Spring Cleaning: How I Wash My Brushes

It’s officially the first week of Spring!  I toyed with the idea of doing a Spring cleaning makeup purging entry… but I’m just not mentally up for sorting through my stash yet.  So instead, I’ll show you how I clean my makeup brushes.

My method has developed over time.  For years I simply washed my brushes with baby shampoo, laid them out on a towel and called it a day.  But as more tools became available, I was able to improve my method and set up.

All them dirty brushes!

I wash (or sometimes referred to as “deep clean”) my brushes regularly – my eye makeup and foundation brushes are typically used only once and then set aside for cleaning.  My sponges are also used just once and usually washed that very morning – I don’t like to let foundation dry inside the sponge which can permanently stain it.  This may seem excessive but I don’t want to risk bacteria build-up which can cause cross contamination between my brushes, my makeup and my face.

I switched out the flip cap with a pump for ease of use.

My primary cleaning agent remains Johnson’s Head-to-Toe Baby Wash – it’s mild, effective, rinses clean, and inexpensive.  I’ve tried using regular hair shampoo, hand soap, Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap, and dish washing liquid with varying degrees of success.  My least favourite cleaning agent was Dr. Bronner’s soap, which left a gummy residue on my synthetic brushes, while making my natural-haired bristle brushes dry and frizzy.  Sometimes I will add a drop of dish washing liquid (Dawn is my preference) to wash synthetic foundation brushes that have been soiled with longwearing foundations.  I don’t like using the spray type brush cleaners for spot cleaning – I find them to be drying, since most are alcohol-based which allow brushes to be disinfected and dried in quick succession – a necessity for makeup artists but not for me.
I recently discovered the Koren Zander Brush Soaps (he is of Enkore Makeup fame – so sad he no longer makes videos) and they’re great.  Housed in a travel case, the soap (which is imprinted with Enkore’s logo but it wears off with use) has a loofah embedded into the base to help loosen residue from the bristles.  The soap leaves my brushes feeling clean, yet soft and conditioned.  I especially like using these soaps for natural-haired brushes.  I have 2 scents so far: Pearberry and Cantaloupe – and they smell delicious.

Remember all the hoopla over the silly, overpriced $39 Sigma Brush Cleaning glove?  Here’s my solution:
I just wear a regular dish washing glove and place a plastic deep brush cleaner (cost me $1!  Available from art supply stores) on my palm.  For larger brushes and stubborn foundation, I use this silicone cellulite massager, which I purchased specifically to wash brushes:

Personally, I don’t think this tool would help with cellulite.

Cost me $6 from Winners (Canadian version of TJMAxx) and the ridges help to loosen makeup residue from the bristles without damaging them.
Washing is pretty straight forward: I wet my brush with warm water, put on a dab of the cleanser or swirl in the soap, run it back and forth against the numbs of the plastic brush cleaner to loosen makeup, and then rinse thoroughly.  That’s it!  I accumulate around 60 brushes before I wash a batch of brushes so it takes about 30 minutes from start to finish to wash them all.

After washing, I need to ensure my brushes are dried properly – stay tuned for my “How I dry my brushes” post, coming up tomorrow!

How do you wash your brushes?

16 thoughts on “Spring Cleaning: How I Wash My Brushes

  1. I am so lazy, I just use whatever hand soap I have on the counter at the time! (Right now, it’s Avalon Naturals lemon hand soap.) I am going to have to check out those brush soaps. I love that they look like shave soaps in their little dishes!

    Seriously drooling at your brush collection 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I use Johnson’s baby shampoo (simply because I buy it for my kids anyway), and it keeps my brushes clean and soft. I haven’t tried any other method.
    I actually enjoy washing my brushes, but I’m sure I wouldn’t feel the same way if I had as many brushes as you! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do you need the Sigma glove? NO!
      But if you can find something with a ridged surface that will help to loosen the makeup, yes, I do think it helps to speed up the washing.
      Haha, we should compare notes on our posting schedules so we’re not duplicating our topics! lol


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