The Lazy Girl's Guide to Cleaning Your Makeup Brushes

Some things in life just take too long. Top of that list for us? Washing makeup brushes. Like waiting in line at Messina, it’s a task that ends with a sense of satisfaction—but the process itself is tedious. In order to save ourselves some precious (Netflix-watching) time we asked makeup artist Fern Madden to divulge her best lazy girl tips for getting our brushes clean in a hurry. Keep reading for her best time-saving tips!


Lazy Girl Tip #1: Embrace Antibacterial Hand Wash

This one is so easy, you’ll never have an excuse to skip washing your brushes again. At night, once you’ve cleansed and brushed your teeth, fill the bathroom sink with a few inches of hot water and a squirt of antibacterial hand wash (like Palmolive Softwash, $2). Next, stand just the bristles upright in the water for a few moments, then rinse in running water. Leave to dry overnight, and by morning they’ll be good as new.

Lazy Girl Tip #2: Combine Two Cleansing Routines

“You can actually clean synthetic foundation brushes with dish detergent while doing your evening washing up,” says Madden. Knocking over two equally boring chores in one? Sign us up. “Once you’ve finished the dishes, soap up brushes in the same water, rinse and repeat until clean,” she advises. Madden points out that this method is not ideal for natural hair brushes: “The detergent can be too strong which will make them fluffy.”

Lazy Girl Tip #3: Add Elbow Grease to Save Time

The perfect hack for speeding up your usual brush washing routine, this approach requires just three things: regular brush cleaner (we like Mac’s Brush Cleanser, $25), and two flannels. “Work liquid brush cleanser into one face washer, and dampen the other with warm water. Next, rub the bristles onto the flannel with the cleanser, then onto the damp flannel to remove it,” says Madden. Easy!

Lazy Girl Tip #4: Invest in Quick Dry Wipes

What about days you don’t have time to wait for your brushes to dry? Madden says she can’t go past a quick dry wet wipe like Wet Ones Be Fresh Original Wipes ($3). “To use, drag the bristles of your brush across the wipe and repeat until no residue is left,” she says. “Quick dry wipes contain alcohol which means you can do this up to five minutes before you need to use your brushes and they’ll be dry to the touch.”

Lazy Girl Tip #5: Don’t Disregard OG Tissues

If you’re really pushed for time and need your brushes to be dry to the touch immediately—especially important for eye shadow or blusher brushes—Madden recommends firmly brush the existing colour off on to a tissue until the colour residue almost disappears. “With most of the old colour removed, the brush is free to pick up new product and should come up clean with whatever new shade you’re using,” she says.

Opening photo: ImaxTree

What’s your best trick for cleaning makeup brushes in a hurry? Share your tips in the comments below and keep scrolling for some of our favourite makeup brushes.