Easy, Affordable, and a DIY Makeup Brush Cleansers (3 Options) + How To

Welcome back, or if your first time here, welcome to Makeup In Montana!

Today we’ll be tackling every makeup lovers least favorite thing – brush cleaning. The vast majority of us absolutely detest doing this, but it must be done. Makeup brushes harbor all of the bacteria and general ick that’s on our faces and eyes, so they need to be cleaned very often to reduce the chance of said bacteria and ick causing infections. Without further ado, let’s talk about some methods and products that you can use to clean those brushes!

Spot Cleaning  

If you’re anything like me, you let your brushes get shamefully filthy before washing them. Spot cleaning is what you can do to keep them from getting totally disgusting between deep cleans. I also use this method to clean my brushes between colors I’m using during makeup application, since it dries quickly due to the alcohol in most formulas.

My personal favorite spot cleanser is the Elf Cosmetics Daily Brush Cleanser.

elf daily brush cleanser.jpg ($3) 

Simply spray a bit onto the bristles of the dirty brush and rub into a washcloth, paper towel, etc. It’s that easy! Highly recommend doing this after each use of your brushes to prolong need to deep clean.

Deep Cleaning 

I would recommend doing a full on deep clean of your brushes once a week, but do it whenever you deem appropriate. There are so many different ways to clean your brushes, but I’ll share three of my favorite methods and products.

Biggest tip about this, no matter what method you’re using, do not get water into the ferrule (the metal part that attaches the bristles to the  handle). That is where the glue that holds everything together is, and if you get it wet and get product into it, the glue will weaken and the brush will fall apart.

#1 – Swirl + Sparkle Natural Solid Brush Cleanser 

swirl-and-sparkle (Sample size, $8) 

This is a solid, all natural soap that has little plastic ‘diamonds’ and other little odds and ends that help cleanse and scrub your brushes.

washing brush w sparkle and swirl.jpg

Basically, you get your brush wet and swirl it in the soap. There are tons of different beautiful designs and scents to choose from, and it’s a really simple and effective way to clean your brushes.

#2 – DIY Brush Shampoo.  

There are tons of different recipes online to make your own brush shampoo, but I’ll share the one I personally use.

I use only water, olive oil, and dish soap.

brush shampoo in cups.jpg

As for measurements, I just eyeball it, but I keep it to around 1 part olive oil, 1 part dish soap, and 2 parts water.


I transfer all of the ingredients into a spray bottle and shake it up, and you’re good to go.

washing brush w diy shampoo.jpg

Spray generously onto the bristles of the brush and clean under running water. You can get fancy and use a brush cleaning glove with grooves, but I’m lazy so I just rub it against my hand, and it works like a dream. Super affordable and super effective.

#3 – Bar Soap  

Yep, your standard bar of soap. I like to use Ivory, because it’s incredibly pure.

ivory soap.jpg

This is the same idea as the Swirl + Sparkle cleanser, where you just swirl your brush all over the bar in running water and continue doing so until the water runs clear. This is my preferred method of cleaning my beauty sponges as well.

brush with ivory bar.jpg

washing sponge with ivory 2.jpg

This is by far my favorite method of cleaning my brushes. It’s super easy, smells amazing and cleans my brushes and sponges flawlessly. Use whatever bar soap you like, but I do prefer Ivory, and it’s super affordable.  I have a demo using this method HERE on my Instagram.

After the brushes are clean, I just gently pinch out the extra water.

Once your brushes are actually their original color, they’re ready to dry. There are plenty of brush drying trees you can buy that will hang them upside to dry, but I personally just lay them all out on a towel in a safe place overnight and that typically does the trick.

dirty brushes.jpg (This was taken before they were washed, but you get the idea)

And that’s it, the secret to clean brushes. I hope this has been helpful for you, and if you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive email notifications of future posts.

As always,

thanks for stopping by!



*This post is NOT sponsored. All products purchased myself. No affiliate links used.



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