Monday, November 4, 2013

Makeup Monday: DIY Makeup Brush Cleaner

So, I am a little embarassed to post this, but I only started washing my make-up brushes, like, a month ago.


I guess I always subconsciously thought they were self-cleaning or something? I don't know. Please try not to judge me too harshly. Trust me. I'm judging myself enough for the both of us. I now know that it's gross and probably the reason for at least part of the skin issues I've always had. 

Seriously. I've been putting makeup on for the past, I don't know, 15 years and it never occurred to me to wash my brushes?! In an attempt to try to take better care of the things I spend my hard-earned money on and keep my skin in check, I've started a strict brush washing regiment.

Now, you're probably hip to all this makeup brush business, but in case you're not or you are looking for a cheap alternative to your store bought cleaner,  here is a really simple and thrifty DIY makeup brush cleaner that you can make right now with stuff you already have in your cabinets. 

Makeup Brush Cleaner
1 part regular dish soap (I've only used Dawn, but I suspect whatever you have on hand will be fine) 
1 part distilled white vinegar (I bought the cheapo off brand at Walgreens) 
4 parts warm water 

Get all of your ingredients together, along with your makeup brushes. Put all ingredients in a tall jar or cup that will allow you to dip your makeup brushes in but try to avoid submerging the handle. Water and germs can get into your handle and cause some serious bacteria problems. Also, if you have a metal shaft on your brushes, water could cause the metal to rust and the bristles to break and fall out.

All you need. Simple, right? 

Pour all your ingredients in the cup and swirl it together with you hand. I like to use a quarter cup of each ingredient and then a cup of warm water but that's just me. It's the perfect amount for my brushes to have plenty of water, but the brush handles aren't submerged. 

Swirl each brush individually or together in the cleaner, depending how dirty your brushes are. The first time I did this I gave each brush their own mix and probably dumped and refilled the cleaner three or four times per brush because the water was so dirty. This time, I made one batch and cleaned all the brushes in the above picture. 

Rinse each brush with warm water and then rinse with cold. As soon as the mix starts to look muddy or if the water has makeup residue during the rinse step, dump it out and make fresh. 

Once rinsed, squeeze or gently shake water out of brushes and reshape. Lay on the edge of your sink to air dry. 

The first time I did this I was a little concerned that the vinegar smell would linger after drying. But honestly, if you rinse the brushes well any residual vinegar smell seems to evaporate. In terms of regularity, I've been washing my brushes once a week. After Halloween I had to do a supplemental washing because of all the black eyeshadow I used for my ghost costume, but other than the occasional costume or theater production, I don't get too crazy with my makeup. Once a week washing should do it for me most of the time. 

Once brushes are completely dry, store them upright in a pretty cup or holder. The point of this is to keep any loose makeup or germs that could be floating around your makeup bag or drawer from getting on your newly clean tools. Plus, won't they look pretty sitting on your sink or dressing table? Yeah, I thought so, too. 

These are some vintage cups from the thrift store. 
It should be said that this is the only at home makeup brush cleaner I've ever made or used, so it may not work for everyone or be the best out there. I've heard some people use a mix of baby shampoo, water and rubbing alcohol. Others also use hair conditioner or oil on their brushes. I probably wouldn't do that, purely based on my aforementioned skin problems, but hey, it might work for some people! For me, this is merely the first of probably many important steps toward a better skin routine and better care of my tools. If there is a brush cleaner (DIY or store bought) that I absolutely need to know about, do tell! I would love to give it a try! 


  1. Seriously, I just use baby shampoo for my theater makeup brushes. :) And alcohol if it's really sticking.

    1. I just bought some baby shampoo to give it a try! Thanks for the tip about the alcohol! Just rubbing alcohol, then!?


2013 2014 2015 2016 31 day 31 Days 90's Anderson Farms anniversary antique apples art art shows babies back to school Barking Mad Arts baths Best Of Birthday black & white bloggers blogging Book Club book recommendations books bucket list Buffy the Vampire Slayer calender cats children Christmas Cindy Lesman Cinevore clothing clothing exchange Color Crush Colorado Colorado Floods comics Consignment cookie corn maze costuming covergirl crafts date night daytrip decor Destree's Doodles Disney DIY dog Dr. Who elf Fall family fantasy fashion fiction film Film Fashion films flowers friday favorites garden Gilmore Girls Girls Night In Girls Night Out Goals Goodreads Goodwill Gourmet Supper Club Greeley grief Halloween hats hitchcock holidays homewares horror hosting Illustrations illustrators Indie Winter Arts Market inspiration James Hopkins JCP Joshua Hoffine Joss Whedon journal kids kiss Lauren Zurchin Leading up to 30 lists Love Letter to a Song makeup mantle marriage memorial day memories mixtape Modcloth monday motivation Motivational Monday movies Munchy Monday music nails nerd New Girl New Years October Old Navy OOTD organization Outfit of the Day pantone parties photo an hour photos pictures podcasts polyvore Primark Project Selfie pumpkin carving pumpkins Pushing Daisies recipe recipes redrum Renaissance Festival Rob Walker rum running Saint Patrick's Day salted caramel Salvation Army Say Anything scary scunci Selfie short stories small business Saturday snow soup Spa Treatments Spotify spring Star Wars stationary steampunk Style Lend styling summer tags Target Thanksgiving theater Thoughtful Thursday Thrift thriftchallenge2016 thrifting Thrifting Thursday Thrifting Wishlist top 5 travel tv vacation Valentine's Day Victorian Cut-out Theater video games vine vintage Vinted Walgreens watercolor Weekend Wrap-up Weld County wine Winter Wordless writing yard sale youtube