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DIY: Makeup Brush Cleaners

Article and Photos By Madison DeHaven

We all know that cleaning your makeup brushes is essential to a healthy skincare routine. Leftover makeup and oil from your face on your brushes can lead to breakouts and irritation.

Despite knowing this and having troublesome skin to start with, to me, this task always seemed too daunting to deal with. So in an effort to up my skincare game, I researched a few methods that don’t require purchasing another product.

Most of these solutions can be made with common household materials, including: apple cider vinegar, olive oil, dish soap and baking soda.  Using a few old brushes in desperate need of cleaning, I experimented with different mixtures to see how they worked out.

1 - Before


Dish Soap + Olive Oil

  1. This DIY mixture from Pretty Gossip will cleanse and soften your makeup brushes using dish soap (or baby shampoo) and olive oil.

Dish Soap + Apple Cider Vinegar

  1. This recipe from Vinegar Tips is similar to the one above. Instead of olive oil, a small amount of vinegar is mixed with an equal amount of dish soap and mixed in warm water.

Baking Soda

  1. This article from Beauty Flawed suggests using baking soda for a deeper cleanse. I was a little hesitant to use baking soda on my brushes, so I picked an old one that really needs to be thrown away (note: it’s missing a handle).

2 - soaking brushes

Phase 2: Soaking.

The Beauty Flawed article also included a technique for drying brushes. After rinsing them, I patted my brushes dry on a washcloth and followed the article’s instructions:

  1. Roll a piece of paper towel around the brush ends so the bristles aren’t flattened. Then place them brush-end down in a container with a paper towel at the bottom to remove excess water. Drying takes a little longer, so don’t plan on using your brushes right after cleaning them.

3 - drying brushes

Phase 3: Drying.

Use caution when experimenting with makeup brush cleansers. If you have allergies or particularly sensitive skin, a store-bought cleanser may be better suited to you than a DIY cleanser. Using gentle, mild soaps and avoiding sulfates may also be safer for your skin as well as your beauty tools.

Personally, I found that the mixtures with dish soap removed the most pigment from my brushes. I used plain dish soap to clean my sponges, and that worked great. However, I think the apple cider vinegar worked just fine on my brushes and carries less of a risk for irritation. The olive oil definitely softened the bristles, and baking soda actually worked really well as a deep cleaning agent.

4 - After pic


What do you think of DIY cleansers compared to store-bought? Have any of these recipes worked for your beauty routine?


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