The 10 best makeup brush cleaners for good-as-new brushes
This essential step just got a whole lot easier to do
Beauty Crew Contributing Editor / October 13 2018
For such a simple task, your options for cleaning your makeup brushes are surprisingly varied. There’s the traditional cleansing wash, a cleaning spray for a quick, instant clean, and even a couple of different tools and gadgets that get the job done faster or more thoroughly.
Why bother with cleaning your brushes? Oh, the reasons! Firstly, bacteria. Brushes pick up the dirt and grime from your face and then re-deposit them back onto your skin the next day. Hello, breakouts! Secondly, you need to remove the makeup from your previous application otherwise the new colours you're trying to apply may become murky. Finally, you paid a pretty penny for those brushes; taking care of them is just good manners.
Ready to get cleaning? We've found the best makeup brush cleaner options.
#10 / Mecca Cosmetics Brush With Success
Antibacterial ingredients? Check. Something to condition the bristles? Yep, silk proteins and pro-vitamin B5 take care of that. This makeup-removing spray for brushes is great for everyday use to prevent product build-up. You just spritz onto a tissue then wipe your brush back and forth over it until clean.
The review: “My favourite makeup brush cleaner is the 'Brush with Success' from Mecca. I mainly use it for my eye brushes. It's in a spray bottle so very easy to use, takes off the residue very well and dries quickly.” Sophie, SUPERcrew member
#9 / EcoTools Makeup Brush Shampoo
Dermatologist tested and hypoallergenic, this cleaning solution is designed to be used weekly. Its gentle formula protects the integrity of your bristles while it works to deeply clean them of makeup and oils. We’ve also given it points for its 40 per cent post-consumer recycled plastic bottle.
The review: “Once every one or two weeks, I love to give my brushes a really deep clean with the EcoTools Makeup Brush Shampoo. It’s super easy to use and is also formulated with gentle, plant-based ingredients. This is really important to me as I hate the idea of ruining good brushes with chemical cleaners, and also rubbing those same cleaning nasties onto my face if they haven’t washed out properly.” Isobel Larkin, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Assistant
#8 / Bobbi Brown Conditioning Brush Cleanser
Get your brushes clean, and keep their bristles super soft with this gentle formula. Simply massage it into damp bristles, rinse under water and leave to dry. Your brush will be as good as new in no time.
The review: “My fave brush cleaner is the Bobbi Brown one - it works super fast and it leaves my brushes feeling like they are hygienic, but it's not a harsh formula either which is great.” Vanessa, SUPERcrew member
#7 / Make Up For Ever Instant Brush Cleaner
For an alcohol-free option, this is our pick. No rinsing required, and a formula that won’t leave your bristles coated in an oily residue, we’re super impressed with this cleanser’s ability to send even stubborn waterproof makeup packing.
The review: “Perfect for cleaning makeup brushes on the go, this no-rinse formula cleanses brushes super effectively including removing waterproof and highly-pigmented product build-up with ease.” Carmen, SUPERcrew member
#6 / MAC Brush Cleanser
When it comes to taking the best care possible of your brushes, you need to clean them and condition them so they’re bacteria-free and all silky soft when you sweep them over your skin. This brush cleaner disinfects, removes makeup and dirt build-up and nourishes the bristles for a gentle yet effective clean.
The review: “My favourite brsuh cleaner is the MAC Brush Cleaner. It is easy to use, costing just around $20 per bottle and one bottle lasts so long! This is suitable for day to day cleaning of makeup brushes.” Jillian, SUPERcrew member
#5 / Gaia Baby Shampoo
While not officially a brush cleanser, this baby shampoo makes a great DIY makeup brush cleaner. The good ol’ homemade recipe of baby shampoo and water is one of the best options for natural hair bristles. For a naturally-derived formula, we love this pH neutral, low foaming and gentle one by Australian-made Gaia.
The review: “I clean my brushes with baby shampoo! Couldn’t even tell you where I got the advice from. I use Gaia baby shampoo because it’s very mild and doesn’t harden the bristle (and it’s what I use on my own children). I squirt a bit in a bowl with lukewarm water, dip the brushes in and gently lather them up with my hands then rinse in lukewarm water and lay flat on a towel on the bench to dry. Brushes stay soft and don’t lose their shape.” Pru, SUPERcrew member
#4 / Sigma Spa® Brush Cleaning Mat
One of the new-age ways to clean your brushes, this cleaning mat is super effective, especially for extra-dirty brushes. It has a whole seven different textures on it to best clean every single brush in your kit. Just gently rub or sweep your makeup bristles over the mat. Easy as that. Do note that you need to use a makeup brush cleaner to get all the grime off your bristles, but luckily you know where to find one!
The review: “This clever tool has actually changed how often I wash my brushes. The textured mat makes removing product build-up from my brushes so quick and easy (and effective) that it doesn’t feel like such a daunting task to do a fortnightly clean. All I need to do is add a dollop of makeup brush removing formula (I like the Mecca Max Sponge & Brush Shampoo) and some water to the mat, swish my brush around, rinse and it’s done.” Carli Alman, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Editor
#3 / Beautyblender Blendercleanser Solid Pro
Infused with charcoal, which is a winner for killing bacteria and soaking up oils, this solid ‘soap’ will practically last you a lifetime. Working to clean brushes and sponges, the blendercleanser formula protects your brushes (and subsequently your skin) against harmful germs. And it comes with a cleansing mat for deeper scrubbing.
The review: “I started using this product a few years ago and have barely made a dent in the solid soap, which really says something about value for money! I also love the textured silicone pad that it comes with which ensures a really deep clean, even for trickier tools like foundation and concealer brushes.” Iantha Yu, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Editor
#2 / Daiso Detergent for Puff and Sponge
If you haven’t heard of this brush and sponge cleaner before, you can thank our SUPERcrew for putting you in the know. This brush ‘detergent’ was a popular choice among our members, who praised the formula for being easy, fast and effective. What more could you want? A good price? Done deal: it’s only $2.80.
The reviews: “My favourite makeup brush cleaner is the Daiso Detergent for Puff and Sponge. This detergent is a miracle worker as it removes all dirt and residue from my brushes and beauty sponge as well as any stains - leaving my tools as soft and clean as when I bought them!” Alex, SUPERcrew member
“Daiso’s Sponge and Puff cleanser is hands down my favourite brush cleanser. It cleans each brush in 10 seconds flat - no need for 2nd or 3rd washes.” Jasmine, SUPERcrew member
#1 / StylPro
Lazy girls (and busy ones), it doesn’t get much more effortless than this electric makeup brush cleaner. You pop some brush cleanser in the bowl (the kit comes with some - its formula is vegan, paraben-free, sulphate-free and alcohol-free), dip the brush in the formula then turn it on, and in all but 20 seconds your brushes are ready to use. Yep, it’s an automatic cleaner AND dryer machine in one.
The review: “My favourite make-up brush cleaner is my StylPro to clean brushes. It's so easy, quick and brushes come out so dry and clean ready to use immediately if needed.” Amanda, SUPERcrew member
If you've got extra dirty beautyblender makeup sponges in need of a clean, try this product-free hack.
How do you clean your makeup brushes? What's your favourite makeup brush cleanser?
Main image credit: Getty
Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.