Add me to the list of people who don’t like cleaning their makeup brushes. It has more to do with the fact that this takes them out of commission for the day than the actual work of cleaning if I’m honest. And with a homemade makeup brush cleaner I have no excuse because I know my cleaner is safe and smells wonderful!
As I start to pay more attention to what’s in the products in my home, I noticed that my makeup brush cleaners were full of things I like to avoid. For example, the two I used to have:
My “drug store” cleaner: Water, sodium laureth sulfate, nonoxynol 9, cocoamidopropyl betaine, glycerin, polyquaternium-7, PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate, sodium chloride, diazolidinyl urea, disodium EDTA.
My “high end” cleaner: Water (Aqua), SD Alcohol, Disodium Lauroamphodiacetate, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, Hexylene Glycol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Isopropyl Alcohol, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Triclosan, Red 33, Blue 1.
It’s not always easy to avoid certain chemicals in your makeup but I can definitely control what I use on my brushes! So I decided to tweak a few recipes I found online until I came up with one I like. And then I set to work on getting my brushes back to their nice, tidy state.
Ingredients: (UPDATED 3/15/2019 to include affiliate links to purchase each item – I will make a few pennies from your purchase if you buy using these links and it doesn’t cost you anything extra, but most of these things can be found in your local stores)
1/3 cup Castile Soap (I had almond on hand – clearly there are no nut allergies in this house)
3 tbsp Witch Hazel
2 tbsp nourishing oil, such as fractionated coconut oil, jojoba, or sweet almond oil
5 drops Lavender essential oil (I use YL but any brand you trust will do. These from Amazon are very popular)
5 drops Frankincense essential oil
Combine all the ingredients in a spray bottle, filled the rest with water and shake it up. It just takes a few pumps (or less, depending on the size of the brush) on a wet brush to get your brushes nice and clean again. The castile soap foams up really well and you can easily see the days (weeks…) of makeup coming out. Rinse completely and towel dry.
I learned in my recipe search that you should let your brushes dry flat so any excess water won’t loosen the glue – which is why I avoided using citrus oils in this recipe too! A lot of recipes I found recommended lemon or purification, which I can understand, but I have some brushes that need to be babied because they were (ahem) “very affordable” and don’t hold up well. I was afraid citrus oils would destroy the glue so I picked gentler oils that are really good for your skin as I figured they would be safest.
A lot of people also recommend using castile soap pretty much straight up on their brushes but castile soap is VERY drying because it’s so concentrated. That’s also not super desirable for any brush as you don’t want them to dry out and start shedding/breaking. So I added a carrier oil to keep my brushes nice and soft.