How to Clean Your Makeup Brushes Naturally

makeup brushes on a table

Have you been drinking plenty of clean water, engaging in regular workouts, eating healthily, yet your skin develops breakouts? You may have been doing everything right and still neglect the one thing that could stop this annoying occurrence: cleaning your makeup brushes. But you are not the only one because statistics have shown that most women who make use of makeup kits do not even consider cleaning them.

Cleaning makeup brushes is usually not the first thing on any woman’s to-do list. In fact, it has never crossed a lot of women’s minds to tidy up their makeup brushes. Despite having skin rashes, pimples, and the occasional makeup mistakes, it never occurs to them that their dirty brushes could be the culprits.

Now that you have come across the subject, you may be thinking that it is going to cost you a fortune to procure the chemicals you need to clean your makeup brushes or keep them in pristine condition. No, ma’am. There are natural ways or methods you can employ to clean your makeup brushes and sponges, leaving them unsullied and free from harmful germs.

We know how well makeup goes with facial care so make sure to check out our guide of the best facial cleansing brushes for a softer and glowing skin before you continue.


Reasons Why You Need to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

But why is it necessary to clean your makeup brushes? Life is so fraught with day-to-day activities that forgetting to clean your makeup tools – if it even crosses your mind – takes a back seat.

Cleaning your makeup brushes is essential if you want them to last long. If you do not wash those brushes or maintain them correctly, the bristles begin to degrade quickly – no thanks to makeup residue – and you may have no choice than to throw them out and get new ones. It, therefore, makes financial sense to clean and maintain them for as long as possible.


Furthermore, since makeup residue destroys the fiber, the bristles will make it difficult for you to apply makeup evenly across your face. But clean and well-kept makeup brushes help you get makeup on your face in less time and with fewer hassles.

Unclean makeup brushes can also lead to the clogging of pores on your skin as a result of the accumulation of bacteria on the sponges and bristles. This could result in pesky breakouts or acne, ingrown hairs, rashes, spots, eye infections, etc. when the bacteria are transferred to your skin. These are problems that you can do without.

If you also have oily skin or have acne, it is highly crucial to clean out your makeup tools to get rid of dead skin cells, oil, and dirt that has built up over time and after regular use. You don’t want to suffer the pimply consequences that may ensue if you neglect this warning and keep using unclean sponges and brushes on your face.

There have been extreme cases of people developing pinkeye – i.e. inflammation of the eye – staph infections, folliculitis, and cellulitis which can lead to blindness. All these medical conditions were traced to the collection of bacteria. This is why you must always make sure that they are clean and well-kept all the time to avoid stories that touch the heart.

brush dipped in makeupAlthough there are no clinical or scientific studies to confirm this, skin dermatologists have stated – in theory – that dirt on them can accelerate aging. According to this unproven theory, dirty makeup brushes can facilitate the breakdown of elastin, collagen as well as oxidative skin stress caused by free radicals. These are factors that contribute to the premature aging of the skin.

Even though the theory is unverified, it is better to err on the side of caution and ensure that they are cleaned correctly and as at when due.


How Often Should You Clean Your Makeup Brushes?

I know you love to sit in front of your vanity makeup mirror(check out our guide on the best lighted mirrors on the market here) and take your time(or not) to give yourself a boost of beauty and confidence. However, there is a lot of controversy about how often you should clean your makeup brushes. One school of thought recommends that they should be washed after every use so that the quality of the brushes can be protected and for promoting uniform application of powder.

Other experts believe that cleaning them every one to two weeks is ideal and will not wear out the bristles anytime soon. Other skin specialists state that washing your brushes at least once every week is perfect, though it depends on:

  • how often you use them,
  • how many makeup products you use,
  • what your makeup routine is.

makeup brushes in a jarSo, cleaning your makeup brushes is left at your discretion, though you can use the factors stated above to determine how often you should clean them for proper maintenance.

Moreover, you should try your best to prevent the sharing. It is considered by skin experts as the ultimate virus-spreader – including conjunctivitis, cold sores, etc. – and therefore, an unforgivable sin. It is the number one reason why pros make sure that they clean them up after every use.

Also, though you may not realize it, fungi and bacteria thrive in wet conditions as against dry states. This means that foundation brushes may amass micro-organisms quicker and faster than brushes used in applying dry powder.

Therefore, when cleaning brushes that you use for applying liquid textures, make sure you give them an extra wash and wipe them dry vigorously. Do this at least two to three times every week.

Pro tip: When you immerse them in water, ensure that you do not submerge the head of the bristles where they connect to the handle. This is to prevent the weakening of the glue that holds the bristles in place, thus prolonging their lifespan.

Pro tip 2: You should never stand them up in a container or cup to dry. When you do this, it allows the moisture to leach or seep back into the wooden handle and loosens the glue. This could result in the warping or rotting of the wood handle. It can also initiate the splaying out of the bristles as well as drying in different shapes.


