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Want to be able to clean your makeup brushes without the use of chemicals? With these DIY makeup brush cleaner recipes and tools, you may already have everything you need at home to make your makeup applicators look as good as new.
DIY Makeup Brush Cleaner Method
The goal of these recipes and techniques is to remove stubborn liquid and powder makeup products off of brushes and sponges using ingredients you may already have.
These methods are meant to save you time, money, and energy. They will sterilize your tools, gently remove stains, and allow you to go back to creating stunning makeup creations.
DIY Makeup Brush Cleaner Recipes
2 Ingredient Makeup Brush Cleaner
- 2 Tbsp toxin-free dish soap (I like Seventh Generation)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
Stir the mixture and swirl a single brush at a time into the cleaner. Allow it to sit for a few seconds so the oil can break down the product. Place the dirty brush onto a towel until all makeup tools have gone for a swim in the cleaner.
Then rinse all tools under warm (not hot) water to remove makeup buildup and cleaning solution. Layout out freshly washed makeup brushes on a clean towel.
Conditioning Cleaner (1 ingredient!)
- 3 Tbsp of an all-natural hair conditioner
- 3 Cups of hot water
This recipe is ideal for eyeshadow brushes and removing powder products. For liquid brushes, a recipe that contains oil (like the first recipe listed) can be more effective.
Tea Tree Makeup Brush Cleanser
If you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, this is the cleanser you want to use on your brushes.
Tea tree is a dream ingredient for cleansing sensitive items like makeup applicators that touch your skin. This powerful essential oil is used in all sorts of natural cleaning products due to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antifungal properties.
- 1 ½ cup distilled water
- 2 Tbsp vodka or rubbing alcohol or Witch Hazel
- ½tsp olive oil
- 2 tsp natural antibacterial dish soap or body soap (I like tea tree body soap)
- 15 drops tea tree essential oil
- 8 oz spray bottle
If you give this one a shot, it is going to be your go-to DIY Makeup Brush Cleaner and will last you a couple uses.
Combine ingredients until mixed thoroughly. Pour into a smaller bowl to dip brushes individually. Store the remaining amount somewhere that doesn’t get direct sunlight. For convenient application to brushes, pour the solution into a spray bottle.
Gentle Makeup Brush Cleanser For Luxury Applicators and Sponges
Some brushes require a sensitive touch when cleaning. This recipe uses gentle, chemical-free options that won’t jeopardize your fanciest makeup tools.
- 1/2 cup witch hazel
- 2 tsp organic cleanser for babies
- 1 tsp skin-nourishing oil like almond or olive oil
- 1 cup distilled water
As with the others, mix, mix, mix, dip your makeup brush or sponge using your fingers to squeeze product off and out of it, rinse, and repeat. Store leftover cleaning solution in a mason jar in the fridge.
Household Items That Can Clean Your Makeup Brushes
If you need something fast and don’t have time to commit to creating a DIY makeup brush cleaner, grab any of these items around the house to give your makeup gear a quick scrub.
- Vinegar and lemon. Swirl your brush in it for a solid minute and rinse with warm water
- Natural shampoo, dish soap, or laundry detergent. Makeup build-up doesn’t stand a chance to these concentrated cleansers
- Oil. Particularly olive, almond, jojoba, avocado, or any oil besides canola and sunflower break down makeup on brushes easily.
- Apple cider vinegar. It might not be pleasant to smell but this gives makeup tools a detox from grime, germs, and stains. Just be sure to dilute it with a little warm water and rinse the brushes and sponges thoroughly so they don’t smell like ACV.
Makeup Brush Cleaning Tips
Now that your brushes are clean, sanitized, and stain-free, here are a few tips that make the final stages of drying and storing more manageable.
Tip #1 Squeeze out all brushes while rinsing underarm water. Then squeeze them all again after they’ve set to dry.
Tip #2 Use a thin hair tie to bundle brushes and keep them from rolling off the countertop.
Tip #3 To dry the brushes that you’ve bundled with a hair tie even faster, dangle them upside down to drip dry. You don’t want your brushes to sit upside down in a cup or bowl. This will result in the reabsorption of anything that comes off.
Tip #4 Well, this more like what not to do. Avoid using a blow dryer. This will make your bristles weak and overly dry causing strands to fall out and could apply your makeup differently.
Tip #5 Wash your brushes once a week. Waiting too long can result in a bacterial buildup that causes your skin to reactive negatively. If you’ve been getting random breakouts--your brushes may be to blame!
Tip #6 If your brushes aren’t drying on a clean towel, always prop the bristle side down. If the bristles are up the water can affect the adhesive that keeps your brushes together.
Tip #7 Know when to let go. If you’ve shown a particular brush too much love and it’s started to shed, stain, and fall apart--it might be time to let it go.
When it comes time to let go of one of my fluffy favorites, I turn to my Essential Makeup Brush Guide for a reliable replacement.