- Insider’s Caroline Aghajanian is testing three DIY makeup brush cleaning solutions.
- Many people claim that dish soap with extra virgin olive oil leaves their brushes clean and soft.
- Ingredients like white vinegar and apple cider vinegar can help disinfect the makeup brushes.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Following is a transcript of the video.
Caroline Aghajanian: I tested three methods for cleaning your makeup brushes using just household items and had a lot of really great results. I’m going to run through each quickly so you can neurotically clean your belongings like I’ve been doing.
The first method is washing with extra-virgin olive oil and dish soap, which I saw from this YouTube video by Nicole Guerriero. I used Dawn because that’s what I had opened, but any brand would work, and if it’s antibacterial, that’s better. I will be washing my liquid-foundation brush that I use every single day, so this one is pretty gunky. I’m also trying this with two of my eye-shadow brushes and a mini beauty blender. First you pour the dish soap and olive oil onto a plate. You wet your brushes, then swirl the brushes into the mixture. You swirl it on the palm of your hand, but I saved that part until I was by my sink to avoid a mess. I swirled each brush for a few seconds. Pretty easy. The eye-shadow brushes definitely had the most residue come off, and the beauty blender was kind of annoying to grip. Then I rinsed them for a few minutes until all the soap was gone. I made sure I washed my brushes pointed down. If you wash the brushes pointed up towards the water, you risk getting water into the handle and loosening up the glue that keeps the bristles together. Dish soap, especially if antibacterial, helps get a lot of the product off. The extra-virgin olive oil can help break down the makeup and will also moisturize the bristles so they don’t dry out. I did have to add more dish soap on my foundation brush and the beauty blender to get all the makeup off. Once the water ran clear, I placed them on a white paper towel to dry overnight.
And there you go. Pretty clean. The bristles still felt the same as before. Not overly hydrated, but still very soft. There was a section of the beauty blender that was still a little dirty though, but maybe it’s just time to replace that one.
The second method is washing the brushes with white vinegar, hot water, and, again, dish soap, which I saw YouTuber Kayleigh Noelle recommend. I will be washing my bronzer brush, which is super thick and absorbs a lot of product. This brush always takes me the longest to wash. And, again, another eye-shadow brush and another mini beauty blender. You can use a glass jar or a regular glass cup like I did. You pour a cup of hot water, a tablespoon of dish soap, and a tablespoon of white vinegar. Then you dip your brushes into the mixture. That’s a technique I’ve never tried before. Obviously, I didn’t think of the buoyancy force of the water with the sponge, so I had to dip the beauty blenders so they could really soak up the water. But I instantly saw the water change color, and in just a few seconds, my brushes started to look a lot cleaner. White vinegar is a natural cleaning product and disinfectant. It can also be very strong, so it’s important to dilute it. After 20 minutes, I rinsed it off, and, wow, was this a breeze! The makeup washed off so fast, which is great because I didn’t have to use a lot of water. And, again, I placed them down flat on a white paper towel to dry overnight.
And here they are, perfectly clean. I was concerned the brushes would still smell like vinegar, but once the brushes dried, the strong smell went away. Texture-wise, both this method and the one with olive oil left my brushes feeling the same. Next time I will probably use a wider cup or jar so I don’t get the handle in the mixture.
Another way to clean the brushes is with a gentle shampoo, like baby shampoo or castile soap. You’re also going to need apple cider vinegar. I’ll be washing my concealer brush with this method, my sister’s bronzer brush, another eye-shadow brush, and another mini beauty blender. I used castile soap because I had that on hand. I poured a little bit on the brush and massaged it with my fingers. I lathered, rinsed, and repeated about four times for the larger brushes until the brushes were clean. This method requires a bit more work, but it’s the technique that I’m most familiar with, so I didn’t mind. Then, in a small bowl, pour 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons of water and swirl the brush in there to disinfect. Then rinse that off and let it dry.
And voilà! The castile soap with apple cider vinegar really got the brushes super clean, and the soap really helped the brushes smell the best out of the three options.
I’m happy to report that all of these methods do in fact work, so give them a try the next time you have to wash your makeup brushes. I used a bunch of the brushes when I applied makeup, and they felt good as new. The second method definitely takes the least amount of work when it comes to physically cleaning the brushes with your hands and saving some water, so that’s a plus. And for that, the second method would have to be my favorite. Let me know in the comments if there’s a method you prefer, and other methods you use to clean makeup brushes.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in April 2020.
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