How to easily clean your foundation makeup brushes... and make them look brand new again


Well, here is an unexpected post from Coffee Talking...  how to clean makeup brushes???  Well, you know, I get enough caffeine in me and who knows what I'll talk about?

I had no plans to post about this actually.  I was just sitting here cleaning my makeup brushes and decided to take a few photos and post them because I had nothing else I wanted to talk about today.  

IF I was planning to do a post on this I would have taken a "BEFORE" photo of my Mr. Perfect Foundation Makeup Brush... because it was terrible.  Terrible, horrible.  Like, it was so full of makeup that if you pressed your finger on the bristles.... they stayed that way.  The bristles acted like they were clay.

It was so bad that when I opened the bristles up to look at the inside of them, they were so thickly coated in foundation that I honestly asked myself "Are the bristles actually beige with black tips?  I could have sworn this brush was all black bristles..."


So it was time to clean my makeup brushes.  The ones I honestly IGNORE AND FORGET ABOUT FOR OVER 6 MONTHS AT A TIME.  


  • Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing alcohol you buy for about a buck at any store)
  • Paper Towels

Pour some alcohol into a small container and dip your brush bristles into it.  Now 'brush' the bristles back and forth on a few paper towels you've layered on a hard surface.  I used a wooden board under mine to protect my desk top where I was sitting to do this.

When the paper towels get messy, keep moving to a 'clean' area and keep dipping into more alcohol and keep brushing it.  Use as many paper towels as you need - and if you haven't cleaned your brush in about 6 months like I did (which I don't suggest but life happens) then you'll go through a lot of alcohol and a lot of paper towels.

You can watch before your own eyes how clean the bristles are getting and soon your brush will start looking like new again.

Here is the Mr. Perfect brush looking beautiful and clean!  Believe me (because I didn't take any before photos) that before I cleaned it, I could press my finger into the bristles and they literally stuck that way.  Now they are soft and supple again!

And I was just getting started cleaning one of my other two favorite foundation brushes.

  Thick with foundation.  I use both liquid and cream foundations, depending on whatever I feel like that day.   
Showing a close up of the process.  I've brushed much off, but still more to go. 
Keep dipping and/or pouring on more rubbing alcohol and brushing on dry paper towels.  It will be beautiful when you are done!

I have two of the same brushes because I LOVE THEM so much.  I use one for the lighter under eye cream concealers and the other for foundation.
While I was doing this I had the mantra from "Finding Nemo" in my head and was saying "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming...."   because I had been saying to myself "Just keep going... just keep going...." 
Yay!  Clean bristles again.  All with just alcohol and dry paper towels.  

I cleaned all three heavily soiled brushes in about 15 minutes; so probably about 5 minutes per brush and that was with running back and forth to the kitchen for more paper towels a couple times before I finally just brought the whole roll into the office.   

So it's pretty quick and certainly easy!  After they were all clean I laid them out on the bathroom counter to completely dry.

You might be interested in various products related to this post, available through Amazon;



  1. I use dawn dish soap....soak them in that. Or shampoo. I might try your way too.

  2. I have done Dawn and shampoo. I've found nothing that works better than alcohol! :)


Thanks for sharing morning coffee with me!