The 3 best ways to clean your makeup brushes

I know it’s boring AF but eeeeuw! Clean your brushes gurl?

Niemand hou van ’n vuil kwas nie.

It surprises me how few people clean their makeup brushes (or accessories like tweezers and beautyblenders). Dirty makeup tools make it harder to achieve a flawless face beat. As you have leftover pigments on the bristles, you’ll get muddy blending. While exposure to air changes the product texture which creates pilling. Pilling is those random makeup crumbs peeling off your foundation that is near impossible to fix.

Also, your face is an ecosystem with its own tribes of parasites and bacteria that flourish to keep skin healthy. However, you don’t want these microorganisms to travel to faraway lands (your makeup tools), move home (to your face) and cause a revolution (pimples, styes or skin pathology that only a derm can fix.) Now that you’re feeling all kinds psychosomatic, scratch your chin and check out my top, tried and tested brush cleaning methods:


WHAT Sigma Brush Cleaning Mat (around R430 online when converted from dollar).
Last Christmas my sister got me this and it’s the most useful prezzie I ever received. (Sing this in your best George Michael’s campy 80’s voice.) I use this nearly every day.

HOW Wet the bristles, put a small drop of anti-dandruff shampoo on the brush hair (to deep clean and remove colour pigments) and swirl it on the mat. The mat’s textured ridges separate brush hair, allowing soap to get in and release makeup from between strands.

PRO’S The mat defo cleans brushes faster and better than if you were to swish it in your hand or basin.

CON’S It still takes a lot of time and you waste lotsa water. Plus you also have to wash the mat.

TIP You can use baby shampoo for delicate brushes. I also follow a disinfecting prep by pouring 10 drops tea tree oil in a cup and soaking brush bristles in this. If you did makeup on a face with cold sores, acne or another potentially contagious skin condition, you absolutely must disinfect your brushes first.

VEGAN 100% silicone so yes.



WHAT StylPro Makeup Brush Cleaner & Dryer (R1 295 at Cleansing solution (R795 for 500ml).

HOW Insert the brush into the silicone grip, insert the grip into the battery-operated device, insert the device into the bauble with a small amount of brush cleaning fluid. Click the button and the brush will whirr clean. Once you lift it out of the liquid the brush will spin dry within seconds. If your head is spinning now… watch video in the link and you’ll get it.

PRO’S Your brushes are virtually dry and ready to use right away. And it’s a waterless technique.

CON’S All that inserting is fidgety so you don’t save time. You’re only skipping out on letting brushes air-dry for hours. 

TIP I use this only for fluffy brushes and when I need to clean brushes fast after a 10-bridesmaids-wedding type job when most of my brushes need a wash. I wont recommend this for finely tapered brushes where the bristles need to remain compact and together. You will likely destroy it because the brush shape expands during the drying cycle.

VEGAN The cleanser solution is vegan.



WHAT Walford-Richards Designs The Best Makeup Brush Cleaner (about R450 for the 90g jar when converted from the pound)

HOW Swirl the wet bristles inside the jar to loosen makeup grime, then rinse the brush.

PRO’S Beautifully packaged in a quirky black and white striped screw top tin, this solid soap is antibacterial, conditioning and leaves your brushes clean and soft. I’m obsessed with the fresh lemon scent and that this brush cleaner wont spill like the liquid variety when I travel with my makeup kit. I’m thrilled to have received this in the goodie bag at The Masterclass with Mario Dedivanovic recently and it has been my go to brush cleaning method ever since.

CON’S It’s the most expensive tin of soap you’ll ever buy. At £25 it simply is not within reach of most average Joe’s and Jane’s in Mzansi.

TIP I clean my beautyblenders in this jar of soap as well and work the foundation out of the sponge by rolling it on the bubble ridges of the Sigma brush cleaning mat.

VEGAN and gluten- and cruelty-free.


I get it. Cleaning makeup brushes is a hassle and there are much more entertaining ways of spending an hour ***Netflix and chill anyone?*** but until you have trained up your own Sophia The Robot to do this, DIY is the only way. It will save not only your (or your clients’ ) skin but also from the expensive exercise of having to replace brushes. Like that time my sweet Frenchie, while in the halo of our honeymoon phase, though he’d save me the time of washing brushes one evening, so he put them in the dishwasher. They died a watery death.

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