Cleaning Make-up Brushes - This Works For Me

It's that time of month. Brush cleaning time. Above: my make-up brushes.

You may very well be far better at this than I am. You probably clean your make-up brushes every week. Feel free to scoff at me. I don't mind admitting I'm a bit lazy about cleaning my brushes.

Ok I confess.

I'm even lazier than that.

It's not monthly, but more like once a season that I get around to cleaning my brushes.

The Method - Is it Madness?

There are many different brush cleansing methods, and there might be smarter, faster and more efficient ways of doing this, but this particular method has worked for me an entire lifetime. It is equally efficient on natural bristles and synthetic bristles – my brush collection is a mix of both.

Some of these brushes are over 25 years old. None of them are showing even the slightest inclination of loosing bristles, becoming too stiff for comfort, or doing anything but what they are supposed to do: function perfectly.

Here's my brush cleansing method


  • an old clean towel
  • a bar of pure, unscented soap (this one is coconut based)
  • water
  • palms of hands 

We start at the sink by wetting the brushes. (I often pair up 2 similar sized brushes and do double duty)

Draw the brushes gently across the soap and gather some lather.

Lather up in the palm of hand. Draw tiny figure 8's in your palm to get the lather worked in everywhere.

Rinse thoroughly. Repeat lathering and rinsing until there is no trace of color left in the lather.

Shake out the water and dry the brushes gently on a clean dry towel, shape the bristles and leave to dry.

Depending on the size and shape of the brush, I will leave it either flat on the towel, or standing in my brush holder.

This batch of brushes took about 30 minutes to clean and reshape. They will be fully dry and ready for action within the next 24 hours.

Do Tell

Do you have a big collection of brushes? How do you cleanse yours? 


Beth said…
Hi Lisa!

What works GREAT for me, to do once a week is simply to clean them in Isopropyl alcohol. You can put some of the alcohol in a small bowl, dip the brush and wipe it clean on a tissue. It dissolves the make-up very easily and brushes come out clean and germ free. ;)
LisaLise said…
Beth - great tip! Do your brushes last long?
Beth said…
Hi yes! I am a make-up artist, and my kit's brushes get cleaned this way twice a day. I have had my brushes for 6 years and they are still going strong :)
Oh yes, they are also dry and usable withing 15 minutes. :D
LisaLise said…
Love it!! Would you mind mailing me? I'd love to hear more about this and your work - you are obviously a brush cleansing expert! My mail is on the sidebar- :)
Anonymous said…
That is how I clean my brushes also. 😀. Sometimes I add a vinegar rinse then clean water rinse again but mostly I am in a hurry and skip that. JNC
LisaLise said…
Hi JNC - Thanks for this input - I've heard of the vinegar rinse as well, but never tried it.
Rikke said…
Det sker kun et par gange om året her. Og tro mig - så træger de altså også pinligt krummetæeragtigt meget.

Kh Rikke
LisaLise said…
Hej Rikke -Det er absolut ikke det værste jeg har hørt. En af mine venner fortalt mig at hun havde ALDRIG har renset en eneste børste.
Lynn Turner said…
Fantastic method. I am going to follow it. Tomorrow is my cleaning day and washing my brushes is already added in my "to do" list. Best regards!
LisaLise said…
you're welcome Lynn!