How to Clean a Foundation Brush?

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how to clean a foundation brush

In our busy lives and our equally busy morning routines, one of the last things on our mind is whether or not our makeup foundation brush is clean. After all, who has time to think about that, let alone take the time to do this seemingly-tedious task every single week?

It’s easy to forget about it when we have so much else going on, but in this article, I will tell you why it is imperative that you take those extra few seconds to keep your makeup brushes clean and the best ways to do it. 

Cleaning your makeup foundation brushes is one of the most underrated and under-discussed topics of the beauty industry—but it’s a vital topic that everyone should know about! Spreading knowledge is essential for everyone’s health and happiness.  

First off, let’s cover why it is so crucial that you clean your makeup brushes. Here are some of the most important reasons that may send you straight to the sink:

Bacteria Breeding Ground

It’s not the most pleasant thought, but you need to know that your brushes are full of bacteria when they’re not being used. The longer you go without cleaning them, the more bacteria they will acquire (gross). 

We all have certain and natural bacteria on our skin. Still, the fibers of a makeup brush can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria that wants to terrorize our face. If you store your makeup brushes in a dark place like a bag or purse, then the bacteria grow even quicker! Not a good scenario!

These bacteria, the acquired dirt in the brush, and god-knows-whatever-else can exacerbate acne or other skin conditions. Keep in mind that the bacteria can also spread from your makeup brush to your actual makeup.

Your dirty makeup brushes can also affect your internal health if they pick up microbes that can cause viruses (be aware of this, especially in public bathrooms).

Never share your makeup brushes either, as this is a good way to get harmful bacteria like MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), which can lead to more severe issues like sepsis, which can be lethal! Don’t let germs stand a fighting chance. Clean your brushes and protect yourself! 

Be Good to Your Skin

When you don’t wash your makeup brushes, the fibers become stale from the product. When applied to your face, your skin may become irritated and red. Worse, if the integrity of the skin is compromised, you risk infection. And besides, a soft, clean makeup brush just feels better!

That Streaky Look

We all want to look our best. The point of makeup is to highlight our facial features without really looking like we’re wearing anything artificial. When you don’t clean your makeup brushes often enough, the stiff bristles will result in an uneven texture during your application, making you risk streaks. Not worth it! 

Clean your brush thoroughly, and you’ll get a nice even application worthy of the red carpet!  

Make ‘Em Last!

You spent a pretty penny on those makeup brushes so you could achieve your ideal look. When you properly clean and care for them, they will last you even longer, helping you get your money’s worth.

You’ll be free to spend your money on more makeup, not brushes.

When you use bamboo brushes, you are not only helping the earth by utilizing a sustainable resource, but you are making a smart investment, as these products generally last longer. And, because they don’t contain chemicals, they are better for your bod!  

The Best Products You Can Use to Clean Your Foundation Brushes

cleaning liquid foundation from makeup brush

Make-up Brush Cleansing Shampoo by Ecotools

Ecotools Makeup Brush Cleansing Shampoo 6 Ounce

If you’re not too happy about coughing up the extra money for a brush cleaner, and for less than 5 bucks, this is one of your cheapest options that will meet your needs.

This product is dermatologist-tested, hypoallergenic, and made from plant-based ingredients that your skin will thank you for. It’s also paraben-, phthalate-, & petroleum- and perfume-free. 

For best results, apply a small amount of shampoo directly to the brush, massage it into the brush fibers, then rinse and let dry. If you do this once a week, you will reap the results! Remember, a little goes a long way.

This bottle is also small enough to take with you in your airline carry-on, helping you keeping your brushes fresh and clean while you travel.  

They also don’t test their products on animals. If the shampoo is not your thing, they also make cleansing cloths that will help clean your brush quickly and efficiently. These are especially useful when used in between different foundations or powders

And it’s the same price. Ecotools continues to make environmentally friendly and affordable products. Looking for a stocking stuffer? These are perfect and practical.  

Cinema Secrets Professional Foundation Brush Cleaner

Cinema Secrets Professional Makeup Brush Cleaner, 16 Fl Oz

If professional-grade quality is more your thing, we got you. Cinema Secrets is a highly rated product that will get your makeup brushes cleansed quickly and efficiently, with no rinsing required.

It will not affect the glue in your brushes like other products do, and will instead moisturize them, helping them to last longer and stronger. Cinema Secrets removes up to 99.99% of bacteria from your brush.  

To use, add a small amount of the cleanser to a small bowl. Wipe off any excess makeup from the brush to a paper towel, then dip ¼ of the brush into the solution. Then wipe the brush on a paper towel, and as soon as it is dry to the touch, you’re good to use it again.

Customers rave about how quickly it cleans their brushes and how quickly it dries compared to many other products. If you’re short on time, this is the product for you. You can get it on Amazon for $30.00.  

Make-Up Brush Cleaner Kit

Makeup Brush Cleaner Dryer, Makeup Brush Cleaner Machine with 8 Rubber Collars, Wash and Dry in Seconds, Deep Cosmetic Brush Spinner for All Size Brushes

If you’re brand new to makeup brush cleansing and you want the whole kit-and-caboodle to make the process smooth, then this product by CC home is for you. Let the machine do the work with the electric makeup brush cleaner and dryer.

