My First Time: Cleaning My Makeup Brushes Naturally

Here’s a dirty little secret about me; I don’t really ever clean my makeup brushes. I know, I know — the horror, the shock! That alarming fact I just told you is pretty disturbing. If it’s not disturbing to you, then you must be one of the girls that are mentally living in outer space (like myself, apparently) because you have no real idea what not washing your makeup brushes is doing to your skin.

I came across this appalling truth when I was talking to a friend about my skin breaking out a lot recently. I was pretty perturbed.  I mean, I wasn’t trying out any new makeup, I didn’t introduce any new products into my skin routine and I had gotten pretty good at wiping my makeup off before heading to the gym. I just didn’t get it. Then my friend asked me when was the last time I cleaned my makeup brushes. My response of, “ummm, never…” made her eyes widen with shock (and possibly revulsion). I mean, I had used quick brush cleaner sprays from Sephora and the drug store before, but I didn’t even know that washing makeup brushes was a thing!

After a quick Google search, I realized why my friend was so surprised. I found out that indeed, dirty makeup brushes can break you out because they are literally collecting anything and everything that you put on your face. This can also cause irritation and spread around all of those germs you can’t see. And if that wasn’t bad enough, a dirty brush can give you a worse colour payoff for your products. I don’t understand how I have been so naive my whole life.

So, with my newfound knowledge of why I should clean my brushes and my innate fear of what was currently lurking inside of them, I decided to do another Google search about how to clean makeup brushes naturally. I mean, I already put enough chemicals on my face, so I might as well try to save some money and keep my brushes au natural.

Here are the steps to saving your makeup brushes (and ultimately, your skin!):

  1. Combine olive oil and dish soap on a dish. Two parts dish soap and one part olive oil makes the best combo. The dish soap will clean and disinfect (who else thinks that word is gross?) your brushes and the olive oil will keep the bristles soft (because no one wants to be stabbed in the face by one of their familiar brushes).
  2. Moisten the tip of your brush under lukewarm running water. Pro tip: make sure to keep the brush facing down, as you don’t want to melt the glue that’s holding all of your lovely bristles in place.
  3. Dip the tip of your brush into the olive oil and dish soap mixture and swirl the brush around on your palm. You don’t want to do this in the plate, as the dirt and germs will just spread into the rest of the mixture (and you’re doing this whole process to keep your brushes clean, remember?).
  4. Then, rinse the brush in the lukewarm water until the water runs clear with no suds. For some extra dirty brushes, you might want to repeat the process of dipping, swirling and rinsing your brushes a few times.
  5. Pat brush down with paper towel and finish the rest of your brushes.
  6. Once you’ve completed cleaning all of your brushes, you’re going to want to lay them out to dry. Great idea! Just don’t lay them flat (or the  residual water will still melt the glue that’s holding your bristles together). I like to lay the brushes out on a book and put some paper towel down beside it. Instead of laying the brushes flat, you’re going to want to make your brushes (remember, bristles down!) lean from the book onto the paper towel. This’ll make any leftover water drip downwards. Just remember to flip your brushes over to the other side after a couple of hours, so the other side dries evenly.

After that, you’re done! I left mine overnight to dry and by the next morning, they were all fresh and ready to go. I mean, if you’re not concerned for your brushes or your face, this it great to do to feel like you just purchased a bunch of brand new brushes.

With love,


    1. I know, right?! It’s something everyone forgets about so easily, but it’s actually so necessary! Thanks for reading, Katherine!



    1. Awe thanks, Jovita! Right?! I was so surprised with how well it works. (And I totally want to organize my makeup products soon too haha)



  1. This is an interesting mix – I’ve never cleaned mine with an Olive oil and Dish Soap mixture! I usually use Glycerin soap with tea tree and lemon. It helps to kill bacteria naturally – though this might be a good trick! I’ll have to see 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

    Lindsey Elyse | Sustainably Savvy

    1. I’ve never thought of that combo before, but it sounds amazing (and natural too!).I’ll definitely try out your mix too 🙂



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