The Weekend Post #1: Brush Cleaning

This weekend I have been jotting down a few ideas for the blog, lame I know. But one of my ‘light-bulb’ moments cumulated in the creation of a new little series on Vivanna Does Makeup, titled ‘The Weekend Post’. I am a bit of a busy bee during the week, so during my weekends I like to dedicate some time to relaxing, reorganising my life and a spot of pampering. In fact you guys may have noticed that I tend to pop up a ‘facial’-type post most weekends. So keep an eye out for ‘The Weekend Post’ which will be a quick write-up of some of my weekend rituals, whether that be re-organising my makeup collection to cleansing my brushes, which is what I thought I would chat about today…. 
Cleaning my brushes is something that I do on a weekly basis, I am a bit of a neat freak and hate the look of dirty brushes and of course how unhygienic they can become. There are an absolute shed-load of tutorials on Youtube on how to clean brushes, but I like to keep it nice and simple so thought I would share. Firstly there are 2 ways you can clean your brushes: spot cleaning, which is where you use a specific brush cleaner (such as MAC’s) to quickly clean your brushes, not using water will mean that they dry in a matter of minutes, or deep cleaning, which is where you use water and a foaming cleaner to really give your brushes a good cleanse. I prefer to deep clean my brushes as spot-cleaning is only really good for people who reuse the same brushes for different colours often or professionals on a shoot.  I grab my brushes that need a clean and take them, and a flannel into my bathroom. I keep the hot tap running and pop each brush under the water, keeping the brush pointing down so as not to direct the water into the base of the brush. Now when it comes to what brush cleaner I use I am not fussy, I have used MAC’s Brush Cleanser in the past, but it is an expensive habit and I don’t find I can get much of a lather. So I prefer to use a handwash, may be a bit of a rebellious choice I know – at the moment Sainsburys Anti-Bacterial Moisturising Handwash is my cleaner of choice. I pop a squirt in my hand, swirl the brush in it and then rinse it out under the tap. When all my brushes are done I lay them down on a flannel to dry overnight and – finito! I love having clean brushes, in fact it makes me a bit said on a Monday when they get all dirty again! Do you ladies have any suggestions for cheapie brush cleansers? Are you a handwash rebel like me? Hope you have all had a good weekend!
Much Love,
Vivianna x


  • I use baby shampoo.lathers well and is soft and fragrance free for my beloved brushes 🙂 I have kryolan brush cleaner for quick cleaning but I prefer deep cleaning whenever I can! can i ask which camera you use for photos? 

    Hayley x

    • I use a Canon EOS 600D 🙂 xx

  • Eleanor Baldry

    Good post, im always interested to see how people clean their brushes. I use a Tea Tree foam facial wash from superdrug, its like £1.99 and lasts for ages. I like the fact its anti-bacterial :) xxxx

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • Rasheedat

    I do the same thing you do for the weekly sunday deep clean but I prefer to use Asda’s baby shampoo as it’s a bit more gentle. I usually also get the bulk of the makeup out of the brushes by swirling them in a bit of olive oil on a paper towel before getting to the real washing xo

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • I always use handwash! That or shampoo, I’ve tried MAC’s Brush Cleanser but find it’s not worth the cost.

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • Many make-up artists recommend baby shampoo as a cheap brush cleanser 😉 I’m using Bobbi Brown’s one ONLY because i found this out only after I bought it :'( sniff sniff (even Bobbi Brown herself aproves of using baby shampoo like the Johnson’s one!) Oh and I do this once a month.

    But I do regular (and I mean REGULAR!) spot cleansing: I really like the Sephora spray one BECAUSE it is anti bacterial (and I’m a freak about bacteria ;))

    xx Raquel 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • Anonymous

    You should definitely try Baby Shampoo if it’s cheaper than handwash (especially TESCO/ASDA’s own branded ones) I always use it, and if it’s gentle enough for a baby, then it’s gentle enough for my cosmetic applicator babies ;) 

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • I also wash my brushes on a Sunday and hate using them on a Monday because they are just so fresh and so clean!  I like Jonhson’s baby shampoo for mine.


