What Soap Can I Use to Clean My Makeup Brushes?

Experts consulted by us recommend cleaning your brushes weekly to prevent the build-up of toxins and bacteria, but what kind of soap should be used for this task?

Makeup artists use liquid dish soap or gentle shampoo to deep clean their brushes and sponges, but a brush cleaning mat may help ensure cleanser penetrates all bristles effectively.

Dish Soap

Cleaning makeup brushes may not be an enjoyable task, but it is necessary. Dirty bristles spread bacteria onto your face – an action which makeup artist and blogger Carlylee King refers to as spreading germs rather than cleaning. “Using dirty brushes spreads germs onto skin rather than cleansing,” leading to breakouts, infections or even rashes or redness on your complexion.

While you could purchase a special brush cleaner, other household items can serve the same function just as effectively – for instance, liquid dish soap works wonders in clearing away old makeup and oil build-up from brushes – plus it’s far cheaper than investing in one specifically for this task!

Start with lukewarm to warm water; any more wetness could erode away at their glue joints over time. Add some soap into your palm, and swirl your brush in it (this helps produce lather!). Wash one brush at a time ensuring all areas of its crevices have been cleared out completely!

Once your brushes have been washed, it is time to rinse them. Use a clean hand towel to wring out any excess water before placing the brushes flat on a towel so they can dry in their original shapes.

Makeup sponges require additional care than brushes due to their ability to harbor bacteria and oil build-up, which may contribute to breakouts. In order to avoid breakouts, it’s crucial that your sponge be regularly washed – Charlotte Tilbury suggests washing it after every use! “A wet sponge provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria; so whenever possible after using, take steps immediately thereafter to rinse yours out,” advises Tilbury.

To effectively cleanse a sponge, fill a bowl or cup with warm to lukewarm water and add either gentle liquid dish soap (for synthetic brushes) or shampoo (better for natural brushes). Soak the sponge for at least 20 minutes in this solution before swishing in cleaner and rinsing until water runs clear.

Vinegar + Lemon

Makeup brushes are made of natural hair, and without proper care and attention they can dry out over time. Regular soap can deteriorate the glue that holds bristles together; for a gentle yet thorough clean try using something like white vinegar or olive oil as it not only cleans but can also moisturize and condition their bristles at the same time!

Begin by pouring a small amount of dish soap or cleanser onto a silicone makeup brush cleaning mat (you could also use an old used one from around the house) and gently rubbing your brush across its soapy surface before swirling your bristles in mixture for lathering effect. Repeat process and submerge only bristles into water to avoid loosening glue that holds them together.

Once finished, gently squeeze and squish your brushes to release any excess moisture, and reshape and lay them flat to dry. New York makeup artists Jennifer Nam and Marie Schumacher prefer leaving their brushes or sponges hanging over a towel edge so they won’t sit upright – which could cause them to lose shape over time.

As another excellent solution, using liquid brush cleaner is another effective option. Many of the experts we consulted suggested high-grade, professional-grade options such as Cinema Secrets’ Parian Spirit cleaner. This solution features antibacterial agents and quickly dries out; making it great for getting rid of stubborn residue, according to NY-based artist Holly Gowers.

Make your own natural makeup brush cleaner using ingredients you likely already have at home: equal parts water and vinegar combined in a bowl can be used to make an effective natural makeup brush cleaner. Dip each of your brushes or sponges in this solution, swirl around, then rinse off with warm water afterward. Pat them dry using a clean hand towel (being careful to not lay them upright as this could cause their shapes to change), they should dry within 24 hours or so.

Apple Cider Vinegar

No matter whether you utilize natural bristle makeup brushes or beauty blender-style sponges, regular and proper cleaning of these tools is key to their continued functionality and lifespan. Aside from prolonging their lives, clean brushes also make makeup application smoother – though experts agree on washing regularly (within reason). However, the optimal method and frequency may differ depending on your germophobic level and definition of “clean.”

Many gentle soaps and dish soaps can remove makeup residue effectively enough, but their ingredients include fragrances and sulfates that may irritate skin or exacerbate dryness on brushes over time. Over time they also weaken glue holding bristles together causing their soft fluffiness to diminish over time.

Keeping your brushes fluffy and soft requires using apple cider vinegar in a DIY cleaner solution. This solution will kill bacteria while loosening any product build-up for squeaky-clean brushes. Simply combine a cup of warm water with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and half teaspoon of liquid dish soap; allow your brushes to soak, then rinse out before wiping off excess moisture with a clean towel and leaving flat to dry overnight.

Make the process as efficient and painless as possible by applying some liquid soap to a brush cleaning mat or silicone trivet and lathering with your palm, then dip your brush in it, scrub against its surface to loosen any product build-up, rinse under running water until all residue has been rinsed away, wring out carefully to get rid of excess water and allow your brush or brushes to lay flat until overnight drying has taken place.

Olive Oil

An Australian beauty enthusiast shared a simple and affordable method for cleaning makeup brushes using household items. She combined olive oil, antibacterial soap and warm water into a cleaning mixture which she applied with an inexpensive rubber oven mitt from Kmart for $6 to scrub the makeup brushes clean – she claims the combination conditions bristles while clearing away bacteria from them as well.

Make a cleaning solution by mixing together one part olive oil (around two tablespoons) with two parts dish soap in a bowl. Dip your makeup brush into this solution, swirling gently to loosen any residue, before rinsing off in warm running water – being careful not to soak its base as this can compromise glue holding bristles and handle together.

Use clarifying shampoo or gentle baby shampoo to clean your makeup brushes. Place some drops of the product in your palm and rub your brush over it, creating lather. Rinse out thoroughly making sure that the nozzle of the bottle points downward so no water enters its base handle. After you are satisfied that it is completely clean reshape it before placing on a paper towel or washcloth until dry.

Clean makeup brushes and sponges are essential in minimizing risk of bacteria contamination and prolonging their lifespan. We suggest cleaning them at least once weekly. If you’re uncertain of how often to clean your makeup brushes, consult their labels or consult the retailer for instructions. Keep in mind that natural-hair brushes require less frequent washings than synthetic hair ones. Your makeup brushes could become contaminated with bacteria, dirt and oil from using different kinds of makeup, which could cause your skin to breakout or look dull. To protect your brushes from becoming dirty over time and prevent this happening to you, always store them in an environment which is clean and dry – this also goes for other products like creams and lipsticks, as this may cause bristles to lose shape over time.