Do you know how to clean makeup brushes?

Fair question, I reckon. It certainly was something I had to ask myself when I began noticing my affinity for wearing makeup. The brushes I use to apply makeup aren’t the disposable ones and definitely not the ones that would usually come with the cosmetic. Though, admittedly, when I first started — like any normal newbie — I did use the latter but soon ventured into using separate makeup tools and, when I was able to convince myself to investing considerable amount of money on makeup brushes alone, the more expensive makeup brushes.

This explains the reason why I finally decided to get the Brush Cleanser from MAC. I’d like to see if it is better than how I’ve been cleaning my makeup brushes.

MAC Cosmetics, Brush Cleanser | Style Manila - Fashion, Beauty, Shopping, Manila Street Style, Lifestyle
Brush Cleanser, MAC – $12

It was only recently did I finally cave in and start buying MAC makeup brushes. To add to the MAC 212 Flat Definer brush, I had bought a couple more (planning to buy one or two more, gah) during the MAC haul:

MAC 219 Pencil Brush, $22
“For precision shading on lid, in eye crease or along lash line. The soft, smooth fibers of this brush are gathered into a pencil-shaped tip. It is ideal for blending eyeliner into eye shadow to create a smoky looking eye.”

MAC 129 Powder / Blush Brush, $33
“All-purpose for blush or face powder. This brush is particularly good for blush application. The fibers are soft and form a full, rounded shape.”

As you can see, these brushes are on the expensive side. I’d like to rest on the thought that I can take better care of them and make them last longer, — get my money’s full worth, ha. Anyway, do I really know how to clean makeup brushes? Well, it’s simply just been soak, cleanse, rinse, and dry for me. It isn’t rocket science. It’s just the product I use to cleanse that’s in question. I would either use any shampoo or hand wash to clean my brushes. But is it enough? Well, we’ll see if using the MAC Brush Cleanser will be any different.

How to clean makeup brushes (with the MAC Brush Cleanser):

Step 1. Fill a container with water about an inch or deep enough that it covers all of the bristles and nothing else. Mix a squirt or two of the MAC Brush Cleanser with the water.

Step 2. Soak and swirl your brush(es) in the mixture for about 30 seconds or a minute.

Step 3. Rinse thoroughly under tap water, holding the brushes horizontally.

Step 4. Squeeze as much water out; from the base to the end. Shape the bristles back into their original shape.

Step 5. Lay them flat on a towel. Leave them to dry.

How to Clean Makeup Brushes, MAC makeup brushes | Style Manila - Fashion, Beauty, Shopping, Manila Street Style, Lifestyle

Drying can take 8 or so hours to complete but this will depend on the brush size, of course.

Other makeup brushes in my kit aren’t all MAC, of course: Foundation Brush (The Body Shop), Lash Separator comb/brush (Estee Lauder), Small angled brow brush (Artistry), and a small Charm blender brush that’s been a must have for eye makeup application since 2008.

Important notes:

  • Yes, you don’t have to buy a MAC Brush Cleanser to clean your makeup brushes. You can use shampoo or cream/foam wash.
  • Advisable not to leave the brushes in the mixture for too long — it may damage brushes, cause the bristles to fall off.
  • I wouldn’t recommend blow drying the makeup brushes to speed up the drying process.
  • Recommended that we clean our makeup brushes regularly, esp for those people who frequently use makeup and/or have sensitive skin/acne-prone.

Your turn. Care to add your own tips on how to clean makeup brushes?

MAC Haul Running Total: $ 209.00 (roughly around Php 8,569.00). Ka-ching.

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About Sasha Manuel

Sasha is the Founder and Chief Editor of Style Manila has been around since 2007. You can also follow her on Twitter (@angelisophia), Polyvore, and Instagram (@sashamanuel). Read more about Sasha Manuel.


  1. It’s like washing hair right? Nice tips! Thanks for sharing them!

  2. I use homemade brush cleaner made of anti-bac dishwashing liquid soap + sunflower oil :)

    And I use brush guards to keep my brushes upside-down when drying.

    I talked about it here – <3

    I'd love to buy those brush cleansers that are fast-dry though. :) 

  3. Thank you for the tips, Sasha!

    @Lia – won’t the sunflower oil make the brushes oily? Checking out the brush guards! Thanks!

  4. Thanks for this instructional. I really need to clean my brushes. Wonder if this works for toothbrush too…LOL

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