How to clean makeup brushes!

by Melissa

Do your makeup brushes get nasty? Mine too! Especially if I am constantly changing out darker colors. That is why I love this do-it-yourself makeup brush cleaner. It is a spot cleaner so that means you can use it daily as it dries super fast. I also have some tips below that will assist you in deep cleaning methods because at some point our brushes need to be deep cleaned too.

How to clean makeup brushes! The best DIY makeup brush cleaner I've found. A must try!

How to clean makeup brushes!


1 cup water (distilled or purified bottle water)
1/4 cup alcohol
1/2 tbsp dish soap
1/2 tbsp hair shampoo (normal to oily hair)
1 tbsp leave-in conditioner
a bowl & spoon
funnel (optional)
spray bottle or container


After you collect all your supplies mix the water, alcohol, dish soap, shampoo and conditioner in a bowl. Using a funnel (or a steady hand) pour the mixture into your container. I prefer a spray bottle. It just makes things easier when it comes to cleaning your brushes. Below is how it looks when all mixed up, nothing fancy but works great.

Once the cleaner is bottled and ready to go then you can start cleaning your brushes. Spray on a napkin or towel and swoosh your brushes back and forth or around in circles for larger ones until no more product comes off. If your brushes are super dirty then you may need more than one napkin.


Eww! Right?
Depending on how many brushes you own and what colors you wear (esp for eyeshadow) you will want to spot clean weekly. If you don’t own a lot of brushes and/or change your eyeshadow color dramatically you might want to spot clean daily. Like I said above that is the good thing about this cleaner. It dries super fast.

For a monthly deep clean you can take warm water, lather your brushes with baby shampoo and rinse until all traces of soap are removed. Squeeze out water and shape your brush, towel dry any excess and leave to dry on a towel overnight. You will also want to set the towel up at an angle so that you can leave your brushes angled towards their bristles. This will prevent any damage to your handles.

Lipstick brushes can be a little tricky because of all the sticky mess they can create. You can wash those with a gentle wash that you use to clean your face or olive oil works great too. I like to use my philosophy purity makeup cleanser I use on my face.

When your brushes start shedding and the bristles frizz, it’s time to replace with new ones.

Why is it important to clean my makeup brushes?

Cleaning your brushes regularly and taking care of them will make them last longer, which in turn saves you money from having to purchase new ones. Over time your brushes will get oily from rubbing on your face so cleaning them makes application easier and does the job you want it to do. It also saves your face from getting nasty breakouts because yes, dirty brushes carry bacteria.

I love comments, let me know how you clean your makeup brushes. :o)


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Leave a Comment


jaanika March 15, 2012 - 6:22 PM

i use shampoo and conditioner:D

Style-Delights March 16, 2012 - 12:50 AM

I use baby shampoo, as suggested by MAC salesgirl and it actually works fine! I’ll try yours method too as it seems easy enough!! Thanks for shaing. Hope you are having a wonderful day!
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Melissa March 16, 2012 - 1:37 AM

Yes, baby shampoo will definitely work. As I mentioned, this is a great way to deep clean. However, I like this method because you don’t have to wash out the soap with this spot cleaner. It just seems faster for spot cleaning esp if you tend to do it fairly often during the week.

Elle Sees March 16, 2012 - 2:31 AM

i make and i buy! it depends on the month

Melissa March 16, 2012 - 1:46 PM

Thanks for following hun. 🙂

I will definitely go check your blog out as well.

Aimee August 30, 2012 - 7:30 PM

I made this recipe about two months ago and use it daily on my brushes (I wear highly pigmented colors) and I love it! I just made some for my friend and she loves it too; she used to pay over $20 for a spot cleaner that was a quarter of the size. I still deep clean my brushes once a month with baby shampoo also.

Melissa August 30, 2012 - 8:47 PM

I love using this. It works great and no need to spend extra money for cleaner when I already have this stuff lying around anyways.


back to basics November 17, 2012 - 12:58 AM

Just made and used this. Love it! Thank you!

Melissa November 19, 2012 - 3:22 PM

It works great doesn’t it. 🙂


Elyssa November 19, 2012 - 9:57 AM

Hi, thanks so much for sharing this “recipe”! 🙂
Just wanted to ask if you just spray and let the brush dry or do you rinse the solution off? I’m quite worried about the leave-in conditioner as some have comedogenic ingredients in them?

Melissa November 19, 2012 - 3:25 PM

I just spray and let my brushes dry. If you are worried about them you could always run them under water and then let them dry. My only problem with that is that this solution is for quick spot treatment. If you rinse them in water each time you have to wait for them to dry (which could take a good day). You can also leave out the leave-in conditioner as well.


Alexis Jasek December 29, 2012 - 3:38 PM

Thank you for sharing this recipe. It is the first one I have found with alcohol. I like this as the vinegar recipe leaves a bit of tackiness and smell. Also keep in mind when you wash your brushes monthly, placing them on the edge of the bathroom counter with the bristles off the counter speeds the drying time. It allows the air to circulate around all the bristles and hairs.