So Fresh and So Clean: The Easiest DIY Brush Cleaner

There is something so satisfying about getting all your makeup brushes and sponges super clean and back to their original, fluffy glory. It’s so important to clean your brushes (and often); not only will your makeup apply so much better with a clean brush, but your skin will thank you for it too. In order to prevent breakouts and uneven coverage (especially with foundation), I give my brushes a thorough wash at least once a week, and wash my beauty blender after each use or at the very most every two uses.

Anytime I’m traveling and am not able to wash my brushes within about a week, I notice significant changes in my skin and definitely break out. It’s now happily part of my #selfcaresunday routine and I love the way makeup goes on with a fresh brush! I’ve tried several store bought cleansers for my brushes, but ever since finding the viral-pin with this makeup brush DIY several years ago, I haven’t looked back! Unfortunately I don’t have the original source because I’ve seen this so many different places on Pinterest, but I wanted to share here too:

To get super clean, fluffy, like-new brushes, simply mix one part olive oil with one part dawn dish soap.

In a small dish, pour your olive oil and dawn dish soap in the 1:1 ratio. Instead of mixing together, simply dip one brush at a time into the mixture, so you can easily control how much soap and oil are on each brush. This is helpful if you have a highly pigmented brush (like for bronzer or a bold brush), so you can put a little more soap than oil to get the color fully washed out. The dawn dish soap is a powerful degreaser that will get any product out of your brush, while the olive oil conditions the fibers to leave your brush clean and soft.

Only a small amount of your cleanser mixture is needed per brush. Using your fingers or a textured brush cleaning pad, distribute the mixture completely through your brush (like you would wash your hair!). You will be able to see the bubbles working out the product from your brush – simply rinse with lukewarm water and repeat if needed until your brush and water is rinsing completely clean.

Lay your clean brush on a dish towel/highly absorbent towel to dry. For beauty blenders and sponges, I have used the beauty blender liquid soap (found here). This cleanser is $18, and IMO has not been worth the money and is underwhelming. It takes multiple pea-size applications of washing and rinsing to even get the blender clean of product, and doesn’t have a super appealing smell. Because I bought the full size bottle, I’m sticking to using this until it runs out, but I definitely have another product that I like way more, and is also much more affordable and multi-use.

For beauty blenders and sponges, I love using Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap!

Screen shot 2018-11-06 at 4.55.55 PM

This is a great natural option for a lower price point than the BB cleanser, and works so well at completely cleaning your blenders. I love the lavender scent, however you could use any of these (the unscented would be a great option for blenders, or tea tree for acne-prone skin!). Ranging from around $7 for 8oz to large 32 oz. bottles for around $16, it’s a great simple option that feels a lot more practical than the designated BB cleanser. Most Target’s do stock this soap in the natural-beauty section, as well as Ulta, Amazon, and most drugstores. Because the olive oil in the mixture above conditions brush fibers, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend using Dr. Bronners for makeup brushes because the fibers may get dry. However, for sponges, it truly is the perfect soap.

Make sure to leave all of your brushes and sponges out to dry in a ventilated place until they are completely dry. I like to shape my brushes back to their original shape using the towel, and move them around after an hour or two to make sure all sides are dry.

Do you use this method to clean your brushes or have another DIY way you like? Leave a comment below to let me know your favorite way!



Published by Kristen Harbin Design

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2 thoughts on “So Fresh and So Clean: The Easiest DIY Brush Cleaner

  1. Love this post! I’ve been looking for a cleaner for my makeup brushes. How long would you say this typically takes to do?


    1. Thanks so much! It really doesn’t take long at all – like 30 seconds a brush max to get all of the product out and rinse clean! Probably an hour or two to dry out completely, so it’s perfect to do on no makeup days or where you know you won’t need your brushes for the afternoon.

      Good luck let me know how you like it! 🙂


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