not to get any soap into the barrel of the brush, or you run the risk of the bristles falling out when that area gets wet.

Bar Soap

One of the easiest ways to clean a makeup brush is to rub the brush against a bar of soap. It’s a great way to use extra soap bars. Make sure to be thorough, so the cleanser gets to the deepest bristles. Like above, rinse with lukewarm water and dry with a paper towel. Lay the brush out to dry.

Olive Oil

This oil is perfect for smaller brushes that don’t have extensive caking going on. Plus, it will moisturize the bristles. Simply dip your brush into the oil, and then rub it against a sponge. Then rinse, paper towel dry and air dry. Make sure to rinse well so all the oil comes out.

Oil & Castile Soap

If you have some really heavy caking going on, you’ll want to combine soap and oil. That will get rid of the caking, cleanse the brush and keep the bristles moisturized during an extensive cleaning. Combine liquid Castile soap with equal parts olive oil in a bowl. Rub the bristles of the brush in the mixture, again, making sure to keep the barrel of the brush dry. That makeup should come off right in the bowl. Then rinse the brush with warm water, dry with a paper towel and let the brush air dry the rest of the way.

A Note On Prevention

Sometimes the best way to keep up with clean makeup brushes is to not let them get too caked up in the first place. Natural makeup brushes should be cleaned weekly with your preferred method, while synthetic brushes should be cleaned every other day (since their synthetic nature can take more frequent cleanings). That will cut back on potential bacterial growth, and leftover makeup won’t degrade the brushes. Plus, you’ll have a cleaner brush that won’t interfere with the makeup shade you are applying.