September 28, 2010

How to: wash your brushes.

I have seen dozens of videos on how to wash your makeup brushes.
(Because you do have to wash them. YO DO know that, right??)

Even though the method is virtually always the same - use warm water, don't wet the metal part, let them air dry either hanging upside down or laying - the opinion very often differ on what product to use.

When I started buying brushes, I asked for advice to several Mac makeup artists at several free standing stores (both pro store and regular one), and I always got the same answer:

Marseille soap, the most basic, obviously unscented one, in bar form (liquid has additives).

Marseille soap is made of 72% vegetal oil, most often a blend of olive oil and a couple of other oils. That's why it does condition your brushes as well as it cleanse them.
You gently rub the wet brush on the soap, you'll see the dirt go out, you rinse and that's it. If necessary, like with very dirty foundation brushes, you do it twice and it works perfectly. This works for synthetic brushes as well as for natural hair ones.
Then you put brush guards around your brushes and you're done. My oldest brushes are 2 years old and they're still as good as new!

You can buy Marseille soap from, it's pretty cheap and a big bar will last you for months.

If I need to spot cleanse a brush between 2 deep cleansing sessions, I use the Makeup For Ever brush cleanser because it works great and dries almost instantly.

Happy brush washing :)

EDIT: since this got mentioned in the comments and it's a very widely spread method, I need to add that the Mac artists I talked to regarding this subject all stronlgy advised against baby shampoo. One of them even told me that if I had to use shampoo, I should rather go for a regular one than for a baby product.


  1. Thank you for this post. I have used baby shampoo for deap cleaning them and then just the MAC brush cleaner for a superficial clean but will have to give this a try.

  2. I helped a friend picked up new cosmetics this week end and when you ask "you do know that you need to clean your brush ?" I don't think you're exaggerating. I think I found the ancestor of an eyeliner in there (little make up bag full of dusty thing with pencil thrown up in the same bag...). SHIVERs.....

    Caro xxx

  3. I agree, when not using Marseille soap, the Make Up Forever green brush cleanser is perfect.

  4. Oooh, I didn't know that trick! I've been using my face wash to cleanse my brushes, but I guess it's not the perfect solution... Olive oil bar soap is easier for me to grab, I think it works as well. Right?

  5. @ cbsg5861: if it doesn't have any nasty ingredients like preservatives, added frangrance and such, yes, it should work great.

  6. Just discover your blog and like it :)
    Concerning the brushes, I used to wash them with this soap but now, I'm using baby shampoo :)

  7. Thanks!! I had no idea!!! Olive oil bar soap is easier for me to grab as well! :) Btw did they tell you why baby shampoo is worse than regular shampoos for washing your brushes? I mean baby shampoo is supposed to be more gentle!

  8. @liloo: welcome :-)

    @stavroula: no they didn't, I found it weird too, but I have to admit my brush look and feel way better now than when I used baby shampoo!

  9. I got a marseille soap, which says it's pure, but it doesn't contain any oils! :/ So, maybe I should search for another one? Btw I couldn't find any marseille soap that didn't contain Parfum! :/


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