    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • Alice

    I find the Superdrug’s Tea Tree and Peppermint shampoo works marvellously, it’s only 99p and it is strangely comforting when you apply your powder and you can smell teatree and peppermint!

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • Amy

    I cleaned most of my brushes yesterday! I like Mac’s brush cleaner a lot. I can get it to lather, I put a little of the brush cleaner in the palm of my dampish hand and then put the dry brush in and swirl it around. It takes a few swirls to get it to lather but it does eventually! 

    I’ve used elf’s daily brush cleaner and brush shampoo before too, which I really like as well. 

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • Soph@Beautycfw

    I use Johnson’s Baby Shampoo cos it’s gentle enough for human hair! I love MAC Brush Cleanser.. but I put mine in a travel spray bottle from Superdrug so I don’t use too much per time. I always wash mine on a Saturday night, or Sunday morning.. probably once every 2-3 weeks :/ Bad I know! I have 48 brushes or something silly though so I rotate and then just end up using my fingers 😉

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • Colette

    That reminds me – I have something to do! 🙂 *rushes off to clean brushes*

  • I use Johnsons Baby Shampoo for deep cleans and then Mac’s brush cleanser for spot cleaning. Think I might do mine tomorrow actually 🙂 xx

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • Nicola Drayson

    I like Johnsons Baby Shampoo, works a treat and you can usually find it in Poundland too so nice and kind on the purse as well as the brushes 🙂 xx

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • ellena hill

    ATM I use a mild normal shapoo as I find baby shampoo doesn’t lather as much as i’d like. It also doesn’t seem get deep enough into my brushes especialy the sigma flat top Kabuki’s xx

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • hayleymayley

    When we were trained at college we were always told to use antibacterial handwash as it was the most effective for getting rid of bacteria and I’ve stuck with this ever since! Looking forward to the weekend posts 🙂 xx

    • Yay, so I’m doing it right 🙂 xx

  • kate.lambie

    IPA (alcohol) is very good for spot cleaning. Most muas use that on shoots, however it is really strong! I just use head and shoulders to wash my brushes, and sometimes for a really deep clean I swirl them in olive oil first to break down the make up and then wash them! Also, if you place your brushes on a surface with the brush bit hanging over the edge it ensures them to dry in their natural shape 🙂

    Fab post hun xx

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • Boscy

    I’m a shampoo rebel! Usually I use shampoos that I’m trying to use up because I’ve got bored of using them on my hair. I’ve tried Johnson’s Baby Shampoo before as recommended by, erm, everyone, but I just don’t feel it lathers as well as other shampoos. At the moment I’m using a creme body wash from the Body Shop to cleanse my brushes as I’m trying to finish that up, too. Not fussy, me! I clean my brushes after almost every use, too. x

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • steph

    I use fairy liquid with moisturising agent the lavender one, its softer and gentler. or from time to time johnsons baby wash

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • smith70

    I use my Suave Rosemary Mint Shampoo because it’s gentle and smells clean : )

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • Chloe Le Breton

    I use Tesco Value Baby Shampoo, it’s something crazy like 15 pence or less for a bottle; but you get a whopping 500ml – it’s mild, smells good and lathers brilliantly, far better than a lot of the more expensive, specific brush cleaners I’ve used. Some of those also gave my brushes a good battering – bad times :o( x

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • Claire

    I totally use handwash too! Thought I was the only one!!

  • Brush cleansers are so expensive and most I find run out very quickly, on my natural bristle brushes I use whatever shampoo I’m currently using on my hair. (a tip from a bareminerals counter assistant) makes them so soft!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the tip on handwash – I’ve just gone and cleaned my brushes using this and it worked a treat. Thanks. X

    • Yay, pleased that it worked for you xx

  • Mspurplemakeup

    I use pure alcohol! You get in online. Super cheap. Your brushes will be clean in no time. As the alcohol evaporates you do not need to wait. My thicker brushes take about 5 mins to dry! And there is not a spot of bacteria afterwards. Genius.

