How to clean your make-up brushes

I recently decided to clean all of my make-up brushes. I haven’t done this in at least a year. I really should do it more often, but hey, life happens. I’m doing it now, aren’t I? When was the last time you cleaned yours – if ever? See? See what I mean? You’re probably just as bad as me at not cleaning your make-up brushes. And if not, good for you! Well done.

This really should be done every few weeks or at least months, but once a year is better than never! Brush hairs are porous, so they hold on to oil, debris and bacteria which is why it’s important to clean that gunk off.

Start by mixing equal amounts of olive oil and a mild soap. Or you can use dish soap.


How to clean your make-up brushes with olive oil + gentle soap

Olive oil + gentle soap


Next dip the tip of the brush in the mixture.


How to clean your make-up brushes

Dip the brush in the olive oil / soap mixture


Rub the bristles gently on the palm of your hand.  Don’t overdo this step. I kept doing this and rinsing one of my brushes trying to get the water to come clear, but now it looks like I ruined that brush.


How to clean your make-up brushes

Rub the brush against the palm of your hand


Next, rinse with water, being careful not to get the base of the bristles, known as the ferrule, wet. The bristles are glued into the base and getting the glue wet could loosen up the bristles. Gently squeeze the water out of the bristles.


How to clean your make-up brushes

Rinse the brush in water


Repeat with all of the brushes until you are done. Then, reshape them all and lay them out to air dry on a paper towel. It’s important to note not to air dry them with the brush part sticking up in the air so the water doesn’t run down into the base where the glue is.


How to clean your make-up brushes

Let the brushes dry on a paper towel


Reshape the bristles, checking on them every now and then to re-fluff them while they are drying out. I even used the remaining olive oil / soap mixture to wash my brush holder case.


How to clean your make-up brushes

Reshape the bristles and then air dry


Voila! You’re done. Except for any you ruined. 🙁 I only managed to ruin the one that I over washed. But if you need more, browse through the links below.

Happy brush cleaning! Your face will thank you for cleaning all the old gunk off your brushes.


*This post contains affiliate links. If you click through on them, I may receive a small drop of money, at no extra cost to you. Enough to keep one light  burning in my home.


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Published by Maureen Jordan

Hi! My name is Maureen and I enjoy hiking, fashion, food, a good book and a cup of tea! I'm a photographer & actress from Oregon. I live with my two sons & two pretty ragdoll furbabies near the Portland metro area.


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