November 10, 2009

Musings of the Day: How Do You Clean Your Brushes?

So…some people adore baby shampoo, some folk just like plain old water, some use whatever is handy in their showers.

What do YOU use to clean your brushes with?


Wanna Muse your cleaning methods?Β  Let’s have it.Β  What’s your secret to ultra clean brushes?

Jump ahead for my fav!

Without a doubt, no questions at all, MAC Brush Cleaner is my holy grail. First off it’s cheap as all hell, you get a ton of product for your price, and used concentrated it can pretty much get anything and everything out of brushes. Nasty liner? No problem, completely cleaned! Blush? Poof, gone! Hard to remove black eye shadow? Not a worry in the world MAC Brush Cleaner will get it out easy as 1, 2, 3!

You can use it by combing with water but I have LOTS of brushes so basically once every two weeks I dump an entire bottle into a large bowl and let my brushes soak in it for two hours. After that I swirl each brush in the solution and rinse out with lukewarm water.

Love, love this stuff. I used to use a Benefit Cleaner a while back ago and it was in no way as awesome as MAC plus it was about three times the price.

Best deal on the market in my humblest and works a treat at getting brushes crystal clean.

How about you?

What do you use to get those gross, icky brushes all clean and new again?

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Beth

    I keep meaning to check out the MAC brush cleaner but at the moment I use baby shampoo. It’s dirt cheap and as I tend to use my fingers to apply as much of my makeup as I can I don’t have many brushes to wash.


    • the Muse

      hey beth! I’m a finger girl too πŸ˜€ I tend to apply with my fingers too πŸ™‚

  • dangster

    I use Clinique Brush Cleaner. It’s cheaper per ounce than the other prestige brands ($13 for 8oz), and works pretty well for me. Also, when I buy 2 during a Clinique GWP, I get a pretty bag filled with new goodies to try out. I’m all about the bang for my buck πŸ™‚

    • the Muse

      hey dangster I believe mac is even cheaper hun! You should try but the GWP can’t be beat :0D

  • Elaina

    Doesn’t it cause the barrel to rust if you just dump your brushes into the sink with solution!? 0_O

    I use the mac brush cleanser too and it’s great! I dilute it by pouring half the amount into my previous brush cleanser bottle and then dilute it with bottled water. After every use, I spray some onto a tissue and wipe the brushes. Then once a month I clean them by pour a little bit of the cleanser into my palm and swirl the brushes around. Afterwards I clean with my spectro jel cleanser or baby shampoo to get the cleanser off. I make sure to always hold the brushes downward and never get water past the upper part of the barrel.

    It’s a little bit more time consuming, but I want my brushes to last as long as possible.

    • the Muse

      nope elaina never had a problem. It’s not the sink, it’s a bowl of warm water πŸ™‚ so far no problems with rust…some of my brushes are years old too πŸ˜€

      Yay another fond fan of MAC Cleanser πŸ˜€ it’s fab right? I normally use mac wipes between major cleaning and do one major clean every two weeks. I honestly never had a prob with rusty barrels, I don’t think you have to be that careful πŸ™‚

  • Cucumpear

    After every use I use wipes to get some of the product out on the brushes, and I clean them thoroughly every couple of weeks or so.
    I’ve used baby shampoo in the past, but found that it wasn’t very effective. So when I got more expensive brushes, I bought a bottle of Clinique’s brush cleanser. I love how the liner and foundation just runs out of the bristles. When I finish the bottle I’m planning to pick up some MAC, though, as everybody seems to be raving about it.
    I never clean all brushes at once. It just gets so tedious as the collection grows. To prevent water running into the ferrule I attach them upside down to my wall mirror (one of those scissor-type extending ones).

    • the Muse

      i do the same cucumpear! I wipe between major cleanings. I really want to try the clinique you’re the 2nd person to rave it πŸ˜€

      I agree it is tedious πŸ˜› it’s a pain in the butt! I have so many!

  • MC

    I’m sort of old fashioned: I use some face wash (Usually Philosophy Purity) and hand wash the bristles til the water runs clear then air dry my brushes. For a quick clean, I use Neutrogena Make Up remover towels.

    • the Muse

      hey mc I do the same, between uses I normally wipe down each brush on a wipe. I used to alot more diligent and wash them once a week but every two weeks seems reasonable plus seriously wiping them down daily with a wipe works a treat πŸ˜€

  • BeautyBitch

    I use a mild dish detergent or shampoo diluted in warm water and for heavy duty scuzz (foundation, concealer, liner and lip brushes) I treat them with cleansing oil first to cut through the grease and then wash again with detergent. I have a personal phobia of MAC brush cleanser just because it contains alcohol and I can imagine it drying out the brush bristles, but I know that it’s irrational because thousands of people use it all over the world with no problems!

    Do you really use an entire bottle every fortnight?? That means you get through 20+ bottles of brush cleaner a year??

    • the Muse

      hmm interesting bora…I never noticed that it dried out the brushes! But good point! LOL SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH if you say it LIKE that I start worrying about how much $$ I am spending on brush cleaner! LMAO!

