Clean Beauty Rut #10: Clean Make-Up Brushes, Tips + Tricks

Quick & dirty – or rather fast & clean –, these tips will help you make brush cleansing a habit. For the sake of healthy skin.

Ladies, as we all know, good quality make-up brushes can last forever. Sine qua non being that you cleanse them properly.
Point in case: my natural hair brushes that were bought more than 10 years ago, when my thought about veganising things hasn’t reached as far as to the tips of my make-up tools, are still in perfect condition.cleanbrushes

Now, I personally love to cleanse the tools, sometimes right after application – mineral pigments can be a bit clingy – while during hectic days, there’s a pile waiting for me on a Friday night; but at least once in a week there’s some serious lathering going on.

So if You want to start this beauty habit, here are a few things to consider to avoid any frustration, because, let’s face it, frustration is the end of all good habits.

My top 5 DOs & DON’Ts for a successfull brush spa!

1 Don’t use a special brush clean(s)er:
they often don’t carry a full disclosure, leaving you in doubt about tox/non-tox and ethical/ non-ethical ingredients, detergents, fragrance or any possible residue.
Also the cleanser formulas are often less carefully put together (palm oil, harsh ingredients – you get the picture) yet are in total more expensive than the alternative being:

2 Use your favourite clean & green detergent.
Ideas? Sure! I have used tox-free liquid soap (no PO); an organic dish detergent (organic PO-based ingredients); and my shampoo (no PO). The dish detergent has been the most efficient cleanser so far.
Also: shampoos tend to be too loaded with oils and conditioning agents – the less of those are in the formula, the better the result.
But I am not a believer in cheapest drugstore detergents either, because of the ingredients, and choose a tox-free and fabulous green alternative. If it’s good enough for my dishes…

3 Don’t soak ’em.
Soaking can loosen the glue that holds it all together, weaken the handle as well as damage and just thin out the bristles.

4 From time to time, disinfect the brushes (wisely).
Use an organic, triclosan-free (!) anti-bacteral spray if:
– Your brushes have been rolling around in your bag during travel
– You have been using brushes on acne or – why would you do that, but well – a cold sore
– You have been using brushes while having a cold
– The last disinfection is about 6 months ago (on the condition that you keep them clean otherwise)fave-products-for-brush-cleaning{1: sonett – certified organic, tox-free disinfectant; 2: sonett, Sodasan – certified organic dish detergents, Logona – organic shampoo; 3: clean brushes – mission possible!}

5 Hang them up to dry.
Professional make-up artists often say to let the brushes lay flat at the edge of a table, so the brushes are aerated and can dry better.
I prefer to even hang them up, (mis)using trouser hangers. Also saves a lot of table space 🙂drying-brushes{…of course you want to make sure the brushes aren’t DRIPPING.}

+ 3 More Tips

1 Don’t contaminate
Extra advice that I’ve picked from several beauty brands’ training manuals:
Never blow on your brushes – this is most likely to contaminate the bristles with whatever’s in your saliva, so it ends up in your product.

#2 Cover your brushes.
This is a neglected no-brainer, actually:

Don’t keep your brushes in close proximity of your wash basin. Various tests show that when we wash our hands, germs, bacteria etc. that we try to get rid of start darting around the sink. Really b-a-d guys, even STD viruses. (So better keep your toothbrush covered, too.)”

#3 Take care of your hands
So what’s the point in keeping your brushes clean and lovely, if your hands start looking chapped? Have a set of thin protective gloves extra for this kind of job – your hands will appreciate it.

What about cleansing with oil?

The Internet is full of videos about cleansing brushes with oil and (cheap) dish detergent. You’ve heard me on the latter, so on to the former.
You would only need oil for 2 reasons:
Reason one – your brush is so clogged up with fat-soluble product that it’s not going to be clean otherwise. (Consider throwing it away, Pig-Pen…)
Reason two – you have a natural hair brush. Here you need a tiny teeny drop of oil, and I use these scented jojoba oils, as a conditioner afterwards.
And let me be Capt’n Obvious here: you don’t need oil for synthetic brushes as there is nothing to healthy habits? Yes, please!


Geeking out about all things truly green, healthy and ethical over at (Avatar illustration by A. Goncharenko)

4 Responses

  1. BLYSS chocolate

    Great tips. It was because of your post from a LOOONG time ago that i even thought of cleaning my brushes. Ever since, I clean them twice a week, with organic shampoo and spray them with a antibacterial. Before, during, and after travel. Thanks for cementing this ritual in me. I think it’s been really wise, from health perspective. But if anything else, getting all the old colours out of the brushes and not mixing up colour accidentally because it’s still in the brush. win win 😉

  2. I like Melissa’s clean green tips for make-up brushes. I make up the mixture in a spray bottle and use it weekly. (Blocked link)

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