4 natural ways to clean your make-up brushes

From eating right, drinking plenty of water and getting a good night’s sleep, we make sure we're doing the right things to ensure glowing, healthy-looking skin.

However, there is one thing that most of us overlook - cleaning our make-up brushes.

All the meticulous skin care routines don’t mean much if you’re applying make-up with brushes covered in bacteria.

Unwashed, dirty tools can harbour all sorts of stuff, from toxins in sweat and bacteria to oil, dirt, grime, dead skin cells, old make-up residue, germs and more.

If you have tried it all but still suffer from skin complaints, those brushes could very well be the root of your problem.

So, how often should you clean them? Well, it really depends on the brush.

For brushes used on liquid cosmetics, such as foundation, concealer and cream eyeshadows, they should be cleaned every day. All other brushes should be cleaned at least once a week.

If you’re thinking about using a chemical cleaner, don’t. You shouldn’t want chemical compounds going directly onto your skin and into your pores. There are lots of natural but just as effective ways to clean your brushes. Gentle on the skin, non-toxic and even good for the environment.

1. Baby shampoo and water

Using baby shampoo also helps to condition the bristles of your make-up brushes while removing dirt and grime, and avoiding a stiff residue. It’s best used when you’re short on time or don’t have any hydrogen peroxide, as you won’t get the bacteria-killing benefits.


First, run your make-up brush bristles under lukewarm water, making sure to keep the bristles pointing downwards, while avoiding the area where the handle meets the head. Place just a small amount of baby shampoo into the palm of your hand and then swirl the bristles of the brush into the shampoo. Work out the dirt and oil, and then place the brush under lukewarm water again until it’s thoroughly clean. Squeeze out any excess water and lay out on a flat, clean towel to dry.

2. Coconut oil and dish soap

Coconut oil is a wonder product to have in your make-up bag! It can do a wonderous amount. It's also extremely effective at breaking down grime and dirt on your brushes. Its powerful anti-bacterial properties make it perfect for ensuring your brushes don’t get clogged up with acne-causing dirt. Mix it with a little bit of dish soap and a little warm water to make a thick lather which will pull the dirt out of the most stubborn of dirty brushes.

Clean as above.

3. Castille soap

Castille soap is another all-rounder. Natural and toxin-free, you can clean just about anything with it! You’ll also need a dry hand towel, a toilet paper roll (with toilet paper), and a flat place to lay your make-up brushes down to dry. The most effective and easiest way to do this is to clean each brush one at a time. Use the same water temperature that you’d use to wash your hair – not too hot or you could damage the bristles. Don’t scrub too hard, as the brushes are very fragile.

Pop some Castille soap onto your hand and wash as above.

4. Apple cider vinegar + liquid dish soap

For especially dirty brushes that are likely to have a build-up of bacteria, you may want to use this method. Apple cider vinegar can help kill potentially dangerous “bad” bacteria while helping to thoroughly clean brushes at the same time. First, combine a tablespoon of pure apple cider vinegar, a half-teaspoon of liquid dish soap and one cup of warm water in a glass. Place your brushes into the mixture and leave them to soak in order to break down the dirt and grime.


Afterwards, rinse out each brush well using cool water and then place them on a flat dry towel. It’s best to allow them to air dry overnight. 

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