  • Kay

    I’m cheap and ultra-paranoid about my breakout prone skin, so I tend to veer away from brush cleaners, because I feel like that’s a one-step thing. I tried the baby shampoo route but found it left behind a greasy residue, so now I just bottle a bit of my usual shampoo in a small pump container and rinse my brushes with that – afterward I wash again with my usual facial soap. I’m kind of afraid I’ll wear my brushes out doing this, but I only ever use my MAC 187 regularly so I’m hoping it’ll be okay…

    • the Muse

      Kay I think it’ll be fine. My brushes are all a ok after many washings πŸ˜€ so you should be fine!!!!!! πŸ˜€ between uses a mac wipe or facial wipe is always handy too!

  • Ashley

    I don’t like go out & buy make up brush cleaners because… I’m cheap 😑
    And the fact that I have shampoo that I don’t like using laying around waiting to be finished off. I use what ever shampoo I have & don’t use to clean my brushes. It’s not because the shampoo isn’t good, I just like the scent of it. I also use face wash because I have so many & so many DON’T work for me.. I don’t want it to go to waste! I think using face wash is much more brain friendly because.. if it’s okay for the face & you use brushes for the face.. why wouldn’t you use face wash to wash your made for face brushes? A tad confusing but it makes simple sense to me πŸ™‚
    Sorry for the long comment but it’s a rant/muse<3

    • the Muse

      lol ashley it’s ok to be cheap πŸ˜€ absolutely true on face wash why not!? πŸ˜€ Rant away or rave whichever I love hearing it all :)))))))))))))! I really need to try out baby shampoo as it seems to be the main choice for brush washin’!

  • MissTat

    Hi! I just use regular baby shampoo and warm water. For the natural ones I apply a tiny bit of hair conditioner to soften them up. And for the ones used with cream products ( foundation, concealer, etc) first I shake them around in a bag with cornstarch (works MAGIC in getting the gunk off!!!) and then I wash and disinfect them.

    • the Muse

      hi misstat!

      I never tried baby shampoo but I prob will one day πŸ˜€ interesting! cornstarch!? Really!? Will have to try that one πŸ˜€

  • Aretha

    I use johnson’s baby shampoo because i wash my brushes after every 1-2 uses. πŸ™‚ I havent tried the MAC brush cleanser but I think I will after reading your post hun! πŸ™‚

    • the Muse

      hey aretha! ;-D I never tried baby shampoo but always wanted to. Normally between uses I wipe on a mac makeup remover wipe and every two weeks or so I do a big clean of all my brushes πŸ˜€

      Try it, I think you’ll really like it plus it’s super cheaps!

  • Shay

    I use an anti-acne mousse facial wash. I used it at first because I bought it and I didn’t like it. I realise it doesn’t do a bad job and its cheap too.

    I don’t like shampoos…because I read that shampoos and condition have ingredients to smoothen out hair which might clog pores. I’m afraid that my face would have clogged pores. Maybe its just paranoid for me. But well since the anti-acne facial wash works, why not?

    • the Muse

      hey shay!

      Whatever works best for you hun πŸ˜€ Sounds like the facial wash works great for the brushes so why not is right πŸ™‚

  • Liz

    I use whatever shampoo I’m using to clean my brushes weekly. I also use face wash, which has been for the last year Philosophy Purity (the cream version). I find that face wash gets rid of stains (from blushes especially) better than shampoo.

    • the Muse

      hi liz

      was just saying I should try purity…I have a HUGE bottle and I’m kinda off it for my face so might as well clean brushes with it πŸ˜€

  • Karrie

    I use the MAC brush cleaner too.
    I haven’t tried anything else to compare it to though.

    And I just cleaned my brushes last night.
    I love it when they are first cleaned.

    • the Muse

      me too karrie they feel almost new again πŸ˜€ I’ve tried a few and always come back to MAC!

  • Ashley C.

    I’ve used Johnson’s baby shampoo & Mac cleanser in the past, but recently started using Philosophy’s Purity on the recommendation of my Sephora. They said all the oils and everything in it completely dissolve any dirt or oil and leave your brushes super soft. To my surprise, I actually love it! And so far, it’s lasting forever. The Johnson’s cleaned really well, but didn’t make them very soft (at least for me). The MAC one was ok as well, but so far, Purity is my fave!

    • the Muse

      hey ashley I’m kinda off Purity at the moment and have SO much maybe I should try it πŸ˜€

      • Ashley C.

        You should! I’ve noticed it does an amazing job getting my dark eyeshadows and liners off even my white brushes and making them look brand new again. Good luck and I hope you like it!

  • Lisa

    I use Dawn dish soap. Put a little in my hand, a little water and swirl the tip of the brush around. Rinse and air dry! But I really don’t think it’s a good idea to soak your entire brush. Some of those use glue and that will loosen the hairs and glue. And the ones that don’t, if moisture gets stuck up there, it is a breeding ground for unwanted bacteria and other nasties. You should really only wet the bottom 2/3rds. But that is what I have been told.

    • the Muse

      hey lisa…hmmm I never had a prob with the glue and hairs coming undone thankfully but the moisture stuck up in sounds not so good but honestly they dry out completely from what I’ve seen?! but def will keep my eyes on it just in case πŸ™‚

  • Laura

    I use artist watercolor brushes for some of my makeup brushes, so I just use water and rarely, a bit of shampoo as a solvent to dissolve anything non-polar left over. I know it sounds strange about the watercolor brushes, but I love them! I own some ecotools brushes also, but I always end up buying watercolor brushes at the art store instead.

    • the Muse

      hey laura!

      i’ve heard alot of people that like artist brushes for makeup app! πŸ˜€ I think Pursebuzz uses them as well πŸ˜€ I never tried but seems an interesting way to apply!