Two Simple and Inexpensive Ways to Clean Your Makeup Brushes

For 21 years, I have sinned against my pitiful, brittle, unconditioned and dirty drugstore brushes. 

I know, I know-I’m supposed to be a beauty blogger, right? Well, I see no point in lying to you. I barely have time to put on my face in the morning, much less clean the sticks that help me do it. Alas, I realize this can no longer continue-especially for someone like me, who has some problematic acne issues.

This is what my powder foundation brush looks like after three weeks without a wash:


I was originally taught to apply my base with a sponge. On occasion, I still do. Most makeup sponges are designed to be thrown away like cotton balls after each use, and with no brushes to maintain, the option does seem more appealing. The problem is one can rack up quite a bill buying sponges. Finger application is another alternative. When I forget to clean my makeup brushes, I use clean fingers to avoid reapplying bacteria to my skin; sometimes I use my fingers simply because it’s faster, and I can blend the makeup better that way.

In the winter, I wear more makeup, and more makeup means more dirty brushes. I can’t afford brush cleaners, but I can no longer afford not to clean them. So, I did some digging and found two popular methods for cleaning makeup brushes on a budget.

1. The Painter’s Method

I learned this method from YouTube beauty guru and mogul Michelle Phan; it follows the same model for cleaning paint brushes and requires two trusty kitchen staples.

The idea is to recondition the brushes with the oil while the dish soap simultaneously removes bacteria and grime. The measurements will change depending on how many brushes your cleaning, and it’s very easy to over oil your brushes. The first time I tried this method I used way too much oil and when I applied my powder foundation the next day, I put all that oil back on my face. I tried it again the correct way and it worked, it just took several long rinses to make sure the soap and oil had been removed.

  1. 1 plate
  2. 1 cup
  3. 1 sink
  4. 1/2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  5. 1/3 cup of Dish soap





2. The Baby Bottom Method

I discovered this method on one of my favorite beauty sites, Into The Gloss. In a post titled, How The Experts Clean Their Brushes, makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic (aka Kim Kardashian’s not-so-secret weapon) claims to use Johnson Baby Shampoo. I picked up this baby shampoo at CVS in a travel size bottle to try it out. I definitely prefer this method. It’s simpler, faster and less oily.

  1. 1 plate
  2. 1 cup
  3. 1 sink
  4. 1/3 cup of baby shampoo





Do you use another method? I’d love to hear about it! Tweet me a link with the hashtag #betweentheliner so I can check it out. 

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