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6 Unconventional Household Items That I Use To Keep My Makeup Brushes Squeaky Clean

Here are some of my favorite household items to wash my brushes with that you may be ale to find in your own home...

Beauty & Fashion

I’ll be the first person to admit that makeup is an essential part of my life. Over the years of being a beauty consultant and just a beauty enthusiast in general, makeup has become a non-guilty pleasure for me. In addition to just being generally obsessed with makeup, I’ve become obsessed with practicing safe practices when it comes to makeup including washing a million and one makeup brushes 1 day out of the week.


When I first started getting into makeup, I didn't quite understand the importance of washing brushes. Now that I think about it, it never really crossed my mind to wash brushes as often as I do now. I thought since I was the only one using my brushes that I wouldn't put my skin at risk from using my own unwashed brushes until the bristles fell off.

And I was completely wrong!

After 4 years in the cosmetic industry and 100’s of training sessions, I understood why keeping my own brushes at home clean is just important as any makeup artist keeping their brushes that they use on clients clean. I now make sure my brushes are washed at least once a week.

Whether synthetic or natural fibers, makeup brushes hold many things that can be very detrimental to the health of your skin such as dirt and debris, oil, bacteria, dead skin cells and old makeup. Though I dread wash day for my makeup brushes just as much (or even more) than wash day for my natural hair, my canvas will not be destroyed due to my laziness.

Aside from mustering up the energy to wash my brushes, I’ve also struggled with what to wash them with. I’ve bought one too many expensive luxury brush “cleaners” that have not quite done the job so out of pure curiosity, I’ve resorted to things around my house. To no surprise, the things that I have trusted for years for other uses really did the trick for effortlessly getting my brushes squeaky clean for a fraction of the price.

Here are some of my favorite household items to wash my brushes with that you may be ale to find in your own home.

Cheap Clarifying Conditioner

Cheap clarifying conditioners such as V05 have been a personal favorite of mine to co-wash my hair with.  Though it’s meant to “clarify” the hair of dirt and oil and such it also doesn't strip the hair and make it brittle. The same goes for makeup brushes, specifically natural fiber brushes. Your brushes will feel really clean, soft and smell lovely.

Olive Oil

Though olive oil isn’t the cheapest oil in world, it works wonders for a deeper clean of brushes. Specifically, I love using olive oil to clean stubborn synthetic brushes such as foundation brushes. The oil breaks up the makeup really well but I still follow up with a soap just to get rid of the oil residue. Better safe than sorry.

Free Facial Soap Samples

While I jump for joy to try new makeup, I’m very picky when it comes to trying out new skincare. I often have samples of facial soap piled up somewhere in my house but instead of just letting them collect dust I use them to clean my makeup brushes.

Bar Soap

When I have bar soap around the house, it’s usually something that is gentle and doesn't strip the skin of oil and is fragrance-free or lightly fragrance. This works perfectly to clean makeup brushes because it gently breaks down the dirt and oil in your brushes without damaging them.

Hand Soap

I always rack up of the Soft Soap liquid hand soaps when they are on sale at Target, partly because I’m one of those people who wash their hands a lot and they work wonders to clean makeup brushes. They don't get super sudsy where it hard to remove the soap and as with the other household items here, it’s mild enough to wash your brushes without damaging them.

Mild Baby Shampoo

My philosophy is “if it can be used on a baby, it can’t be but so harmful” and it surely checks out when it comes to using it on makeup brushes. It breaks down the makeup very well and with very little effort.

Dish Detergent

This one may alarm you but it honestly is one of my faves. The reason why I even decided to try it is because dish detergent breaks down all sorts of grease, grit and grime on our dishes, so how could it not do the same for makeup brushes? If you're concerned that you’d break out from using brushes washed with dish washing detergent, I can tell you from my own experience that is probably the least of your worries.

These unconventional items have worked wonders for me.  Why go out and spend money that you don’t really need to when you have things right in the house that will clean your brushes just as well for a fraction of the price?

What are some “unconventional” household items that you use to get your makeup brushes clean?

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