Recipe 1: How to Clean Makeup Brushes with Coconut Oil


Coconut oil appears to be used for almost everything these days: makeup remover, face masks, face moisturizer, and lately, makeup brush cleaner. Several benefits come with making use of coconut oil for cleaning makeup brushes naturally:

  • coconut oil is quick and easy to make or prepare,
  • it is relatively inexpensive,
  • coconut oil works as flawlessly as commercial cleaners,
  • it cleanses not only the makeup bristles but also keeps them soft,
  • coconut oil deep cleans the makeup brushes and also conditions the bristles accordingly,
  • it is the ideal ingredient for eliminating oil-based makeup from your brushes.


Things You Need:

• One part coconut oil,
• Water,
• A bowl with a mouth that is wide enough to accommodate all the makeup brushes,
• Two parts antibacterial soap.



Get the wide-mouthed bowl and add water to it. You can add up to two cups of water.

Next, add two parts of antiseptic liquid cleanser followed by 1 part coconut oil. This may translate to two tablespoons of antiseptic liquid soap and one tablespoon of coconut oil to the mixture.

Then stir the solution well so that all the ingredients mix well. After making sure that the mixture has combined uniformly, dip the bristles of all your makeup brushes into the solution. They should remain immersed in the coconut oil mixture for about two to three hours.

After this extensive period of soaking the bristles, take them out of the bowl and change the liquid content of the bowl by replacing the mixture with water. Once again, immerse the brushes into clean water and gently massage the bristles in the water.

Lastly, rinse the bristles under running tap water and wipe them dry using a towel or napkin. Arrange them on your dressing table so that they can get dry naturally during the night.


Recipe 2: Vinegar + Soap


Vinegar is an excellent and natural cleaner that is employed in cleaning a variety of objects, and your favorite makeup brushes happen to be included in this category. This sour-tasting liquid is also a natural deodorizer, so you don’t have to worry about your makeup tools smelling like vinegar, especially after they get dry.

You cannot only clean off makeup from your brushes, but you can also vinegar to disinfect them once the makeup has been removed.

Cleaning them with vinegar has lots of benefits for your makeup tools:

  • White vinegar/apple cider vinegar is a natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent that hinders the accumulation of fungus and bacteria,
  • Vinegar is a household product that is free of toxins, natural, easy to make, and readily available,
  • White vinegar/apple cider vinegar is an excellent cleansing agent for your hair, skin, and laundry. It works exceptionally well in cleaning the bristles,
  • Vinegar is a product that is mild and contributes to the maintenance of their shape without causing any form of breakage.


Things You Need:

  • One or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • One tablespoon of dishwashing soap
  • Three cups of hot or warm water
  • A glass-measuring cup



Get the measuring cup and add in two tablespoons of vinegar (apple cider vinegar) along with one tablespoon dishwashing soap. Fill up the measuring cup with hot or warm water and stir the mixture so that they are fully incorporated.

You can also make use of two parts vinegar to one part water if you don’t have enough dishwashing soap to spare.

You can clean them up in this mixture using two different methods:

  1. You can soak your brushes in the solution and leave them immersed for approximately ten minutes. Afterward, rinse each makeup brush well using clean, cold water. Make use of clean paper towels to wipe the brushes several times to get rid of excess water. Then lay them up on a layer or two of paper towel to air dry overnight.
  2. Alternatively, you can take and dip each makeup brush in the mixture and swirl them vigorously. Move the brush around until you can see that the bristles are clean and free of debris. Then remove them and rinse it in cold water.

Repeat the entire process with each one. Wash and rinse every makeup brush separately.

Next, make use of a paper towel or two to dab them. Make sure that you smooth out bent bristles of any makeup brush using your fingers. Then, arrange them on paper towels placed on your dressing table to air dry overnight.


Recipe 3: Clean and Sanitize Makeup Brushes with Alcohol


You can also disinfect them using alcohol. You can do this at least once every month, but if you are a makeup artist, you should clean and sanitize them after each use.

There are two methods you can follow when it comes to cleaning and sanitizing them. Each technique will be outlined accordingly.


Things You Need:

  • An empty spray bottle
  • Mineral water
  • Alcohol
  • A shallow bowl
  • Paper towels or tissue paper


Procedure 1:

Fill up the spray bottle with 30% alcohol and 70% water. Then spritz the paper towel or tissue paper and then take them up one at a time. Twirl each one using the tissue paper or paper towel until the bristles are clean and dirt-free. Then place them on dry paper towels to air dry.


Procedure 2:

Get the shallow bowl and pour in a little quantity of alcohol. The dish must not be too deep since you have no intention of dipping the whole brush into the alcohol.

Then, dip only the bristles into the bowl containing alcohol without allowing the barrel of the brush to get wet. The makeup residue comes off the brush without too much stress on your part. The alcohol may likely change color as a result of the makeup residue.

Wipe off the bristles on a towel after removing them from the bowl containing alcohol. Then, arrange them on paper towels to air dry overnight.


Wrapping Up

Cleaning your makeup brushes is not rocket science as outlined in the previous sections of this article. How frequently you clean them is up to you, though you will do well to follow the recommendations of experts in this matter.

You will no longer experience those inexplicable breakouts, and your makeup brushes will last longer than you envisaged as long as they are clean and well-kept.

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Passionate about everything that shines, settled down on UV(ultraviolet) lights. I'm motivated and with a mission to help people live a better life!

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