How I Clean My Makeup Brushes

carly campbell, makeup

I am a serial makeup brush washer when it comes to my brushes in my working kit.  I have a whole process that I won’t get into here because there are a lot of extra steps I take to keep my kit sanitized and clean. 

Instead, I want to share how I wash my personal brushes.  There are a few tricks you can take to preserve the life of your brushes, keep them clean, AND ensure they apply makeup correctly.  Here’s a little guide:

S T E P  O N E : On a small plate, make a “potion”  of a tablespoon or so of baby shampoo, a little drizzle of olive oil, and a little bit of (non toxic) dish soap, and a few drops of essential oil. I like to use either grapefruit, wild orange, or maleluca essential oil – All three of which have disinfectant properties (plus a TON of other uses) and smell AMAZING. I get my oils from doTERRA – you can purchase them HERE.

*Sure, you can use brush shampoo, but it’s expensive and it always seems to run out quickly. I usually always have my potion ingredients on hand for other things anyway.

S T E P  T W O:  Using lukewarm water, wet brush and swirl it in your magical potion, then use the palm of your hand to work the shampoo into the brush.  It’s important to keep the brush pointed down to prevent water from getting into to glue that holds fibers together.  *Using too hot of water will loosen the glue that holds the fibers together and your brush will shed. We don’t need any more mystery hair on our faces. (Girl, don’t even act like you haven’t found one.)  Also, avoid “smashing” the fibers into your palm. Be a metaphorical lady, dammit.

S T E P  T H R E E: Rinse and reshape fibers, then lay on the edge of a counter to dry! *Plan for 24 hrs drying time.


  • Wash once a week (or, let’s be real…every few weeks!)
  • Air Dry
  • Keep your brushes in a separate bag
  • Splurge on a few nice brushes – you will have them for YEARS.  I am OBSESSED with this set (on sale!) from Trish McEvoy.
  • Wash your sponges/beauty blender! (I use lukewarm water and baby shampoo only for these)


  • Let brushes soak in sink
  • Use Hot Water
  • Smash brush fibers
  • Use a blow dryer. Your brushes will take on the form of a lit firecracker, trust me.
  • Use the lipstick samples at the store. Sorry…had to put this in. I trust no one.

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