    • Mercedes you are a genius!!! xx

  • HayleyDollymix

    I use Johnsons Baby Shampoo to clean my brushes, love how soft they feel afterward 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • I just use a mild shampoo for my brushes and also do them once a week!

  • Madmoiselle

    Handwash rebel all the way hehe! xx

  • Everere

    I use handwash too – Dettol antibacterial hand wash! x

  • Ria

    Baby Shampoo works a treat, I’d be prepared to swear it made the brush hairs fluffier.

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • Anonymous

    I tend to use gentle shampoos or baby shampoo, and I almost hate using them once they’re clean- although they feel amazing I dont like dirtying them! xxx

    Visit The Other Side Of Cool
    Tweet me! @othersideofcool:disqus 

  • zoe.12

    I use baby shampoo, im awful for cleaning my brushes though, i can never be bothered but i know they need doing!

    • I hate doing it too, but it’s so nice when they’re clean 🙂 xx

  • The Procrastinator

    I use Dr Bronner’s all-natural castile soap!  I’ve also tried 99% isopropyl alcohol, they dried VERY quickly, and as far as I can tell, the bristles haven’t dried out yet.  Haven’t used it on natural-bristle brushes though, just synthetic.  Otherwise, I use clinique’s brush cleaner — I like it soooo much better than mac’s!  I feel like a ton more product comes off the bristles

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • Amy Susan

    I use the ELF brush shampoo – cheap, cheerful, and does the job perfectly! xx

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • Faye_harrisxo

    great post! I use the Clinique brush cleaning spray once a week on all my brushes then Johnsons baby shampoo once a month for a deep clean 🙂 xoxo

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • I always use the mac one to just get the major grub off my gel  liner and more stubborn products out but same as you I deep clean all the brushes weekly, most of the time using cheapie kids shampoo like loreal strawberry burst haha! and it smells amazing which makes it less of  chore x

    • Oooo bet that smells so nice! xx

  • frostsweet

    Johnsons baby shampoo works a treat!

  • Blog Before Beauty

    Michelle Phan reccomended olive oil mixed with washing up liquid:)

    • Ooo might have to try that xx

  • to be honest, i didnt clean mine for ages, now im obsessed after seeing how yucky they get, i just use asdas anti bacterial hand wash, does the job xx

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • I use Johnson baby shampoo as a brush cleaner as it’s nice and soft and gentle on the brushes 🙂 Smells lovely too 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • Good rutine, thanks for sharing

  • I use a shampoo, would like to find a good brush cleaner though.

    • As long as it cleans them well xx

  • susannah_bonaldi

    handwash or johnsons baby shampoo!

  • Hannah

    I use johnson baby shampoo but also would like to know I f there’s any other brush cleaners that are cheap and work well 🙂 xoxo

    • Thanks for the comment – Ooo might have to give that a go xx

  • Andrea

    You shouldn’t be using hot water – it will loosen the glue in the ferrule!

    • Ah I know, it’s only warm – I’ve been washing my brushes for 5 years like this and they are still fine 🙂 xx

  • Anonymous

    I usually dilute MAC’s brush cleanser with water to clean my concealer and eyeliner brush everyday cuz I think those should be clean everytime you use them! 🙂 But as for deep cleaning, I use Johnson’s baby shampoo from Poundland ;P

    • Yu – genius! Wicked idea to dilute it down 🙂 xx

  • Anonymous

    ive heard alot of people use johnsons shampoo, i use the MAc cleaner personally and try and clean my brushes as often as i can… usually about once a week 😀 xx

    • Thanks for the comment hun xx

  • I use baby shampoo just like Yu does, its the best and makes your brushes nice and soft 🙂

