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How I Deep Clean Makeup Brushes ~ Step-by-Step Photos

On Saturday, I deep cleaned some of my makeup brushes that I use often, and decided to clickety-click the whole process. It's a basic thing, but I hope you pick up some tips at least.

What is deep clean? It is basically washing your brushes thoroughly with soap & water, not a brush cleanser.

  • Things needed ~ A shallow soap dish, water & a baby shampoo. I use Garnier Fructis Strawberry Kids Shampoo right now. I also use Johnson's Baby Shampoo.
  • Washing ~ Squirt some shampoo in the water OR on the side of the dish. In the 2nd photo, I washed the dense foundation directly in the soapy water, so the insides will also get cleaned easily. With less dense brushes & eye brushes I either clean the using the palm of my hand or the side of the dish. *Tip: if you don't want to run to the bathroom every time to change the water, have a glass of clean water next to you. Soak the dirty water with tissue or towel and change the water when needed.
Avoid splaying the brushes while washing, because it will ruin the shape of your brushes eventually. Instead move them from side to side like you would when painting.

  • Rinsing ~  While rinsing brushes under running water, always hold the brush almost vertically down, so the water doesn't seep into the ferrule and loosen the bristles. Use your fingers to get in the middle, just like how you'd wash your hair when your head is flipped upside down. Squeeze & shake off excess water before drying them.

  • Reshaping ~ It's very important to reshape your brushes before drying them. Imagine not combing your wavy hair while it's wet after shampooing. How will it look when dry? Yeah, same thing with brushes. Look at the eye brush up there (L), had I not wet it once again & reshaped it (R), it would have stayed that way and been an incompetent crease/blending brush. With the kabuki brush in the pic, I made sure the brush hairs and straight.
  • Drying ~ I use a chopping board, placed in a slanting position by putting something hard under it on one side (here- wooden coaster holder, but you could use a heavy book too.) Place an old towel- preferably a dark color, because most brushes bleed while drying. Fold kitchen/paper towel into half vertically and place it on top of the towel as shown, then place the reshaped brushes facing downwards. This will prevent the left-over excess water from seeping into the ferrule. Lastly, I like to lightly spritz some alcohol-based brush cleanser on the brushes to prevent bacteria from settling on them while they're drying. It's like a toner for the face hehe.
*[Dual-ended brushes, like my Inglot 24SS, are dried straight.]

Done! That's all I do. Basically, just good old baby shampoo and water.

  • Dip brushes in a deep bowl full of water. The water will reach inside the ferrule loosening the glue that holds the bristles. Use a plate or anything shallow instead.
  • Pull at the bristles when your squeezing excess water.
  • Use newspaper instead of paper towel to dry your brushes. Newspapers are not very clean, it's unhygienic.
  • Dry the brushes in brush holders, with bristles pointing upwards. This reminds me of an alcoholic- just drink & drink, not knowing what it doing to the insides.
How to clean waterproof gel liner brushes? Just use some kind of oil to loosen the product before washing- olive oil, cleansing, or an oil-based makeup remover.

How often should brushes be washed (personal use)?
Foundation brushes- Ideally, every other day (alternate days). When I'm lazy, I wash them once in 2-3 weeks & I use sponges or fingers in between.
Eye brushes- Once a month is okay OR when they're very dirty. Most times, I wipe them on tissue paper to remove previous eyeshadows, so I get to use them for up to 2 weeks before I have to wash them.
A brush cleanser comes in handy when you can't deep clean brushes frequently, especially foundation brushes, which collect a lot of bacteria.

Happy Monday everyone! I'm somewhat loving this Monday, seasons of my favorite shows! HIMYM, Desperate Housewives & Grey's Anatomy :))) Wheeee....!

P.S: If you spot some errors in the paras, it's only because I wrote it when I was very sleepy (plus writing long explanatory posts really bore me!) If so, I'll come back later to edit, like I have to do most times =D

♥ Cynthia Z ^.^


  1. I love how you deep cleaned your brushes! Will try this soon.

  2. Really nice informative post Cynthia!
    oyee do check out MAC lippie giveaway at my blog if you get time:)

  3. Thanks for the info Cynthia, I usually don't clean my face brushes until the end of the week, so I think I might use your trick of using sponges in between washes.

    Have you seen EnKoreMakeup's video on home made brush cleanser? You make it using ingredients commonly found in your home. I've been meaning to make it, but have been too lazy. And I also think regular ol baby shampoo and a bit of disinfectant does a good enough job. The links below in case you're interested ;)

  4. hey this is nice step wise tutorial. I love the way of cleaning makeup brushes.

    thanks for sharing!!

  5. nice post too waiting for desperate housewives...

  6. The best article on cleaning brushes !! ^_^

  7. Great post! I was thinking of washing my brush too but wasn't sure how :)

  8. Wow CZ same pinch I wrote exact same post about 10 days back!

  9. Fantastic post, Cynthia! Love the step-by-step photos. =D

  10. Though it is detailed it is not boring but very useful :)

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  12. I use Johnson's Baby Shampoo to clean mine. The bristles become softer and smell oh so nice! Best 15 bucks I ever spent! (rather than spending Rs. 800 on MAC's brush cleaner!)

  13. Useful post! I also clean my brushes with Johnson's baby shampoo xoxo

  14. Deeptima- Aww...really?! Thank you :))


  15. AB- Thanks for sharing. I will check it out sometime

    Sheyata- Thanks...glad u liked



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