The process takes just seconds and requires no mess! It fits 8 different sizes of brushes and will keep your brushes at peak performance.

To use, just attach the dirty brush to the electric spinner. Then, pour some water and a small amount of soap into the bowl (included).  Next, you’ll dip the brush in and spin it to clean it, and finally, raise it and spin it to dry.

No-fuss, no mess; it’s almost too easy! And if you’re looking for the perfect gift, this is a great choice, especially if they are new to cleaning their makeup brushes.  

This kit requires only 2 AAA batteries, and the product comes with an 18-month 100% satisfaction guarantee. Not bad for only $22.00.  What have you got to lose? Except for that old, caked-on makeup, of course. 

How to Make and Use Your Own Foundation Brush Cleanser at Home?

dirty makeup foundation brush

Don’t feel like forking over your hard-earned cash for something you can make at home? No problem. I have compiled the safest and simplest DIY methods so you can save yourself the hassle.

Here are some of the best ways you can create your own safe-to-use and efficient makeup brush cleansers with just the things around your house:  

How to Clean a Foundation Brush With Baby Shampoo

Yes, using baby shampoo is a good way to clean a foundation brush since it’s powerful enough to remove makeup and bacteria, yet gentle enough for your brush. 

To use, add a small amount to a bowl of warm water and mix well. Swirl your brush in the water, then rinse under cool water until clean. No need for harsh chemical removers when you’ve got a bottle of baby shampoo on hand!

How to Clean a Foundation Brush With Dishwashing Soap

Dishwashing soap is a fast and easy way to strip off that caked-on foundation and get your brushes their cleanest. You can use this the same way as the baby shampoo. Maybe now, doing your dishes can help keep you on track with cleaning your makeup brushes more often. From oil spill disasters to makeup disasters, is there anything that Dawn dish soap can’t do?

How to Clean a Foundation Brush With Olive Oil

I’m sure you’re wondering how the heck can olive oil help me get my makeup brushes clean?! I once wondered the same, convinced that it was a hoax. The truth is, olive oil is AMAZING when it comes to cleaning your brushes. I love using this, and I’m sure you will too. 

All you must do is pour a bit of olive oil into a bowl, dunk the brush, massage the caked in makeup, then rub it against a clean sponge to absorb the makeup.  

Olive oil is an excellent moisturizer for your brush, too. Only a little bit of olive oil is necessary. If you use too much and can’t get it out, you can also use baby shampoo or dish soap to get it squeaky clean.  

Bonus tip: Olive oil is way more than just a healthy cooking oil and fantastic brush cleaner. Did you know you can also use it to clean your face? Many celebrities use this method to keep their skin looking clean and young. 

You can do this at the end of the day to take off your makeup and moisturize your face at the same time. Just apply a nickel-sized amount of quality olive oil to your face and rub in a circular motion for a few seconds.

Then, take a microfiber washcloth, run it under hot water, wring it out, and put it on your face. Let it sit there for up to 30 seconds, then wipe everything off. 

Repeat as necessary until the face is totally clean. Your pores will love it!  

How to Clean a Foundation Brush With Unscented Bar of Soap

In a world where every scent possible now comes in a soap, you’re gonna want to sniff out an unscented soap for this method! Perfumes are a nice touch sometimes, but when it comes to your face, you should always choose perfume-free products, since these have less of a chance of irritating your skin.

Briefly wet the tip of your dirty foundation brush underneath the faucet. Then take your brush and swirl the tip gently into the unscented bar of soap. Swirl for up to 30 seconds to really loosen things up, then run the brush under warm water. 


Why Is It Important to Clean Your Makeup Brushes?

Cleaning your makeup foundation brushes is essential for your skin health and internal health. 

Dirty makeup brushes could be harboring nasty germs that can cause acne and other issues. By cleaning your brushes at least weekly, you are taking the necessary steps to protect yourself.  

You will also be achieving your desired natural (streak-free) look when your brushes are at their best. Whether you use one of the top-reviewed cleansing products on the market or a cheaper at-home product, you are saving both your brushes and your money.  


Quality makeup brushes are not cheap. With each of the ways, I described to clean your foundation brush, ensure you are always gentle with your tools. It can be frustrating trying to get layers of caked-on makeup out of your brushes, but your patience will pay off.

Be gentle, and your brushes will be clean and looking brand-new once again. By taking that extra time to clean your foundation brushes, you will undoubtedly be pleased with the results.

As I mentioned before, cleaning your makeup brush is not something that is widely discussed. If you or your friends have skin issues such as acne, be sure to try cleaning your brush more often before deciding to take medications or other alternatives. It just may be the solution!

To help yourself remember to clean your brushes on a weekly basis, you can incorporate this ritual into your weekend (or day off) self-care routine.  Practice good self-care to achieve balance in the body and mind.

Thanks for stopping by. We hope you loved learning how to clean a foundation brush, and we also hope you share this with a friend.

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