Our Favorite Makeup Brush Cleaners for Beginners and Experts
Makeup brushes need to be cleaned on a regular basis — and these are the best options that do the job quickly and efficiently.
Our Top Makeup Brush Cleaner Picks
If you use makeup brushes or makeup sponges, you know how dirty they can look over time, which means you're probably not thrilled to be putting those dirty brushes on your face. Luckily, the best makeup brush cleaners get rid of buildup and germs and also prolong the life and softness of your brushes. It's a win-win, and if you use the right products, you'll check this off your to-do list in no time. I recommend cleaning your brushes by a sink: gather your brushes and cleaner, grab a cup of warm water and a washcloth, and lay out a towel. Wet a brush and add the cleaner, then rub it with your palm or a palette cleaner until it foams up. This is when you'll start to see all the makeup debris drip into your sink (it can get messy!). Once you're satisfied with the clean, dip the brush in warm water and pat dry with a washcloth, then lay it out on your towel. It only takes a few minutes, and you will love the results — and your face will thank you, too. Shop our favorites below:
Cinema Secrets Makeup Brush Cleaner is a favorite amongst makeup artists, makeup lovers and everyone in-between because it's quick and gets rid of even the most stubborn makeup on your brushes, leaving them good as new. Reviewers love that it instantly dries brushes in a minute (other options you typically have to leave overnight). This is something that will clean everything off your brushes instantly, so if you don't mind that it's pretty powerful, it's the best option out there.
Pros: Cleans and dries quickly; doesn't need tools to work
Cons: Smells strong
Best for Makeup Sponges
If you use a makeup sponge to apply foundation and concealer, this is the absolute best way to keep it clean and fresh — and help it last a lot longer, too. This set comes with a solid bar (and has a nice soothing lavender scent!) and a silicone antimicrobial sponge to thoroughly clean it. It claims to get rid of 99.7 percent of germs, which is excellent given that makeup sponges tend to get dirty quickly — and you're using your hands to directly apply it, too. While it can work for brushes, it's best used as a travel option, if you're doing a heavy-duty makeup day like a wedding or party. I have one, and I can say it has lasted almost a year and I use it fairly regularly.
Pros: Prolongs the life of your beauty sponge; smells great; easy to travel with
Cons: Best for makeup sponges only
Best Budget Pick
This is the most affordable way to clean brushes — and it's a tried-and-true favorite for many. Baby shampoo gently cleans your makeup brushes with ease and really works. This is what I generally use, but it's definitely not as easy or quick as the Cinema Secrets — you have to let the brushes dry overnight, fluff them a couple of times while they're drying so they don't lose their shape and it does take some elbow grease (and I highly recommend a makeup brush cleaning palette like the one below). But if you're patient and want to try this out, it keeps brushes soft and gets the job done as well as any other brush cleaner.
Pros: Affordable; smells great; gentle on brushes and hands
Cons: Takes some time; need to use with a brush palette cleaner
Here are some additional accessories to make your brushes as clean as they can be. The Cinema Secrets cleaner also comes in a spray bottle for a quick clean if you're using one brush for many different applications. A brush cleaner palette gives an easy deep clean and helps the work go a bit faster. Finally, the shade switching pan won't get the germs off, but it's great to remove eyeshadow powder quickly if you're building a unique eye look that requires lots of different shades.