Cleaning Those Makeup Brushes : the Products I Use

There is no one way to wash makeup brushes; different people have different methods and we all favour some products over others.

I've heard of using olive oil to soften the bristles of brushes. Theoretically it sounds wonderfulplus olive oil is supposedly good for the skin!but I might not be able to stop worrying about whether I have patches of olive oil on my face or not after using my makeup brushes. Then again, that's my personal preference.

So I go on the safe, clean(er) route by using a ready-made brush cleaner and the old-school baby shampoo.

M.A.C Brush Cleanser
I used to buy my brush cleaner from Stage. It was a good one but it had this strong, pungent chemical smell to it which I don't think is good to breathe in.

MAC Brush Cleanser is not as good as Stage's but at least it smells pleasant and gentle (and safe!).

I usually pour a small amount onto my palm, dip my brush in and work the bristles around in the solution.

The Good
  • It scores a lot of points by being affordable, costing RM 48 for 233ml of cleanser. MAC Brush Cleanser doesn't just clean my brushes, it disinfects them as well.
The Bad
  • One thing I liked about Stage's brush cleaner? It came in a spray bottle. I do find it too easy to spill the pump-less MAC Brush Cleanser. I have a good mind to transfer the content of this one into the empty Stage spray bottle.

Overall verdict: Does its job and really cheapI like it enough. I'm keeping an open mind about trying other brands' brush cleanser / cleaner though. Any recommendation would be appreciated!

Johnson's Baby Conditioning Shampoo

If it's good and gentle enough for babies' hair, it must be good and gentle enough for makeup brushes!

Johnson's has a bunch of baby shampoos but I like this one as it's more conditioning than the regular ones.
Using a mild soapy solution, like this one, can help break down the dirt in makeup brushes.

After working the bristles in the cleanser, I rinsed my brush then apply this baby shampoo onto the bristles and make the them really soapy by rubbing them against the palm of my hand. Then rinse carefully again.

Hair Conditioner
I have some stubborn brushes with hard bristles, like my Essence ones and Makeup Geek's original MAC 217 dupe. To soften those bristles, after cleaning with the two products above, I occasionally apply a tiny amount of my current hair conditioner to the bristles, work it in and leave them to soften for about 5-10 minutes. 

I try not to let the bristles soak in the conditioner for too long as normal hair conditioner may contain chemicals that could shorter the lifespan of makeup brushes.

This is usually how I dry my brushes:

from @1stclassbrat Instagram

So this is my method. I've read about five different techniques of washing makeup brushes, and mostly use different cleaning products. I'm curious to hear about your method to cleaning brushes, so do share in the comment section down below!


  1. hey, im new to ur blog.

    ive tried washing my brush using the same shampoo and after rinsing it, i let it dry as always. tapi one of my brush was the RT Expert face brushes started to fell apart. I dont know why. I never blow dry it takot the glue cair, but then again i dont what went wrong. Ive tried brush cleanser by Etude House. that was one of my favorite along side with MAC. :)

    1. Oh no, kesian brush tu. It stinks when a brush starts to shed, doesn't it? I don't own Real Techniques Expert Face Brush (at least, not yet) but it's supposed to be one of the absolute favourites of so many people, so I'm sure the fact that yours is shedding is frustrating you.

      I'm guessing you own some other RT brushes too? If the others are not shedding, maybe it's possible you got a Face Expert brush that came from a bad batch or something. Maybe try to be extra, extra gentle with caring for this one.

      Did you buy your RT brushes online or in a local shop somewhere in Malaysia?

  2. Hello Liyana!

    Wee Nee here, if you still remember. :P Just somehow stumbled upon your blog.
    Anyways, I used to use Daiso's sponge cleanser, so good at removing stubborn colours, even on sponges. But now I'm also using Johnson's baby shampoo, the yellow one. Still gets the job done, but somehow it takes more effort to get the brushes cleaner. Hmm.. Maybe I should give MAC's a try :)


    1. Hi Wee Nee Angeline!

      Of course I remember! I'm really glad you accidentally found my blog and then left a comment, it's really sweet of you =D

      I've never tried that Daiso cleanser, but I'm intrigued. I think I've tried all the baby shampoo from Johnson's, but since I'm a sucker for the word "conditioning" I just keep going back for the orange one.

      I actually contemplated buying Shu Uemura's brush cleaner but it was a liiitle bit more expensive, so I went for MAC instead. It's an OK product, does its job and all, but it can't be the best out there. But for RM 48, why not, right?

      If you decide to try a brush cleaner from another brand in the future and find that it's good, do let me know!

  3. I hate cleaning my makeup brushes but am always looking for more efficient ways - thanks for sharing!


    1. I'm not a fan of cleaning my makeup brushes either! I'm always saying I wish I could hire someone to wash them all for me.

      Thanks for commenting, Abby =)


Post a Comment

I'd love to have a conversation with you about my post. Please share your thoughts & I'll reply as soon as I can!

Contact Form for Pages [DO NOT DELETE]

Hi, I'm Liyana

I'm a style & lifestyle blogger based in sunny (and ever humid) Malaysia. On The Good Weekender, you can find typed journals of my evolving modest personal style, travel adventures, skincare/beauty updates, home decor things, and stories of other bits and pieces of my everyday life. I hope you'll enjoy flipping through these pages of my virtual book!