    Gem x

    • Oooo I need to give it a go xx

  • princesselfy

    I use a hand wash/water combo in a spray bottle for spot cleaning every day then use Simple baby shampoo for a deep clean every 2 weeks or so. I have to use clean brushes every day!!x

  • Line Juul Noergaard

    I use baby soap, as there is no perfume and parabens in it, and I have extremely sensitive skin, so this is perfect. I once asked a makeupartist on a photoshoot (as I am a model) what to use, and she recommended this 🙂 x

    • That sounds amazing – will give that a go! xx

  • Vixibell

    I’m another Johnson’s Baby Shampoo user… it’s the best cleanser for my brushes I’ve found! 🙂 Xx

    • I need to try that – it sounds like everyone uses it! xx

  • Glitterish Allsorts

    I use dettol hand soap but have to confess I'm lazy about cleaning eye brushes. I clean my face brushes all the time but shadow brushes less so. Whoops!

  • I actually use Clinique’s foaming cleanser on my brushes and it’s the only thing that fully removes my double wear foundation from my brushes, you really don’t need a lot of it as it’s so effective whereas I would use gallons of other cleansers, shampoos etc before and still have residue on my brushes 🙂

    • Oo might have to give that a go – thanks for the comment 🙂 xx

  • Emily

    the best I have used (and I also wash my brushes weekly) is marseille soap, it is absolutely the best product for brushes! Ladie in a make-up counter suggested it for me when I was buying new eco tools brushes :) 

    • Oooo thanks for the recommendation, need to try that out xx

  • Hannah Gould

    I always use johnsons baby shampoo and it seems to do the job pretty well 🙂 xx

  • I def recommend savon de marseille (the bar not the liquid).  I am a makeup artist and deep clean them when I get home from a client or photoshoot in addition to the spot cleaning on-site.   It is very cheap especially when you realize how long the bar lasts. I paid less than a Euro for a huge bar and I still have most of it left… I really only have  a dent in the middle of it because that’s where I swirl the brushes haha.  I’ve had it for over 6 months, deep clean a total of about 150 brushes a week (my personal and the ones from my kit) and I swear that this will last me at least another year maybe a 1.5 years! The savon breaks down the waxes and oils too so no need to use a separate cleanser for brushes where you use gel and cream-based products.  Baby shampoo works great for cleaning powder brushes but not very effective in completely getting rid of creams, gels and waxes plus you can go thru quite a bit depending on how often you clean them.  The dishwashing liquid mixed with olive oil is also extremely effective and conditions your brushes, however, can get expensive as well.

    • Thank you for all the recommendations, I need to give that Savon De Marsille a go! xx

  • Anonymous

    I use either baby shampoo or Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap. I love them both & they last for forever. The Dr. Bronner’s can get ANY stain out of your brush too. It’s a miracle worker on lip brushes.

    • Oooo thanks for the recommendation! xx

  • Great Post. I tend to use handwash by simple or a non fragranced baby shampoo.  Both seem to do the job and better still, they don’t irritate sensitive skin 🙂

    Rowena x

    • Fab! Thanks for the advice 🙂 xx

  • I personally use my regular shampoo and conditioner (<— to keep them soft and shiny)!!

  • Michelle

    I’ve been known to wash my brushes with shampoo (especially if they are real hair) but I’d never have thought of using an anti-bac hand wash. I’ll give it a go!

  • Hey, I find johnson’s baby shampoo is really good for deep cleansing brushes. It’s really cheap, lasts ages and you can get a really good lather for a thorough clean.

  • critK9doc .

    I like an inexpensive shampoo. Suave is great and totally cheap…

  • critK9doc .

    The other thing I use to pre-cleanse brushes before shampoo is a good makeup remover (I like sens’eyes by MUFE). Otherwise the foundation and concealer take ages to get out of the brushes. Can’t stand dirty brushes…foundation/concealer and and cream product brushes get cleaned every time they’re used. Powder brushes weekly/depending on frequency of use/type of product. I also love brush guards to dry them in, which I get from Beautylish. Keeps their shape beautifully as they dry :))