Clean Your Makeup Brushes Naturally!

Did you know that 65.8% of you never clean your makeup brushes? This is a statistic I found in my brain, where I make things up that sound authoritative. But I bet I’m not far off.

It’s okay. Until I discovered this method of brush-cleaning, I never cleaned mine either.

Why would you want to? You’re just going to get them dirty again right away. Right? (That’s how I look at my kitchen sometimes …)

You need to clean your makeup brushes in order to get rid of ALL of the dirt, dead skin cells, and bacteria that accumulate on them after regular use. This is especially important for those of you who have oily skin or acne. Keep those brushes clean, or suffer the pimply consequences.

Fortunately, it’s really, really easy to clean them – and it is taking you longer to read this post than it will take you to actually do it. So no excuses. What are you waiting for?

Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes Naturally – Step One

First, before you get started, you’ll want to gather everything you need.

  • Dirty makeup brushes
  • Olive oil (the real extra-virgin kind is best)
  • Liquid castille soap
  • Vinegar
  • Two very small bowls
  • A washcloth (or a paper towel)

The first thing you’re going to work with is the olive oil. Pour a tiny bit onto your washcloth (or paper towel) – no more than half a teaspoon should do it.



You’re doing this to “preclean” the brush, but also to condition the fibers on the bristles. This step isn’t quite as necessary if you use synthetic makeup brushes, but it’s still fun. So do it anyway!

All you do is just dab the bristles into the olive oil and then swipe the brush (pressing gently) on your towel several times – mainly until you feel like it’s mostly clean. (By the way, it is not. Not yet. No matter how clean it looks).

Throughout your makeup brush washing experience, try to avoid the “stem” where the bristles are attached to the brush handle. It’s not a huge deal if you get water up in there, but try to avoid it as much as possible, as too much exposure to the cleaners might loosen the bristles from the attachment, which is probably glue.

Step 2: Mix Together Warm Water and Castile Soap In a Small Bowl, and Wash Your Makeup Brush In It

Most other makeup brush cleaning tutorials suggest you use baby shampoo to wash your makeup brushes, but I’m going to guess very few of you actually have baby shampoo in your house. If you do, you can use it, but castille is far superior (mainly for it’s totally natural state).

Just pour about a teaspoon of liquid castille into a small bowl and add a bit of warm water.



Rub your fingers around in the bristles (remember, try to avoid the “stem”) while holding the brush in the soapy water. Squeeze it out and do this a few times.

Soon, your water will be full of somewhat icky color, which will teach you to think that using olive oil alone was enough to clean your brushes.

Once you feel like you’ve gotten all of the makeup out of your brush, you can move on to the next step.

Step 3: Dip Your Makeup Brush in Vinegar and Then Rinse Well With Hot Water

This vinegar step is optional, but I like to do it this way because it really makes sure all of the olive oil is out of your brush, as well as super cleaning, and super antibacterializing, the bristles.

If, for some reason, you don’t have distilled vinegar, you can skip that part and move straight on to rinsing.



As you dip it in the vinegar, squeeze it out a couple of times just to make sure all the makeup is out of the brush. You’ll be able to tell by the clarity of the vinegar in the bowl. Even if there’s a little left, it’s okay, because you’re about to rinse it in hot water.

Just hold the brush under the running water for a few seconds, squeeze, rinse again – and repeat if you enjoy what you’re doing. Otherwise, just turn off the faucet. No one will know.

Then dry it a bit on a clean towel and shape it back into the makeup brush shape of your choice.

Let that baby air dry for a while, and you have a fresh, clean makeup brush.



Now Be Honest …

… how often do YOU clean your makeup brushes?

If your answer is “often,” you get a fancy trophy that exists only in your imagination. But you should also share YOUR favorite technique for washing your makeup brushes.

How do you do it?






A bit about Make Up Brushes!

Goat Hair: This is very common in makeup brushes and usually distributes powder evenly. It is most effective to pick up powder and deposit it evenly and smoothly. It also brings lustre to your skin naturally and is perfect for buffing and blending. Can be a little coarse.

Pony Hair: is similar to goat hair. They do not come out to a point, which makes them great for cheeks, bronzer and blending. It is fine and soft.

Squirrel Hair: This is ideal for conical shaped brushes and usually is thicker in the middle of the brush, then comes to a point at the top. It is the softest, natural hair used in makeup brushes. They are usually more expensive but a great investment because of their durability. Best for heavy pigmented and blending eye shadows.

Sable Brushes: Hair is usually from mink (Russia & China). There are three types: Kolinsky (highest quality), Red Sable, and Sable. These brushes can last a lifetime as they are resilient, soft, durable and good for wet products. They have fine pointed tips and thick middles. Great for eye shadows.

If you are not into Natural Brushes and want to go faux, Synthetic Brushes are available. made from nylon or talon and less expensive. They still give you a smooth even application but has a harder time holding makeup in the brush because it lacks a cuticle. They are great for liquid foundation, concealer, cream shadows, cream eyeliners, and cream blush. The only disadvantage about going faux is that over time synthetic brushes become stiff and are less durable.

The brush you use can be the difference between the perfect smokey eye, or having a beauty disaster! So save yourself the trouble and make the choice that’s right for you and your wallet 🙂